2009 Industry Outlook
'A Year for New Ideas': Struggling manufacturers will use this year to regroup.
Mitch Garner, president of defense contractor Symetrics Industries, says a focus on improving business development has resulted in substantial annual revenue increases. [Photo: Brooke Pifer]
Times are tough, so Symetrics Industries makes a point of answering its e-mails fast. In 2007, the Melbourne defense manufacturer saw revenue pop to $44 million, up from $33 million the year before. “At the end of ’07, we sat back and said, ‘Wow, that was a crazy year. Let’s make ’08 better than ’07,’ ” says President Mitch Garner. They did. Revenue last year jumped to more than $50 million. He wants more of the same. “We’re going to continue that mantra of ’09 being better than ’08,” he says.
Credit demand for Symetrics’ three specialties: Flare dispensers and other protective countermeasures for military aircraft; data links that use existing radio systems to allow better battlefield communication; and electronic manufacturing services.
But also credit timely responses to e-mails. In 2007, Symetrics improved its business development department, and under a new leader it has a “passion for wowing the customer,” Garner says. The company invested heavily to have parts and assemblies in stock so that it could take jobs with quick turnaround times and fulfill them. Managers built a culture of responsiveness so that e-mails were answered quickly even if the answer was no more than a “we got it, we’re listening and we’re working on it,” he says.
|Computer and Electronic Products||47,810||42,612||-1.36|
|Electrical Equipment and Appliances||8,890||8,366||-0.74|
|Furniture and Related Products||18,973||18,681||-0.19|
|Beverage and Tobacco Products||10,794||11,290||0.57|
|Textile Product Mills||5,793||5,692||-0.22|
|Printing and Related Activities||23,426||22,747||-0.36|
|Petroleum and Coal Products||2,998||3,321||1.35|
|Plastics and Rubber Products||15,909||15,799||-0.09|
|Source: Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation|