With the craft brewing industry continuing to grow — albeit slower than just a few years ago — many West Michiganbased equipment suppliers are honing their product niches to get ahead of any future market corrections.
GRAND RAPIDS — In its first five years, The Mitten Brewing Co. mostly brewed beer to serve in its Grand Rapids pub and a satellite taproom in Northport on the Leelanau Peninsula.
The craft brewing industry continues to evolve at a rapid pace. As breweries strive to stay relevant in the eyes of thirsty customers, they also need to find ways to keep their distributor and retail partners happy. Companies need to balance all those demands and more if they plan to grow beyond the taproom model, which still provides their most lucrative sales.
The meteoric rise of Michigan’s craft brewing industry has spawned the creation of hundreds of new companies in communities all over the state.
Stroll through the beer aisle at some West Michigan grocery supercenters and you might notice a bit of gold tucked between the red, white and blue cases of Budweiser and MillerCoors brands.
Muskegon’s Pigeon Hill Brewing Co. is embarking on ambitious expansion plans as the company wrestles with how best to compete in the highly volatile industry.
Explosive growth in Michigan’s craft beer industry has created hundreds of new companies over the last decade. As a result of all those new entrants, competition in the industry has ratcheted up to an all-time high, testing the industry’s collegiality and owners’ appetite for risk. Even so, many executives still see opportunities to expand their companies. In this comprehensive special report, MiBiz explores how savvy companies are adapting their business models to thrive in an increasingly volatile market.
GRAND RAPIDS — Driven by customers’ needs to lightweight large components, Paragon Die and Engineering Co. is adding new equipment and expanding its facility in West Michigan.
Manufacturers in the automotive supply chain are scooping up acquisitions in emerging technologies to break into new markets before their competition. By moving into alternative powertrains, connected car technologies, artificial intelligence and predictive analytics, suppliers want to position themselves to get ahead of disruptions as the industry shifts to the “car of the future,” according to Jeff Zaleski, U.S. automotive deals leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC, a global consulting firm.
While most economists still believe in the strength of the overall economy, some West Michigan manufacturers say their business has begun to soften, indicating a slowdown could be starting to emerge.
Emerging drone technology is helping reduce costs and save time for a range of West Michigan businesses, from farmers to construction companies and beyond.
West Michigan’s ‘sleeping giant’: Region’s aerospace supply chain braces for growth amid strong global demandWritten by Mitch Galloway
With the automotive industry headed for a period of plateauing sales and a potential slowdown, manufacturers could find opportunities to diversify by supplying Michigan’s aerospace sector.
WAYLAND — With the acquisition of a West Michigan aerospace manufacturer, Tribus Aerospace aims to become a regional consolidator in the highly fragmented industry across the Midwest.
ROCKFORD — An employee-owned Minnesota company has acquired Integrated Packaging LLC, an automation manufacturer based in Rockford.
ROCKFORD — Getting West Michigan manufacturers to embrace cutting-edge technology can be “a tough nut to crack.”
Black Swamp Percussion LLC started out like many musical instrument manufacturers tend to, by “rolling out of hobby mode into a little bit of a business.”
For West Michigan manufacturers who are struggling both to find workers and to keep up with order volumes, the recent federal tax reform offers some welcome news.
Spurred on by tax reform, a need for innovation and the current talent shortage, manufacturers increasingly have embraced automation on their shop floors.
Michigan’s role in improving manufacturing efficiency has come a long way since the invention of the assembly line.
HOLLAND — When outdated machinery forced Genzink Steel Supply and Welding Co. to delay customer orders and send products to other companies, President Brock Mahler knew it was time to invest in new equipment.
Joe Dyer wants manufacturers to know that automation isn’t an end goal but a means to drive greater productivity, profitability and efficiency in the workplace.
By using a wireless lighting control system to receive data and information from its operations, office furniture manufacturer Steelcase Inc. is improving its overall energy performance on its factory floors.
CALEDONIA — A Hastings-based manufacturer of fire suppression equipment needed a new home that would allow its business to expand and meet the demands for its growing line of sprinklers.
GRAND RAPIDS — Many West Michigan mold manufacturers are looking to get ahead of the oncoming wave of employee retirements by hiring more employees this year.
As the manufacturing industry begins to get “its mojo back,” Miles Free thinks danger might lie ahead for the sector, especially if the federal government imposes tariffs on key raw materials.
GRAND RAPIDS — With the new AMP Lab @WMU that’s set to open this fall, Western Michigan University wants to leverage public- and private-sector partnerships to help local manufacturers innovate and access talent.
GRAND RAPIDS — With Cascade Die Casting Group Inc. purchasing up to a dozen new robots every year, the company has realized its investments can’t stop with just the equipment.
NORTON SHORES — One growing Lakeshore area manufacturer didn’t have to look far when it came time to find a new place to consolidate its operations.
DETROIT — The push to offer autonomous driving, innovate new mobility options and differentiate models with new technology has upended many parts of the automotive industry.
DETROIT — As two of the top three best-selling vehicles get a makeover this year, the 2018 North American International Auto Show once again seemed devoted to the ultimate American lifestyle automobile: the pickup truck.
BENTON HARBOR — Faced with declining sales and changing customer buying habits, Midwest Timer Service Inc. needed to make some changes to its business.
DETROIT — By offering diesel powertrains in their light-duty pickup trucks, the Detroit Three automakers are betting they can eke out even more sales in what’s been a red-hot market.
A growing number of automakers are adopting a new business model that could change how some customers get into the car market.
SPARTA — As automakers increasingly load their vehicles with new technology and complex infotainment systems, dealerships are fielding more questions from confused and often frustrated customers.
Robotics to the rescue: Office furniture makers increasingly adopt automation technology amid struggle to find talentWritten by Mitch Galloway
Office furniture manufacturers have been late adopters of automation, particularly inside their West Michigan-based factories.
WYOMING — As more municipal fire truck fleets exceed their life expectancies, that’s good news for one West Michigan-based manufacturer of heavy duty truck chassis and fire apparatuses.
WALKER — One West Michigan manufacturer has embraced a “Wild West” approach to running its shop floor.
More automotive suppliers these days are finding it’s easier to buy cutting-edge technology companies than to develop the complex systems on their own.
GRAND RAPIDS — Hourly workers at Micron Manufacturing Co. are making an average of 7 percent more in wages than they were a year ago.
GREENVILLE — The strategy for a Wisconsin-based milk processor that’s in talks to create a potential “dairy campus” in Greenville, Mich. is quite simple: Follow the milk.
Competitive forces: Despite projections for a record 2018, tool and die suppliers brace for a cyclical downturnWritten by Mitch Galloway
With 177 new vehicle launches expected by 2020, tooling suppliers like Walker Tool & Die Inc. are bracing for another busy period in what’s been a string of good years for the industry.
GRAND RAPIDS — A deal to acquire a New Jersey firm positions Praxis Packaging Solutions Co. to expand on the East Coast and diversify from its stronghold with pharmaceutical customers.
Manufacturers in West Michigan have turned to automation in recent years to get jobs done quicker and cheaper, and their investments in the technology shows no signs of slowing down.
NORTON SHORES — Manufacturer Seabrook Plastics Inc. is leveraging its investment in technology to improve process repeatability and reduce non-value added cost.