Two of the larger American special machine tool companies remain at this time. One is part of a public corporation, and the other is privately held. They are both vulnerable to the causes of failure being discussed. The privately held company must be able to manage large volumes of business and large projects from a working capital standpoint. In addition, there must be continuing progress in management succession following the passing of the family entrepreneur. Both are difficult challenges.
The public company, while diverse to some extent, has a great deal riding on their special machine tool and related businesses. So it must succeed, as financial analysts and public owners are demanding bosses and not particularly sensitive to the business itself or its human side. The top management does not have the depth of special machine tool background that has been traditional in that company or in the industry. There is considerable experience and talent remaining in the ranks. Are they experienced decision-makers or did former management make the important decisions? Their depth and breadth and just how well they are utilized and managed remain to be seen.
At this time, the global marketplace for special machine tools is in deep recession. At the same time, the American dollar is still very strong, especially against the yen and the Euro, making exchange rates a nearly impossible challenge. Survival for these companies is in serious question.