With every conversation I have with a metal fabricator, I become more convinced that the companies left standing after two recessions within a 10-year span are primed to survive in this very competitive global economy. In essence, they have survived because they are the fittest.
In the wake of the bloodbath of U.S. jobs since the start of the Great Recession in the fall of 2008, these metal manufacturers represent a sector that is growing slowly—and successfully. These fabricators learned that it is much easier to make quick adjustments to a smaller, leaner enterprise than a bloated business. That's why they have leaned heavily on automation on the shop floor and software enhancements in the front office and looked to hire temporary employees when labor is needed to address short-term spikes in job activity. These company leaders know that the earlier they are able to react to drops in business, the better they will be positioned to take advantage of the inevitable upswing that occurs in the following months. The key is to have a core team of talented fabricators and the right technology mix ready to respond to new opportunities. (more...)