Changing Workforce / Industrial Robotics

Automation shifts workforce needs for Michigan manufacturers

By Mitch Galloway for MiBiz

Nov 13, 2017

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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.

That’s according to company executives, engineers and robot suppliers who’ve noticed the growth of automation correlating to a shift in the manufacturing workforce, a move that’s helped companies maximize their efficiency and their investments in capital equipment.

“If you can automate and become cost effective and globally competitive out of the North American operational footprint, then the advantage of that and what it offers for us is the ability to have people move from very manual production efforts to more computer maintenance, to line management, to kind of higher-end skill sets and job performance,” said Gentex Corp. CFO Steve Downing in a call with analysts last month.

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