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Amid currency fluctuations and general uncertainty stemming from international markets, West Michigan office furniture manufacturers continue to experience steady growth on their home turf in North America.

Office furniture dealerships must innovate their business models to adjust to a slow-growing, mature industry and shifting customer preferences. These days, fresh faces are spearheading those changes as executives who’ve helmed those dealerships for years start to approach retirement age.

Companies who get their products produced in Michigan only use a portion of the state’s highly skilled advanced manufacturing resources.

West Michigan engineering and design firms have embraced the mentality that “it takes a village” when it comes to innovating and producing new products.

While the Grand Rapids-based manufacturer of automation equipment has worked with automotive customers in the past, its new “multi-million” dollar project with Dicastal North America Inc. marks a significant step away from the company’s traditional customers in warehouse distribution and cold storage, said CEO Tom Tobin.

West Michigan automotive suppliers have started to adapt as parts of the North American supply chain move to new southern geographies.

A decade after shifting industry patterns and a global recession decimated the U.S. tool and die industry, one German entrepreneur believes current conditions in the automotive sector prove there’s now a need for more tooling capacity in West Michigan.

Between the downward pressure on prices and the general upward direction of costs, it can be tough for automotive suppliers to develop a budget, let alone adhere to one. Difficult choices are made every year about how and where to allocate financial resources to meet production obligations, prepare for the future and make a reasonable return on the effort.

While the office furniture industry continued to post strong shipment growth during the second quarter of 2015, industry forecasts show signs of the sector plateauing by the end of the year.

A startup manufacturer plans to capitalize on the growing market for flavored and gluten-free beers with a new product that offers brewers an alternative to using malted grain. Treeborn Inc. intends to supply chestnut chips — used either as a replacement for malted grain or added to the beer as a flavoring ingredient — to the growing number of craft breweries opening across the country.

GRAND RAPIDS — Backed by a new joint venture with a Chinese supplier, one West Michigan belting manufacturer hopes to shore up its supply chain and expand its footprint in the North American market.

Although fears over China’s stalling economy sent global stock markets reeling in late August, experts say the impact to West Michigan’s manufacturers will be complex — and not necessarily all negative.

ACME — While the automotive industry’s near-death experience shaped how it restructured to survive in the recession, its evolution during the recovery years is driving a different kind of change.

GRAND RAPIDS — After a new acquisition, Blackford Capital looks to create a platform to consolidate companies in the mature book printing industry.

ALLEGAN — Growth in the second quarter provides an example of why Chairman and CEO Joe Papa sees a bright future for Perrigo Co. plc and why directors have rejected overtures from Mylan N.V. in the lead up to a hostile takeover attempt.

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