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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.

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.

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