Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders
In reviewing many of the stories, though, from this week’s Reuters Manufacturing and Transportation Summit, one gets the idea that all was gloom in the Windy City.
So, while there have been many discussions this week about opportunities for growth and hopes of better things to come, the situation at many of the nation’s largest manufacturing companies remains pretty serious.
Such was the case presented by Brad Bell, chief financial officer for Nalco Co, a global provider of water treatment services, chemicals and equipment programs for industries.
Throughout the current recession, many of the companies’ executives at this week’s Reuters Manufacturing and Transportation Summit have found an opportunity to review, pare back and possibly add on to their existing business mixes.
Such is the case for Edward Campbell, chief executive of Nordson Corp, which has a uniquely diversified set of businesses under its umbrella and is looking at what makes sense for them going forward.
Speaking at the Reuters Manufacturing and Transportation Summit, Rapp (who, incidentally, has been with Caterpillar for almost 30 years and is still considered something of a “youngster” there!!) said that while there are still many hurdles for the company to avoid in the short term, he thought CAT’s previous guidance was within reach.
On the first day of this year’s Reuters Manufacturing and Transportation Summit, one of the guests told us of the Chinese theory of the word “crisis” — the symbols for which are a combination of “problem” and “opportunity”.
On Tuesday, Vice Chairman John Rice told Reuters that both sides of the equation were in play for GE, but voiced confidence that the company would be able to hit its marks.
Ustian said the current slowdown has been worse and deeper than expected — even though the trucking industry had a sense that things were starting to go south as far back as 2007.
The trucking industry has been in pain since late 2006, due in part to the flagging auto and housing industries. It could also be expected that the sector should see a pick-up before the broader economy, but the environment has remained difficult, Zollars said at the annual Reuters Manufacturing and Transportation Summit held in Chicago.