Steady Growth For Manufacturing R&D in West Michigan

The manufacturing industry is synonymous with West Michigan. This special relationship was forged by an outburst of technological innovation in the area hundreds of years ago, which included the assembly line and major developments in the transmission system and internal combustion engine.

Fast forward to today’s innovative endeavors in the United States, it isn’t implausible to assert that the state of innovation activities in the manufacturing sector in North America has been improving consistently, with West Michigan retaining its dominant role.

According to an annual report analysis made by MiBiz and filed with federal securities regulators, the nine publicly traded companies in West Michigan collectively spent more than $2 billion on research and development (R&D) in 2018: which marks a 6.5 percent increase from the preceding year.

This analysis proved that manufacturers in the arbitrary region of the state remain consistent and committed to investing in engineering, research and development activities, without overextending themselves financially.

“Even in a time of uncertainty, the local companies around here are keeping disciplined on the R&D,” Wall, director of automotive analysis in Grand Rapids at IHS Markit told MiBiz. “They do that to their credit and it should bear well for them at the end of the day when you look at the investments that they are making. Frankly, I expect all these companies to know that if they don’t, their competitors will.”

West Michigan has been very successful to date in supporting its R&D spending as a percentage of net sales (a metric also regarded to as R&D intensity); with the value ranging from less than 1% to more than 6% among the public traded firms in the analysis.

Better yet, based on the current geopolitical and economic indicators, we haven’t seen or heard anything that’s really likely to change the companies’ level of investments in relation to R&D. We should expect them (the firms) to maintain their steady approach to R&D spending in the following years.

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