Despite slowing national economic growth, U.S. demand for office space continues to rise above forecasts.
GRAND RAPIDS — The tight labor market that many CEOs across the nation worry about these days cut into Steelcase Inc.’s quarterly sales growth.
West Michigan-based contract furniture makers Steelcase Inc. and Herman Miller Inc. expect to maintain sales momentum going into 2019.
Whether the West Michigan manufacturing industry continues on an ongoing growth trend in 2019 or veers into a contraction remains uncertain. Economist Paul Isely, associate dean for undergraduate programs in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University, uses automotive, furniture, agriculture, and “amazingly nowadays” aerospace manufacturing to find the pulse of where the region’s economy is headed in the coming months and years.
As the U.S. wades deeper into a trade war with countries including China, West Michigan-based office furniture manufacturers have been forced to raise prices and re-evaluate their supply chains to mitigate risks.
Before Landscape Forms Inc. acquired Kornegay Design last year, the Kalamazoo-based designer and manufacturer of site furniture, accessories and lighting mulled several acquisition targets that shared its design culture and core beliefs.
New tariffs and an escalating global trade war in recent weeks have stoked fears that global manufacturers will move production outside of the United States to protect their margins.
Industry headwinds such as steel and aluminum tariffs and new disruptors are forcing many West Michigan office furniture makers to deal with new challenges.
Inside Chicago’s Merchandise Mart at NeoCon earlier this month, office furniture manufacturers displayed new products that both showcased and contradicted the renewed shift to more private office spaces.
Whether via acquisition or partnership agreements, West Michigan’s office furniture makers are looking to fill product holes with their recent spate of deals.