Manufacturing Odds & Ends

New Vistage report offers advice for recession survival
Vistage International, a business coaching organization for chief executives, announced the release of a special report that helps C-level executives and business owners "bite back" against a slowing economy. In the report, New Hampshire-based Institute for Trend Research (ITR) economist Alan Beaulieu says 2008 is not a "great" year, but it’s not as bad as 2009, when he predicts a bona fide national recession. Beaulieu says his prediction is based on continued expansion of some leading indicators that ITR tracks. According to Beaulieu, the housing market will continue to plummet, and high energy prices and rising interest rates will continue eating away at discretionary income. The recently released Vistage Q1 2008 CEO Confidence Index survey of 2,300 CEOs hit a low point in its five-year history. Sixty-eight percent of 2,300 Vistage CEOs recently surveyed believe the nation is either in a recession or headed for one.

The new Vistage recession survival report includes tactics from renowned business and economy experts to help companies prosper in challenging times. It can be downloaded in full at The report, a series of articles entitled "Staying on Top: Managing in an Uncertain Economy," was first offered on the members-only Vistage Web site and is now available to all "Main Street" businesses worldwide. Vistage members tend to reduce marketing expenditures as the economy contracts, mainly because they aren’t sure their marketing dollars will work. However, Vistage speaker Mitch Gooze, president of Customer Manufacturing Group in Santa Clara, Calif., says the opposite approach may be more appropriate.

"One recommendation I always make to members, and especially if you believe the economy might be slowing down, is figure out as quickly as you can what aspects of your marketing are working," Gooze said. "Because your competitors are likely to do less marketing, and if you don’t do less and instead do what you know is most effective, you’ll gain on them." Gooze said "focus" will be key for companies to survive a recession.

"Most companies are afraid to focus on those few things they do great. One reason is fear they won’t diversify enough to survive a slowdown. But the truth is, the more you focus the more chances you’ll remain successful," Gooze said. "If you don’t focus, you end up being a ‘me too’ company across the board, and the only thing you can sell on is price. And when the economy slows down, people push back on price." Vistage affiliates include TEC (The Executive Committee) in Wisconsin and Michigan.

MillerCoors adds more pieces to leadership team
SABMiller plc and Molson Coors Brewing Co. today named two executives to key positions in the MillerCoors joint venture, effective upon the closing of the transaction. Tim Wolf was named chief integration officer-designate and Gavin Hattersley was appointed chief financial officer-designate of the prospective U.S. joint venture announced by SABMiller and Molson Coors last October. As previously announced, Leo Kiely, current chief executive officer of Molson Coors, will be the CEO of the joint venture, and Tom Long, current CEO of Miller, will serve as president and chief commercial officer.

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