The past year or two has been a bloodbath in the manufacturing world. But amidst the drumbeat of layoffs, losses and bankruptcies, some manufacturers have managed to fend off recessionary forces and keep their companies profitable and healthy.

Through implementation of a massive restructuring initiative architected by CEO Alan Mulally, Ford Motor Co. posted a profit in a year that saw its two Detroit rivals file for bankruptcy.

Hormel Foods, meanwhile, leveraged its strong cash position to expand its product offerings while closely scrutinizing capital expenditures.

And custom metal fabricator General MetalWorks saw its long-term commitment to lean manufacturing practices pay dividends.

The three case studies presented here show how the worst of times brought out the best in some manufacturers.