Counting on MRO and niche-picking to save the day

Jul 01, 2009 | 08:16 AM |

The economic crisis has left the manufacturing sector traumatized, with some companies scrambling desperately to stop the financial hemorrhaging. The efforts, while not all successful, have led some to rely on maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) work to carry them through to an eventual turnaround.

Machine tool manufacturers and machine shops say they are hanging on despite the recessionary economic conditions that have been felt most deeply in the manufacturing sector. They're able to do so by stressing MRO work or because they have a narrow niche for products and services.

One company in Texarkana, Texas, for example, specializes in replacing parts for German-made paper mill equipment. "We don't make parts for them, but we are a competitor for replacement parts," said Steve Petty, president of Texarkana Machine Inc., which purchases plate, flat bar, tubing and other types of steels. The company also performs tool-and-die work for the steel industry, specifically for welding electrodes, which he says "are very complicated and very expensive."....

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