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manufacturing2017

Employers who are increasingly paying attention to the overall well-being of employees are generating opportunity for West Michigan office furniture makers to create the type of workspaces that contribute to workers’ health.

According to the most recent state jobs data, wages for manufacturing production workers in May sunk to their lowest levels in the last 12 years as the average hours worked dipped to the lowest point since 2009. Meanwhile, the number of people working in manufacturing hit its highest level in almost a decade.

After driving the West Michigan economy for several years, the manufacturing sector has reached a holding pattern of flat growth that has economists on the lookout for the next downturn in the business cycle. 

LANSING — One mid-Michigan entrepreneur wants to fill a need in the rapidly growing market for unmanned aerial vehicles by catering his products to educators and students.

Tool and die shops are practitioners of highly skilled craftsmanship, doing the rigorous and precise work needed to build tooling for high-volume production of automotive components. 

Herman Miller Inc.’s highly praised $154 million acquisition in 2014 of high-end furniture retailer Design Within Reach Inc. may not legally have occurred.

West Michigan office furniture manufacturers could soon be incorporating scrap wood into the production of their products through a new partnership with Michigan Technological University.

DUTTON — Instead of relying on a traditional salesforce to sell its products, GR-X Manufacturing LLC aims to grow its business primarily through marketing on the internet. 

While browsing the automotive news site Just-Auto.com recently, we noticed an interview with Frank O’Brien, the executive vice president of Asia for Magna International Inc. This sparked a moment of nostalgia, since O’Brien was a contact point during the time we did consulting work at Donnelly Corp. in Holland some 25 years ago — well before it became part of Magna.

After a banner year for deal flow, the merger and acquisition market seems to have tempered slightly in 2016.

HOLLAND — After losing nearly a quarter of its annual sales because of the struggling oil and gas industry, Hemco Gage Corp. plans to expand its reach by targeting medical device and aerospace manufacturers across the country.

Automakers have witnessed a resurgence in interest for trucks and SUVs as gasoline prices continue to hover around $2 per gallon in many areas of the country. 

ALBION — Over the last decade and a half, Team 1 Plastics Inc. avoided expanding its facility until absolutely necessary, choosing instead to maximize every square inch of its shop floor. 

Experts in the automotive industry have a simple message for companies figuring out how to navigate a changing vehicle market: Embrace the eventual shift to autonomous cars or you will cease to exist. 

HOLLAND — After manufacturing a specialized line of food processing equipment for 30 years, Lakewood Fab Tech LLC wants to embrace new opportunities by refocusing its business on designing custom machines for the industrial market. 

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