Automakers’ desire to quicken the pace of new vehicle launches has sent shock waves through the industry’s supply chain.
While plummeting oil prices over the last month have led to relief for consumers at the pump, the news has been mixed for West Michigan manufacturers, particularly for suppliers of the oil-and-gas industry.
As automotive production and the industry’s supply chain grows in Mexico, one mid-Michigan manufacturer of custom casters and wheels decided to engage in a foreign market for the first time in the company’s history.
After running as lean as possible in the years following the recession, West Michigan manufacturers are embracing acquisitions as a strategy to add capacity and meet customer demand. That was the case for Grand Rapids-based Mill Steel Co. when it acquired certain assets of S&S Steel Services Inc. of Anderson, Ind.
In court documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan earlier this month, Haworth alleges that Cypress, Calif.-based Exemplis Corp., which does business as SitOnIt Seating, “intentionally designed” its Rio task chair to resemble the Very Side chair.
Automotive component suppliers have struggled with customer demands for price reductions on existing business and in conjunction with new contracts since GM began the practice almost 20 years ago.
Over the last decade, the manufacturer and assembler of panels, benching and other office furniture systems had spread out over four different buildings. When Compatico recently faced the need to expand again, the company weighed purchasing an additional building or moving its operation to a singular, larger facility. Executives ultimately opted for the latter option.
Spurred on by increased demand for its industrial welding equipment, Wyoming-based RoMan Manufacturing Inc. needed to expand. Luckily, the company had several options at its disposal to fund that growth, according to President and CEO Bob Roth.
It looks like the stage is set for yet another year of robust light vehicle sales and production in 2016.
Many companies engage in their annual strategic planning around this time of year. They are forecasting sales for the next year, figuring out what capital expenditures will be needed, and identifying initiatives to better position themselves in the market.
Energy Partners LLC, which is based in Spring Lake but operates from Grand Valley State University’s Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center (MAREC) in Muskegon, recently secured patents for technology that executives believe will increase the efficiency and safety of solar energy.
Mergers and acquisitions among global automotive suppliers should maintain the robust pace they reached in 2015 as the industry heads into the new year. That’s according to Ernst and Young’s recent Automotive Capital Confidence report published in November in which executives said they expected the global M&A market to “thrive” into 2016.
When Otsego-based Prime Solutions Inc. first launched its strategy to export its dewatering and filtration products two years ago, it expected a robust international market. However, as global activity slowed, the company realized it needed to change its model to grow.
Grand Haven-based Shape Corp. understands the complexity of geographic expansion. The supplier of automotive bumper systems and body structures employs more than 3,000 people across its U.S. and global operations and continues to add to its growing business.
Experts predict that West Michigan manufacturers will have easier access to freight carriers and that prices will hold steady in the near term. The reason: Capacity constraints in the logistics industry have finally started to abate.