Manufacturing

HOLLAND — Family-owned investment firm Coastal Group has acquired a Louisiana honeycomb packaging manufacturer and has moved all of the company’s operations to Holland. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Office furniture maker Steelcase Inc. has called back most of its manufacturing workforce from temporary layoffs as it gets back to work to fulfill around $700 million in customer order backlogs. 

Three mobility programs with a reach into West Michigan received $230,000 in state grant funding intended to address public health concerns brought on by the coronavirus. 

Temporary workers were some of the first people to lose manufacturing jobs when the coronavirus started to spread into the Midwest, and they also filled in the gaps left by the highly contagious virus at essential businesses. 

People line up early at manufacturing plants to have their temperature taken by registered nurses who were laid off from hospitals in the chaos of the COVID-19 crisis. 

The coronavirus pandemic never shut down D&M Metal Products Co. in Comstock Park, but it did change the way employees arrive at work.

KALAMAZOO — Even as construction and development projects came to a halt for several weeks as states and the nation reacted to the spread of COVID-19, Seven Generations Architecture & Engineering LLC has remained busy. 

ZEELAND — Office furniture manufacturer Herman Miller Inc. is laying off about 300 employees throughout the company’s global workforce in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions.

Holland-based Collision Consolidation Co. LLC has acquired Stonewall Road Automotive Group, a Grand Rapids-based multi-state operator of MAACO automotive repair centers. 

The aerospace industry is facing unparalleled disruption and uncertainty emerging from the continued grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Equipment maker Coldbreak knew it would face a major challenge when the outbreak of COVID-19 led to the shutdown of bars and restaurants and events across the country. 

Manufacturers are contending with the risk COVID-19 still poses to their workforces.

The COVID-19 global pandemic has pushed millions of Americans to work from their home offices, or in lieu of a dedicated workspace, their dining room tables and couches. 

Automotive suppliers in West Michigan will begin warming up the industry’s supply chain next week.  

GRAND HAVEN — Auto supplier GHSP has launched a line of products for emergency and transport vehicles that uses ultraviolet light to disinfect and kill germs, including pathogens such as the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Office furniture maker Knoll Inc. has entered into a tentative agreement to sell the company’s manufacturing plant in Kentwood. 

As Michigan manufacturers shift course to join the growing “arsenal of health,” federal regulators have responded to the COVID-19 outbreak by reducing potential liability that typically comes with making medical supplies.

Automakers are delaying or rethinking the timing of new vehicles as production disruptions caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic linger into the spring.

On Thursday, Josh Cook got the call every licensed beverage alcohol producer dreads. 

ZEELAND — Gentex Corp. (NASDAQ: GNTX) reported first-quarter losses related to the ongoing shutdown of most vehicle production and the ensuing economic crisis caused by the coronavirus global pandemic.

Wolverine World Wide Inc. is leaning into e-commerce as the COVID-19 crisis drives more consumer purchases online. 

GRAND RAPIDS — UFP Industries Inc. posted record sales and earnings for the first three months of 2020.

HOLLAND — A West Michigan electronics and furniture manufacturer has retooled operations to produce contact-tracing badges that help employers maintain social distancing among workers during the coronavirus pandemic fallout.

The vast majority of manufacturers are predicting challenging times ahead for the industry. 

MUSKEGON — Pace Industries LLC, which manufactures die-cast parts and previously acquired the former Port City Group operations in Muskegon, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week. 

ZEELAND — Office furniture maker Herman Miller Inc. has filed a federal lawsuit against an online retailer for counterfeiting iconic designs from the company’s Design Within Reach Inc. subsidiary. 

 As businesses have been forced to pause operations in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, manufacturers are using the opportunity to explore and research new technologies that could change their future processes. 

In late March, two days before Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a stay-home order for all state residents, General Motors Co. approached Esys Automation with a challenge. 

The fallout from the coronavirus pandemic may prompt a new spike in the adoption of automation among the region’s manufacturers and have a lasting effect on an already shifting labor market.

Just barely three months into John Walsh’s role as president of the Michigan Manufacturers Association (MMA), the COVID-19 crisis hit the industry with a nearly complete shutdown of the state. MMA, which serves as the lobbying arm for the automotive industry and other manufacturing companies, has pivoted to communicate and advocate in Lansing for members while also connecting manufacturers that can address the shortage of medical supplies with the health systems that need them most. Walsh spoke with MiBiz about his vision for MMA and what the organization can do to help companies make it through the current crisis. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Pallet management firm Kamps Inc. has acquired wood products wholesaler D&H Bark Inc. of Manton in Wexford County. 

ZEELAND — Office furniture manufacturer Herman Miller Inc. is implementing a range of actions to temporarily reduce costs and preserve liquidity, including a 10-percent reduction in compensation for the majority of the company’s salaried employees.

As more manufacturers rapidly shift their operations to produce critical health and human service supplies in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the state is offering new funding to help offset the cost of retooling. 

LANSING — Food and animal safety products manufacturer Neogen Corp. completed its fifth international deal of 2020 with the acquisition of a Chile-based company. 

German automotive supplier Benteler Automotive Corp. is laying off more than 1,000 people across its West Michigan operations. 

ZEELAND — Office furniture maker Herman Miller Inc. anticipates bringing back up to 30 percent of its manufacturing employees by today to help support the company’s health care division.

Demand for the mobile computer workstations produced by Walker-based health care furniture manufacturer Altus Industries Inc. had already begun to spike as hospitals started setting up quarantine and triage areas in preparation for an influx of COVID-19 patients. 

ZEELAND — As Brad Davis tracked news about the spread of the coronavirus in early March, he cautioned his production team at MedViron LLC that the company might need to shut down to do its part with social distancing.

WYOMING — A high-end furniture manufacturer has idled work on custom home pieces but called back some laid-off staffers to sew much-needed masks amid the coronavirus outbreak.

GRAND RAPIDS — As the coronavirus pandemic spread to Michigan, Norman Beauchamp saw a need and an opportunity to coordinate manufacturers locally to supply equipment and supplies to hospitals expecting a surge in patients.

ROCKFORD — Footwear and apparel retailer Wolverine World Wide Inc. is in the “early stages” of converting one of its manufacturing facilities to produce protective masks for health care workers. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Universal Forest Products Inc. warned investors today that the coronavirus pandemic could pose serious challenges to the business. 

ZEELAND — Herman Miller Inc. is continuing to pay its Michigan workers affected by the temporary shutdown of its manufacturing operations in compliance with the state’s stay-home order. 

BENTON HARBOR — Appliance manufacturer Whirlpool Corp. has joined other publicly traded companies in withdrawing its 2020 earnings guidance, citing “unprecedented uncertainty” and concerns over disruptions related to coronavirus. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Steelcase Inc. said Tuesday that reduced or halted operations at its global manufacturing and distribution centers because of the coronavirus will “temporarily, but significantly” affect the company’s ability to generate revenue in its current quarter. 

ZEELAND — Herman Miller Inc. says it’s unable to predict sales for the present quarter because of the coronavirus pandemic that has created a “high degree of uncertainty throughout the global economy.”

Detroit’s Big Three automakers will shut down all of their factories in an effort to protect workers and the further spread of novel coronavirus, according to various industry reports. 

NeoCon, the office furniture industry’s annual showcase held each June in downtown Chicago, has been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.