Staff writer, covers manufacturing, automation and agribusiness. Twitter: @MitchSGalloway
GRAND RAPIDS — With the new AMP Lab @WMU that’s set to open this fall, Western Michigan University wants to leverage public- and private-sector partnerships to help local manufacturers innovate and access talent.
GRAND RAPIDS — With Cascade Die Casting Group Inc. purchasing up to a dozen new robots every year, the company has realized its investments can’t stop with just the equipment.
BENTON HARBOR — Faced with declining sales and changing customer buying habits, Midwest Timer Service Inc. needed to make some changes to its business.
DETROIT — The push to offer autonomous driving, innovate new mobility options and differentiate models with new technology has upended many parts of the automotive industry.
SPARTA — As automakers increasingly load their vehicles with new technology and complex infotainment systems, dealerships are fielding more questions from confused and often frustrated customers.
DETROIT — By offering diesel powertrains in their light-duty pickup trucks, the Detroit Three automakers are betting they can eke out even more sales in what’s been a red-hot market.
A growing number of automakers are adopting a new business model that could change how some customers get into the car market.
DETROIT — As two of the top three best-selling vehicles get a makeover this year, the 2018 North American International Auto Show once again seemed devoted to the ultimate American lifestyle automobile: the pickup truck.
Whirlpool Corp. will layoff an undisclosed number of employees at its West Michigan facilities.
WYOMING — As more municipal fire truck fleets exceed their life expectancies, that’s good news for one West Michigan-based manufacturer of heavy duty truck chassis and fire apparatuses.
Robotics to the rescue: Office furniture makers increasingly adopt automation technology amid struggle to find talent
Office furniture manufacturers have been late adopters of automation, particularly inside their West Michigan-based factories.
WALKER — One West Michigan manufacturer has embraced a “Wild West” approach to running its shop floor.
More automotive suppliers these days are finding it’s easier to buy cutting-edge technology companies than to develop the complex systems on their own.
Farmers’ increasing use of credit to finance operations has left some operators financially exposed during a volatile period for the industry.
Continental Dairy, a dairy processor in Coopersville, Mich., processes more than 300,000 pounds of nonfat dry milk per day and exports product to roughly 17 countries around the world. COO Steve Cooper reflects on why his sector of the agribusiness industry is facing some challenges currently.
As president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association, Jim Byrum worries about trade, weather and talent — concerns shared by the farmers and food processors he talks to on a daily basis. Still, he remains optimistic for the sector’s growth next year.
One of the biggest issues Carl Bednarski expects to deal with in 2018 is the national Farm Bill, which will address agricultural concerns in infrastructure, crop insurance and exports. The president of the Michigan Farm Bureau discussed what legislation will affect the agricultural community the most.
A partner at accounting and consulting firm Plante Moran, Joel Mitchell has a front-line look into how manufacturers are faring. Mitchell, who heads the manufacturing and distribution industry service team in Grand Rapids, said companies are bracing for disruptions and closely watching how passage of the federal tax reform bill could affect their businesses.
The automotive industry faces many uncertainties heading into 2018. AutoHarvest Foundation Chairman David Cole said the industry is heading toward more unknowns than knowns, especially because Michigan manufacturers struggle to find proper talent as the visibility among consumers wavers. It all adds up to an unpredictable future for automakers, he said.
Broadview Product Development Corp. had strong business in 2017 with its automotive industry customers and also grew sales to office furniture manufacturers by 25 percent. That growth has President Rick Arnold facing some key challenges at the prototyping and engineering firm. “We’re busier than we have been, and we are busier than our resources can support,” he said. Like most businesses these days, Broadview constantly wrestles with concerns over talent, which remains a key issue for the company heading into 2018.
As president of Grand Rapids Label and chair of the Family Business Alliance, Bill Muir understands what family-owned companies are going through right now. According to Muir, manufacturers remain optimistic heading into the new year, and they’re making more investments to support their customers.
Warner Norcross & Judd attorney Tom Manganello understands that the automotive industry is making a push to incorporate more technology. Manganello, who represents automotive sector clients, thinks if companies are not participating in this industry-wide shift, they could be in for trouble.
Manufacturers heading into 2018 have made workplace culture a priority.
GRAND RAPIDS — After a decade of growth in manufacturing, the sector still finds itself having to defend its worth to parents and high school counsellors.
GREENVILLE — After being on the market for more than a year, a West Michigan restaurant and brewery has sold to new owners.
On Dec. 14, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) expects to vote on whether to put an end to net neutrality, a group of regulations that forces internet providers to enable public access to all content or applications. As the issue gains national attention, MiBiz asked David Tarrien, an associate professor at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, about who wins and loses if net neutrality is struck down. Tarrien teaches introduction to law, advanced writing, and research and writing, among other subjects.
As the ready-to-drink coffee market gains popularity among consumers, West Michigan roasters are diversifying their business models to reflect a shift in how consumers approach the product.