CLEVELAND – Although manufacturing plants around the world continue to operate well below capacity, nearly half of them plan to increase spending on capital equipment in the coming year.

International plants spent significantly more on capital upgrades than U.S.-based facilities in the past year: 10 percent of plant revenue (median) compared to 3.1 percent (median) at U.S. plants. The spending gap looks to continue through 2011, with 55 percent of international plants planning to increase capital spending, compared to 44 percent of U.S. plants.

The data comes from the just-released MPI Manufacturing Study and is highlighted in the Manufacturing 2010/2011 Executive Summary. The annual study, the most comprehensive annual survey of manufacturing performance data in the world, helps organizations benchmark operations and find out how top performers are achieving world-class results.

This year’s study includes a comparison of U.S. facilities (334 plants) vs. plants from around the world (145 plants), vital in an era of increasingly global competition.

“This year we were able to increase the international sampling to allow comparisons between metrics in the U.S. and elsewhere,” said John Brandt, CEO of The MPI Group. “Executives want to benchmark against the best performances and best practices around the world, not just in the United States. We’re delighted to offer these hard-to-get metrics.”

The study was conducted with support from Thomas International Publishing Co. Visit www.mpi-group.net for additional information.