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CHARLOTTE — Spartan Motors Inc. has landed on the short list for a potentially large government contract to make the next generation of delivery vehicles for the United States Postal Service. 

HOLLAND — As robotic technology continues to improve, manufacturers of automation equipment are finding their customers demand larger, more complex systems.

The automotive industry has been very good for West Michigan, in spite of the challenges that it has dished up for component suppliers over the last several decades. 

Editor’s note:
After more than 13 years of writing the Auto Focus column for MiBiz, Melissa Anderson plans to retire as a columnist, effective immediately, as she winds down her storied career in automotive analysis and research. In the short term, she and her husband plan to travel in the Southern Hemisphere. “I have enjoyed writing the column and it has been a good long run,” Anderson said. Anderson’s business intelligence on the automotive industry will be missed. “Melissa was our ideal business columnist because she was able to talk with a lot of knowledge about trends in the global automotive industry while also providing a lot of local context, examples and data,” said MiBiz Publisher Brian Edwards. MiBiz will continue its search for a new automotive/manufacturing columnist throughout the coming months.

ZEELAND — In a new lawsuit, a West Michigan office furniture manufacturer accuses a Canadian company of producing and selling knock offs of one of the industry’s iconic designs. 

BATTLE CREEK — Concerns over national security could spark wider access to a $100 billion industry for West Michigan manufacturers.

GRANT — When Porous Pave Inc. began in 2008, the manufacturer of permeable paving technology had trouble tapping into the commercial market. 

As automakers have invested in high-profile technologies and lightweighting, they’ve also started to pay more attention to the place in their vehicles where drivers spend the most time: the interiors. 

NILES — One Southwest Michigan supplier of industrial coatings aims to double the size of its organization through a new expansion project.

The possibility of unattended driving, courtesy of Google or Apple, seems like a futuristic luxury, something out of a Dick Tracy cartoon in the memories of Baby Boomers. And yet, automakers are citing timelines that put it right around the corner. 

Despite ongoing concerns about a talent gap, employment in West Michigan’s construction industry continues to rise. 

While many pieces still need to be assembled, Michigan’s growing forest products industry remains on track to transform into a robust and sustainable market. 

SPRING LAKE — The residential housing boom in downtown Grand Rapids has led one West Michigan manufacturer of commercial casework and other custom furniture to shift its focus. 

West Michigan automotive suppliers have a lot on their plates as they prepare their businesses to be competitive in the coming years. 

The automotive industry rapidly approaches a convergence point. 

To move beyond a looming sales plateau, automakers will need to appeal to the generation they’ve long-feared prefers car-sharing services and cycling to owning automobiles. 

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