Wichita, Kansas (CNN) -- A few years ago, Cessna, one of the most renowned names in aviation, was selling hundreds of multimillion-dollar airplanes annually. Then the recession hit.
The company lost half of its orders and half of its jobs -- 6,000 jobs in Wichita alone.
"I think now every day we wake up, we feel we have to go out and earn our right to be that number-one manufacturer in general aviation," said Cessna CEO Jack Pelton.
As a result, Cessna has re-examined its manufacturing methods on the aircraft production line. They've stepped up customer service and they say they're looking for new ideas, new savings and new efficiencies.
Take a tour through Cessna's production line
The company cleared out an entire part of a production building, Pelton said, so managers could reconsider "how we build airplanes and how we can become better at it."
"Innovate or die," Pelton said. "You can't just hunker down and hide during this period of time. You have to continue doing your best."