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Lakeshore Advantage Launches I4.0 Campaign to Support Manufacturers


Lakeshore Advantage Launches I4.0 Campaign to Support Manufacturers


Multi-county initiative helps local employers embrace the future of manufacturing


Lakeshore Advantage, with support from partners at The Right Place, Greater Muskegon Economic Development, Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center-West (The Center-West), and Michigan Economic Development Corporation, launched a West Michigan Industry 4.0 campaign to increase manufacturers’ smart manufacturing technology adoption readiness. Implementing Industry 4.0 technologies into operations helps manufacturers to create opportunities for improved efficiency, higher revenues, and increased innovation.

“With one in three of our region’s jobs in manufacturing, Industry 4.0 technologies are essential to West Michigan’s economic health,” said Jennifer Owens, Lakeshore Advantage President. “This campaign will help to secure our region’s place as an Industry 4.0 leader, recognizing West Michigan as the place to be for leading edge manufacturing technologies. We are grateful to our partners for collaborating on this initiative and are excited to continue working with employers and smart manufacturing implementers as we focus on our region’s industry success.”

Lakeshore Advantage received $92,787 in state grant funding to increase manufacturers’ Industry 4.0 technology adoption readiness. Close collaboration with regional economic development partners allows for the initiative to be extended to Ottawa, Allegan, Muskegon, and Kent counties’ employers.

"We are eager to launch this campaign to help our region’s manufacturers increase their global competitiveness through Industry 4.0 resources,” said Randy Thelen, President & CEO, The Right Place, Inc. “We need to drive new prosperity in our community, so it’s imperative that we empower businesses with the education and assets necessary for them to benefit from smart technologies and automation.”

The campaign includes a readiness assessment, informational case study videos, and a website where employers can learn more about statewide resources and tools available to them. These new resources will make Industry 4.0 and its benefits relevant to area manufacturers and connect them with next steps to implement new technologies.

"We strongly encourage area manufacturers to visit the website where they can hear directly from other companies about how Industry 4.0 has improved their business,” said Morgan Carroll, Director of Business Development for Greater Muskegon Economic Development. “They can also access the assessment tool on the site at no cost. It will take them through a series of detailed questions to help identify areas within their organization that may need attention if they are going to remain competitive. This is something that every manufacturer should take advantage of."

“For Michigan to remain a global leader in manufacturing, it’s critical that we work together with manufacturers across the regional supply chain to ensure we are keeping up, and continuing to lead, in the next revolution in manufacturing,” said Natalie Chmiko, Vice President, Pure Michigan Business Connect and International Trade, MEDC. “We are pleased to support these efforts in West Michigan to help prepare our manufacturers to adopt industry 4.0 technologies and reimagine how processes work and products are made in the 21st century.”

Industry 4.0, also known as the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” is the next phase of manufacturing improvement. Industry 4.0 is defined as the convergence of digital and physical technologies-or digitization-within the manufacturing sector. Industry 4.0 technology sectors include: Connected factory, data analytics, modeling & visualization, 3D printing, advanced robotics and cybersecurity.

“Industry 4.0 helps make automation cost-effective, flexible, and accessible to smaller job-shop manufacturers like Impact Fab” said Ross Haan, President of Impact Fab and an adopter of Industry 4.0. “Integrating Industry 4.0 practices helped us increase productivity by over 3 times from some of our previous manufacturing methods.”

To view the Industry 4.0 website, click here: To learn more about how the state of Michigan is preparing the manufacturing workforce for the future, visit

About Lakeshore Advantage

Lakeshore Advantage is a non-profit local economic development organization started in 2003 by forward-focused business and community leaders to ensure current and future generations want to live and work in our vibrant economy. Lakeshore Advantage assists primary employers, from startups to large world-class corporations, in West Michigan’s Allegan and Ottawa counties.

In 2020, Lakeshore Advantage supported 14 business growth projects, resulting in $152 million in private investment and 652 new jobs. We assisted 395 primary employers in 2020, which is double our typical support due to the increased need caused by the global pandemic. In addition, we supported 63 startup companies and administered two small business grant programs that injected $3.625 million into the local economy. More at

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