October 26, 2014

2009 Industry Outlook

Manufacturing 2009

'A Year for New Ideas': Struggling manufacturers will use this year to regroup.

Mike Vogel | 1/1/2009
Mitch Garner of Symetrics Industries
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.

Florida Manufacturing
Sector Employment Annual change
2007 2015
Wood Products 21,960 24,254 1.31%
Primary Metals 5,652 5,899 0.55
Machinery 26,242 25,992 -0.12
Computer and Electronic Products 47,810 42,612 -1.36
Electrical Equipment and Appliances 8,890 8,366 -0.74
Transportation Equipment 44,605 45,519 0.26
Furniture and Related Products 18,973 18,681 -0.19
Food 30,521 29,073 -0.59
Beverage and Tobacco Products 10,794 11,290 0.57
Textile Mills 1,851 1,628 -1.51
Textile Product Mills 5,793 5,692 -0.22
Apparel 5,445 4,094 -3.10
Paper 10,281 9,636 -0.78
Printing and Related Activities 23,426 22,747 -0.36
Petroleum and Coal Products 2,998 3,321 1.35
Chemical 19,668 19,553 -0.07
Plastics and Rubber Products 15,909 15,799 -0.09
Total Manufacturing 402,897 404,458 0.05%
Source: Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation

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