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A new study outlines a path for southern states to play more of a key role in the evolving automotive industry. The prescription: Get what Michigan’s already got — the brains of the auto industry. With the South nipping at the state’s heels, the report suggests Michigan must continue to bolster its supply chain clusters, technological innovation and skilled workforce.

The Brookings Institution’s Mark Muro outlined a three-part plan for states such as Michigan to succeed amid an evolving automotive sector.

When the state passed the so-called “Right-to-Work” legislation last year, lawmakers claimed the measure, which ends compulsory union membership, would help lure more jobs to the state.

If there is one rule that manufacturers have learned in the wake of the recession, it’s that serving a diverse customer base can be key to a company’s survival.

Steelcase Inc. plans to close a plant in Germany and open a new production facility in the Czech Republic as part of an ongoing, multi-year restructuring of its EMEA (Europe-Middle East-Asia) division.

A combination of commercial and government work and projects to implement new technology has aerospace suppliers in West Michigan flying high.

Being a diversified company that serves 15 different industries has its benefits, even if ease of forecasting is not one of them.

While analysts at PwC, Deloitte and others expect commercial aircraft to continue growing from last year’s record revenues, the same cannot be said for the defense segment of the industry.

Automotive component suppliers may sell directly to automakers or they may sell to another supplier, depending on what types of products they make and where they fall in the supply chain.

The largest commercial baker in West Michigan is also notable for being one of the quietest companies in a region known for its reserved business climate. In fact, Roskam Baking Co. has such a penchant for obscurity that it doesn’t even put its name on its buildings.

Although it recently won an honorary title as Beer City U.S.A. from an online straw poll, metro Grand Rapids should be known by another nickname: Snack City U.S.A.

Executives at Seabrook Plastics Inc. eschew the notion that manufacturers need to be running near capacity to be profitable.

Steelcase Inc. and Herman Miller Inc. both anticipate modest sales growth for the present quarter.

BIFMA upgrades forecast for 2013

Written by | Sunday, 15 September 2013 22:00 |

An updated office furniture industry outlook shows business picking up in 2013 after starting the year down a bit.

The message for West Michigan manufacturers who have help wanted signs out at their shops is clear: Help is on the way.

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