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ZEELAND — Manufacturers have had to get creative in balancing the dual workforce needs of attracting new talent — particularly young people — and retaining their existing workers. 

Backed by a string of profitable years, many West Michigan manufacturers are investing in labor-saving technology and providing themselves a hedge against future softening in the market. 

Automakers’ challenge in meeting regulatory requirements for Corporate Average Fuel Economy has two aspects: the technology side and the market side of the issue. 

WALKER — As industrial production levels continue to rise and West Michigan manufacturers reach full capacity, companies need to decide whether to invest in adding capacity or turn to other organizations in the supply chain. 

Manufacturing industry groups are tracking a number of key policy issues this year that could have a variety of implications on their West Michigan members. 

As the automotive supply chain prepares for a rapid increase in new model launches, manufacturers must also contend with several other trends in the industry ranging from production scheduling to the ripple effects of last year’s mega deals. 

Mill Steel sues Illinois steel processor

Written by | Sunday, 21 February 2016 22:28 |

A contractual dispute over a $1.125 million equipment purchase has resulted in legal action between Mill Steel Co. and Illinois-based steel processor The Material Works Ltd. 

eAgile Inc., a maker of radio frequency identification (RFID) products and software, hopes to raise up to $3 million to expand its overseas business serving the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and food industries.

Facing what they say is a dearth of qualified technical talent, manufacturers have been forced to get creative in developing their own internal training programs. But despite those efforts to fill the gap, companies still rely heavily on community colleges to train the next wave of workers. 

A West Michigan custom fabricator believes its partnership with a California energy company could fuel revenue growth this year and beyond.

Most automotive suppliers in West Michigan remain privately-held, meaning that information about their financial health stays tightly under wraps.

The movement of people back to urban areas and the onslaught of new transportation options has forced traditional automotive manufacturers to take notice and plan for the future.

While EV and hybrid sales continue to be a challenge in the era of sub-$2 per gallon gasoline, some automakers say the cheap gas has also forced them to re-evaluate their strategy for small sedans.

Despite a growing number of plug-in electric vehicles on display at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, industry analysts say the segment has failed to reach the “aspirational” levels many had hoped.

Automakers’ desire to quicken the pace of new vehicle launches has sent shock waves through the industry’s supply chain.

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