Forward thinking.

Position:Industry outlook 2009

Q: As the cost of raw materials has put a pinch on manufacturers, what do you see are the keys to dealing with rising costs?

When customer numbers are in decline, surviving in the metalworking industry in 2009 will require three elements, according to Pascal Manpetit, president of Valenite: ingenuity, focus, and creativity.

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"Preparing for future industry trends, developing in-demand products and services, and wise utilization of resources is key to a successful partnership with your customer for productivity and profitability in 2009," Monpetit said.

Monpetit explained that Valenite, for example, strategically positioned itself two years ago based on feedback that revealed its technical support was the most integral component in building a sustained relationship with its customers.

"This research and analysis provided the framework to not only prepare for shifting market forces, but to re-emphasize our level of technical service to customers," Monpetit said.

"Beyond the traditional focus of increasing tool life, it's important to develop innovative products and services that take into account the...

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