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Manufacturers staying competitive in recession

BY DEBBIE BLOSSOM Published: November 15, 2009
The 2009 list of the state’s 10-best performing companies includes three manufacturers, two of which moved from 10 to 20 spots into the top tier.

Fifth-ranked AAON Inc. was ranked No. 25 in 2008, and North American Galvanizing & Coatings Inc. moved from 20{+t}{+h} to the No. 10 spot. Pryor-based Orchids Paper Products Co. was second this year, up from fifth place last year.

It’s a good showing for the manufacturing sector, which in Oklahoma has seen the most job loss during the recession.

"The common theme of the top companies is they are just good companies with good leadership,” that worked hard at keeping operations competitive even when times were good, said Roy Peters, president of the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance.

Those strategies have helped those companies during the downturn, he said. "Good for them.”

Statewide, "things are getting better” for manufacturing compared to three or four months ago, Peters said, although hiring hasn’t picked up along with business. Oklahoma had 153,000 manufacturing firms last year; but by last month the number had dropped to a little over 133,000.

And Peters doesn’t see the numbers improving any time soon.

"I don’t think it will get back up to 153,000, at least not in the near term,” he said.

Those hurting the most now are the job shops — the smaller businesses that do work for other manufacturers and don’t produce products.


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