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Grand Valley State University wants to expose students in non-design related fields to the tenets of design thinking, and they’ve tapped a veteran executive to explore how best to accomplish that goal.

With a recent acquisition, Herman Miller Inc. aims to push far deeper into the consumer furniture market to generate annual sales in excess of a half-billion dollars in the years ahead.

Since the dawn of the automotive industry more than a century ago, suppliers have come to expect production to have its ups and downs, but generally rise over the long term — much like the stock market. But that period of unbridled growth could come to an end within a generation.

U.S. automotive sales are about 1 million units below where they should be given the long-term historical patterns in the industry.

A quarterly survey indicates that slow growth remains the norm for the office furniture industry, although executives feel pretty good about business prospects in the near term.

After a career in the automotive supply chain, Rich Achtenberg saw an unfilled niche for an integrated metals manufacturer in West Michigan.

The state’s senior automotive adviser has one simple request for industry and supply chain executives: “Bring a buddy back.”

One West Michigan institution is taking advantage of the growing aerospace industry to offer specialized training for engineers.

Gentex Corp. plans to look outside of the automotive industry for opportunities for its HomeLink technology.

Ineffective hiring processes can derail growth for even the best-managed companies.

Office furniture index remains strong

Written by | Thursday, 31 July 2014 12:01 |

Quarterly survey data indicates the office furniture remains in growth mode and executives feel good about business prospects in the near term.

Autocam brand to live on after acquisition

Written by | Wednesday, 23 July 2014 20:42 |

While Autocam Corp. will be acquired by a Tennessee-based public company in a deal that was announced in July, the automotive supplier does not expect the sale to have much impact on its West Michigan operations. 

Grand Rapids-based Autocam Corp. is being acquired by NN Inc. of Johnson City, Tenn. for $244.5 million in cash, $25 million in stock and the assumption of $30.5 million in debt, according to a statement.

Automotive pundits have already started to discuss where the industry is in its cycle and to guess when annual vehicle sales in the U.S. will crest and begin to decline.

An investment in technology helped one West Michigan manufacturer cut down production times and increase product quality — a move that’s helped it carve a niche in high-end precision machining.

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