A balancing act: Automotive suppliers in West Michigan brace for cyclical changes, emergence of new tech
ACME — A decade into the economic recovery, West Michigan-based automotive suppliers are having to look ahead and prepare for a period of declining new vehicle sales.
GRAND RAPIDS — While the automotive sector may be nearing the end of a strong sales cycle, West Michigan-based suppliers remain bullish on the industry.
As the pace of technological change intensifies for the automotive industry, suppliers are turning to acquisitions to reshuffle their businesses and prepare for the road ahead.
West Michigan-based agribusinesses and food and beverage companies will soon have a new source of capital to fund expansion projects.
Dr. Edward Montgomery began his tenure as Western Michigan University’s ninth president last week, taking over from former President John Dunn who stepped down after a decade in the role. Montgomery joins WMU after a career in a variety of positions both within and outside academia. An economist by training, Mongomery most recently served as the dean of the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. He also worked in both the Clinton and Obama administrations, serving as the “Auto Recovery Czar” during the latter president’s term in office. Less than two days into his new position, Montgomery spoke with MiBiz about his background in higher education and his plans for the university going forward.
Compounding just in time: Manufacturers focus on logistics as global supply chains grow, product complexity increases
Manufacturers are finding they increasingly have to focus on an aspect of their business that doesn’t involve making a product.
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BENTON TOWNSHIP — One Southwest Michigan manufacturer hopes that a newly renovated facility will help grow its line of interior architectural products and serve as an incubation center for other new concepts.
West Michigan manufacturers could be sitting on a widely available yet untapped revenue stream: old corrugated cardboard.
Neogen Corp. will invest $1.3 million into rehabbing a closed facility in Mid-Michigan.
After months of speculation and rumors, Short’s Brewing Co. said today that it plans to sell a 20-percent equity stake to a division of Dutch brewer Heineken International.
Manufacturers from high-tech industries will again have the opportunity to put their products on display at this year’s Advanced Manufacturing Expo.
By moving R&D from Missouri to West Michigan, Kawasaki Motor Corp. will be able to deliver faster technical support and service to customers and OEMs. That’s according to Nelson Wilner, a veteran sales and marketing executive in the marine industry who was promoted to lead Kawasaki’s Engines Division, which is headquartered in Grand Rapids. The group focuses on manufacturing industrial engines, primarily for the landscaping industry. While Kawasaki’s manufacturing operations are in Missouri, the division operates its sales and marketing and other business operations from Grand Rapids. Wilner spoke with MiBiz about the decision to move the company’s separate R&D group to West Michigan and other innovations at the company.
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West Michigan manufacturers continue to take a steady yet conservative approach to research and development spending.
ZEELAND — Charter House Innovations has taken the strategy of business diversification to an extreme.
Adding capabilities: Additive manufacturing technology grows with use of metal printing for production
Although additive manufacturing has moved beyond the makerspaces where it first gained a foothold, many companies still relegate the technology for use in prototyping and little else.
Justine Burdette took over leadership of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center-West early this year after the organization’s long-time director, Bill Small, departed to pursue a career in education. With a background in liberal arts and art history, Burdette — who worked as an executive assistant to Small — brings a new perspective and problem-solving skills to guide MMTC-West through the next evolution of manufacturing. Burdette believes manufacturers will need to integrate new connected technologies, cybersecurity and other measures to compete in the future. She spoke with MiBiz about what skills she brings to the table and her long-term outlook for the organization.
ALBION — After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year, Patriot Solar Group LLC won a minor court victory late last month to keep its case moving forward.
HAMILTON — An artistic metal foundry once headquartered in Chicago has relocated its operations to Southwest Michigan.
Ask West Michigan manufacturers how they’re addressing the challenges of finding qualified workers, and many of them likely will cite automation equipment as a key part of their solution.
Order volatility in the office furniture industry continued to affect sales for Herman Miller Inc.
ScentLok Technologies Inc. acquired the assets of Minnesota-based Robinson Outdoor Products LLC from Chapter 11 bankruptcy yesterday.
Sour Grapes? Lawmakers again try to revamp alcoholic beverage industry council, but questions persist
LANSING — A series of bills could open the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council to members from the distilling, craft beer and other alcoholic beverage segments.
CHICAGO — When Herman Miller Inc. first introduced the Aeron chair during the dawn of the dot-com era in 1994, it took the office furniture industry by storm.
CHICAGO — After years of shifting between private spaces and open office floor plans, the office furniture industry seems to have settled on a happy medium.
Despite an erratic environment for orders, Steelcase Inc. reported earnings on par with the previous year.
GRAND RAPIDS — A dispute over 3.3 miles of railroad track running through the city could soon be coming to an end.
Automotive supplier Shape Corp. will invest $315,000 to create an advanced manufacturing education program at Grand Haven High School.
While optimism for the U.S. economy remains relatively high, many economists and industry watchers are forecasting a period of slow growth in West Michigan’s manufacturing sector.
Many organizations will likely stick with their sustainability and environmental commitments, regardless of the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the historic Paris Agreement.
ADA — A new chapter has opened in a two-decade-long legal saga over allegations of copyright infringement against the parent company of Amway Corp.