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From cobots to data collection and analysis, Industry 4.0 is changing the way small and mid-size manufactures think about and grow their businesses. 

Regardless of industry or seniority, virtually every member of the workforce shares one commonality: onboarding.

Here’s a sobering thought: Every underground piping system - in every building and all of the connections there in-between - installed before and during the 20th century, is rapidly approaching the end of its useful lifespan. 


Organizational excellence is more than a phrase – it is a culture that attracts AND retains an exceptional workforce. All employers are seeking ways to recruit qualified employees and reduce unwanted turnover during today’s tight labor market yet there is no “quick fix” approach to this long-term issue.

You’ve worked hard to build your business, equip it with a team of high-performing individuals, and ensure your compensation and benefits package adequately protect your business from what’s come to be known as “The Great Resignation.”

Your business needs to move, but the availability of existing buildings is dismal, and you can’t find the right fit to meet your immediate and future needs.  So, you decide to build.  Now you’re faced with rising construction costs, labor shortages, supply chain issues, and long lead times that wreak havoc with your timeline and budget. How do you navigate this very real and intimidating situation?



Making room for new buildings often involves tearing down old facilities. At Rockford Construction, we drive sustainability in all our projects, and reclaiming and recycling building materials is an important aspect of building demolition.

First of a three-part webinar series focuses on preparing for the manufacturing workforce of the future

The 2022 Health Care and Human Resources Summit will dissect the state of our health care system through a business lens and expand on previous topics to include the latest information on hiring, health care, wages, benefits, and more.


I imagine if you are reading this article, you might be struggling to retain new employees and to fill your open positions. You are not alone, and it is going to get worse. The Manufacturing Institute has estimated that between 2018 and 2028, half of all open job positions in manufacturing will go unfilled, (2018).

Capital is vital to any business, whether it’s just getting started or looking to grow. How you fund your business can have a huge impact on your operations and ability to take advantage of new opportunities.

Some days your supply chain can feel like a moving target. From managing volatility in supply and demand, to staving off inflation, to complying with carbon emissions regulations, you never know what challenges your supply chain might face on a given day. Each one can throw a wrench in your planning, supplier relationships, profitability and more.



The Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building is a monumental development for the City of Grand Rapids. Inside, groundbreaking research and discovery will help drive innovation in the healthcare sector. Outside, human lives will be improved significantly thanks to the work of tenants like BAMF Health, who will provide world-class health treatment for various types of cancer and diseases using advanced medical equipment. Overall, together with the other buildings that make up the Grand Rapids Innovation Park along the city’s Medical Mile, the Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building will help contribute to more than $300 million in economic impact to Kent County each year.

In manufacturing, product is the endgame. 

The year is coming to a close and the holidays are upon us.  That means annual traditions of family, food… and stressful holiday shopping.


The Grand Rapids Chamber’s Diversity & Talent Summit returns on Tuesday, November 16 with speakers who will examine the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in business. From neighborhood storefronts to global enterprises, implementing solutions to create more inclusive environments for employees and consumers will position businesses to strategically navigate the ever-changing marketplace long-term. Participants can expect to hear success stories, get caught up on the latest community DEI metrics, and explore systems thinking as an approach to embed DEI in business, education, health care, and beyond.   

AmCon Novi Advanced Design & Manufacturing Expo Suburban Collection Showplace - Novi, MI November 9-10, 2021

Here’s a question for all Accounts Payable (AP) managers and treasury professionals: How often do you think about payments after you’ve made them?


For family owned businesses, planning is the key to ensuring a smooth and successful transition of the business to the next generation. A thorough and well-documented plan is a gift to your family and your employees, and helps to safeguard the future of your family business.

When BAMF Health opens in June 2022 in the Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building on the Medical Mile in Grand Rapids, it will be home to the world’s most advanced molecular imaging clinic, radiopharmacy and theranostics clinic, providing world-class health treatment for various types of cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cardiac disease and much more.

The Grand Rapids Chamber is thrilled to announce the return of the EPIC Awards Gala on Monday, October 25 at the JW Marriott Grand Rapids.


Nonprofit, not-for-profit, and charity are all general terms for organizations that exist to serve the public good rather than make money for their owners. They can take a wide variety of forms, including places of worship, private schools, homeowners’ associations, amateur sports leagues, public welfare organizations, community development programs, and many more.

Considering that the vast majority of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck and 40% struggle to cover a $400 emergency expense, it’s no wonder why so many employees consider themselves functionally uninsured despite being covered by their employer’s health plan. The standard employer-sponsored health plan comes with a nearly $8,000 out-of-pocket expense.  And, when an employer’s price tag to purchase that insurance for a family now exceeds $20,000 a year, no HR professional likes to hear that their employee “benefit” they offer has become an employee “liability.” 

Leading and succeeding a family business is complex.  Untangling what’s family and what’s business for the good of both is one of the greatest challenges of family enterprise. But, when they work together to their full potential the opportunities for family, business, and community are endless. With the help of Family-Owned Business Institute of Grand Valley State University and adaptations of several online resources, The Family Business Alliance has established a Family Business Continuum to help family businesses in West Michigan understand the distinct axes of the family business model and improve the opportunity for multi-generational success. 


The struggle of attracting, retaining, and developing talent within the manufacturing industry is not a new phenomenon. Businesses in this sector have been grappling with how to overcome this challenge for decades. While the pandemic has exacerbated the issue, a widening skills gap and a significant portion of the labor pool reaching retirement age has long fueled the talent shortage manufacturers are facing today.   

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. —Eventually, every manufacturing executive runs into a situation where the longstanding processes that have driven their business and systems are outdated and in need of change. But properly managing those changes for the benefit of the organization can often present a challenge, particularly in times of volatility or crisis. 

Every year at the ATHENA Awards Celebration, the Grand Rapids Chamber gathers to celebrate those who embody, encourage, and promote the inclusion of women. Join us on Wednesday, September 29 at the JW Marriot Ballroom to recognize the recipients of the 32nd Annual ATHENA Awards as they are added to this list of legendary ladies.


Brandi Llamas had a choice to make for her five children that would have a profound effect on their future.

11th Annual MCOY Awards honors West Michigan’s construction industry 

The Lakeshore Innovator of the Year Award was created by the Muskegon Innovation Hub at Grand Valley State University as a way to honor and recognize the many creative innovators found in West Michigan. This amazing group of people is responsible for the tremendous increase in growth and improvement in the quality of life that has taken place in this part of the state over the past decade.


Experts advocate for a holistic approach to pain management and recovery for those experiencing work-related pain

In a world defined by rapid change and daunting challenges, the future depends on people who can think creatively, reach across boundaries, and reframe complex business problems as opportunities to build what’s next.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused deep disruptions throughout manufacturing supply chains, forcing manufacturers and distributors to reevaluate their sourcing and inventory practices as well as the technologies that support them. As the pandemic itself subsides, operations leaders must come to terms with new challenges and opportunities in cost management, labor efficiency, and data management to ensure they meet productivity goals and customer demands moving forward.


The manufacturing and distribution industries have been forever changed by a pandemic that’s created both challenges and opportunities. Supply chains have been disrupted, for example, while demand has surged for a variety of products.

On August 26, 2021, the American Subcontractors Association of Michigan (ASAM) will celebrate the 11th Annual MCOY Award event at the home of the Whitecaps, Lake Michigan Credit Union Ballpark. MCOY recognizes Michigan’s general contractors and construction managers with a track record of best practices, professionalism, and collaboration within the trade contracting community. 

Grand Rapids is teeming with innovative people and companies. Young professionals recognize the city as the ideal jumping off point for their careers. Entrepreneurs see the tremendous value in leveraging the ample resources available to bring their ideas to life. And along the Medical Mile, which encompasses an expansive stretch of Michigan Street east of the Grand River and just south of Interstate 196, groundbreaking research is transforming the healthcare industry.


Second installment in webinar series focuses on process improvements through Lean 3P

There is no doubt these are challenging times for many businesses and communities. Businesses that did not survive COVID-related shutdowns have left empty storefronts and offices.

For businesses to thrive in 2021 and beyond, they must adapt their business to a new, connected reality – but what many businesses don’t understand are the risks inherent in this new always on, always ready business environment of 2021.


Many businesses are experiencing change due to COVID, with new work patterns and more employees working remote.  While change in business is not unusual, it seems to be coming more rapidly now and is causing many companies to rethink their physical space and how to best utilize it. 

It’s no secret that the rise of mobile connectivity, digital communication channels and the app economy is changing almost every aspect of modern life. The financial services sector is no different. The impact of technology has banks evaluating mobile and online banking in pursuit of innovative online business services to add convenience and flexibility to customers.

In principle and in practice, the Grand Rapids Chamber believes in the value and power of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Various reports released in 2020 amidst a global pandemic, mounting racial tension and a divisive political atmosphere prove there is much work to be done.


As advancements in Industry 4.0 surge ahead, the pace of development and sheer scope of technology often leaves small- and medium-size manufactures without the expertise and resources to forge a clear path forward.

As the end of the pandemic moves closer every day, many office-staff employers are debating what the future of their work strategy will look like. Although it is estimated 25% percent of Americans will continue to work remote in 2021, many employees are itching to get back into the office. And, on the other hand, many are not. As an employer, you are tasked with developing a return-to-office strategy that appeases all levels of employees, maintains compliance, and serves the needs of your organization. 

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Picture the perfect home office: sprawling wooden desk, latest high-definition monitor, plush leather chair, and of course, that perfect built-in bookshelf as a backdrop for Zoom meetings. 


Manufacturing Webinar Series to Focus On 3p Approach to Total Manufacturing 

In today’s fast-paced world, speed to market can drive the success or failure of companies. That is certainly true for housing, retail, healthcare and, of course, industrial and manufacturing. Construction projects that support these industries represent a major investment in time and money, so delivering projects quickly and cost-effectively is paramount.

HMS provides innovative solutions for the modern work-from-home engineer