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Auto supplier Plasan Carbon Composites Inc. announced today that it plans to invest $29 million in a new manufacturing facility located in Walker.

The quarterly outlook for the office furniture industry tempered expectations again for this year, as a period of slow growth continues. However, the industry is still projected to pick up a bit during the latter half of the year and into 2015.

As automakers embrace lightweighting as a key strategy to meet more stringent efficiency standards, that’s led to a shift toward new materials and new production processes designed to take unneeded mass out of vehicles.

Automotive supplier Plasan Carbon Composites Inc. has a major challenge on its hands.

Most automotive component suppliers want to grow over time, and that usually entails adding manufacturing capacity, whether by adding on to an existing plant, building a brand new facility, buying a building or acquiring a company.

A growing market in the southern United States has prompted one local manufacturer to expand its operations to the Lone Star State.

Rarely do businesses welcome industry regulation, but one Greenville-based manufacturer credits new efficiency standards for helping the company become more competitive.

Manufacturers and their advocates had long decried the job-killing effects of the state’s personal property tax on equipment. But with the passage of Proposal 1, that tax will start to be phased out over seven years from 2016 to 2023. Companies with $80,000 or less in personal property qualify to file a tax exemption immediately. Fresh off the Proposal 1 victory in the August primary, Mike Johnston of the Michigan Manufacturers Association spoke with MiBiz about the impacts of eliminating the tax and the industry group’s focus going forward.

Automakers doing well, but need help

Written by | Sunday, 31 August 2014 22:00 |

Automotive component suppliers want their customers to succeed.

Sometimes the only thing separating a great idea from becoming a viable business is a little bit of outside perspective. That’s the working theory behind the Design Briefs events, a joint effort of AIGA West Michigan and the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

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.

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