Innovative Solutions for Manufacturers

Posted on May 5, 2017KCichon


Construction related to the manufacturing and warehousing industry in West Michigan is again on the rise. After the economic downturn in 2007-2009, many manufacturers cut production, capital spending on buildings and infrastructure and made do with their current facilities. Since then, as demand has rebounded, available existing space has been renovated or converted to the desired use, while companies looking to expand are left with few choices other than to build or add on. As a result, Wolverine has experienced a significant increase in demand for our site selection, plant layout, building design and construction services related to industrial space.

Wolverine has worked with several customers as they begin considering additions or new locations not only in the traditional locations around West Michigan but also cities such as Greenville, Marne, Comstock Park, Lowell, Holland, Grand Haven and Greenville where land is more plentiful and prices affordable. We’ve analyzed unconventional facilities and sites in the quest for efficient solutions. For example, for Solaire Medical we determining that a 40,000 sq. ft. facility once used to raise chickens could be renovated to suit their needs as a manufacturer of medical cabinets and mill-work. This facility, located in Marne off the beaten path, was unique but perfect. Why? Simple. The price was right and the space is just what Solaire Medical needed. Now, you’d never know that animals once ruled the roost.

Wolverine Building Group loves to help manufacturers think outside the box to help find solutions, including those beyond just the building. One of our newest clients, Hearthside Bakery is one of the world’s largest contract food manufacturers with 24 facilities in the US and Europe specializing in snack bars, cookies, crackers, pretzels, croûtons, breadcrumbs, snacks, and other baked goods. Currently, due to their limited storage space, they store raw ingredients that go into their baked goods in 53’ semi-trailers at off-site locations around Michigan. As you might imagine, the trailer storage can’t be cheap, but served a purpose as they grew as a company. After considering the cost of the trailers, the many FDA standards, regulations and temperature control requirements of the raw ingredients, the cost of managing the fleet of trucks, fuel, employment of drivers, logistics managers and other costs of owning, moving and transporting trailers, their management team knew something needed to change and began to consider possible solutions.

Hearthside Bakery eventually hired Robert Grooters Development and Wolverine Building Group to design and build a cost effective building that solves their storage problem. In March, Wolverine Building Group broke ground on a 300,000 sq. ft. addition for Hearthside Bakery in Kentwood, MI. This new addition will house raw ingredients that once lived in semi-trailers as they waited to be made into a savory cookie as well as finished goods. The building will save them time, money and help drive more efficiency into their operation. According to Mike Kelly, Chairman of Wolverine Building Group, “This new addition will pay for itself in short order. Furthermore, the hassle of maintaining the FDA regulations on multiple trailers rather than just one building will have free up other significant valuable resources.”

Wolverine Building Group is more than a general contractor and design/builder. Our mission is to be a leader of the construction process, providing value and building trust. We are a high performance customer service company, excelling in planning and pre-construction. We simplify the complexities of construction.