2012 West Coast Manufacturing Conference

On April 11, 2012 a number of Los Angeles’ notable business men and women gathered for the 2012 West Coast Manufacturing Conference. Leaders from private and public companies, the Investment and Lending Community, and Professional Advisors with clients in the manufacturing industry all came to participate in a morning of networking, panels and keynote discussions.

The morning commenced with an hour-long continental breakfast and networking meet-up that was held simultaneously with a pre-conference Corporate Governance Roundtable held by NACD-LA. At 9am attendees then had the option to attend any of the three expert-led panels on Fashion and Retail, Aerospace, or Consumer Products.

In the Fashion/Retail breakout company leaders from Forever 21, the California Fashion Association , Karen Kane and Big Strike came together to discuss the current state of the industry, today’s retail landscape, and the manufacturing supply chain for fashion merchandise. Panelists also provided insight into business development trends, licensing opportunities, and partnerships for both emerging and mature brands. The panelists further discussed the retail landscape and the current mood of the industry.

In addition to the Fashion and Retail panel, representatives from Boeing, Avante Mezzanine Partners, Janes Capital Partners, Frontier Associates, and The Aerospace Corporation came together to address a number of issues currently affecting the Aerospace and Defense industry. These included how middle market and smaller companies are maintaining a competitive edge in a shrinking marketplace, the current state of supply chain partnerships and financing trends, and how consolidation in the aerospace industry and supplier network continues on an upward trend.

The third panel dealt exclusively with Consumer Products and the bleak years this market has recently faced.

Panelists from Kids Line, CR&A Custom, Greenberg & Glusker, Duff & Phelps, and Employers Group discussed how less demand and excess inventory is being handled along with dramatic drops in consumer consumption and delayed expansion plans. Speakers also offered up their strategies for returning to profitability and mitigating risk.

After the dynamic panel sessions, attendees reconvened in the Grand Ballroom to hear opening remarks by Conference Producer Mina Trujillo and L.A. City Deputy Mayor Matt Karatz. Keynote speeches by Grant Thorton’s Water Grunes on “Five Factors for Growth in the Manufacturing Industry” and JP Morgan Chase’s Jim Glassman’s “Economic Update” concluded a lively and informative day. It was proof positive that the City of Los Angeles is teeming with individuals who are committed to keeping America’s manufacturing base strong.

The conference was produced and presented by Chraft PR, a local public relations, brand marketing and conference production agency.