Earlier this year, I landed at the Detroit airport en route to a conference. I got into my rental car, headed to the I-94 on-ramp, and then I saw it. There, next to the highway, was a big billboard advertising, of all things, a metal fabricator: "W Industries: Aerospace, Defense, Energy, Industrial."
Notice anything missing?
At the time, W Industries was making headlines. Local organizations were recognizing the company as one who successfully diversified outside automotive. And that was definitely something to flaunt in this economy.
But today, as the economy and credit markets get back on their feet, a wrinkle has been thrown into the diversity equation: the depreciation of assets. As Chris Kuehl, economist for the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Intl., wryly said during a keynote panel at this year's FABTECH Intl. & AWS Welding Show, "Now [the banks] are saying, 'Gosh, we expect you to pay the money back, and we're interested in collateral.'"