It shouldn’t come as a total shock to learn that, for many manufacturers, the path to a digitized, Manufacturing 4.0 future is turning out to be paved with challenges. That’s true of most technology-enabled transformative changes, particularly those requiring significant leadership and culture adjustments.

A recent Manufacturing Leadership Council study found that, while still committed to the notion that the digitization of their factories will bring lower costs, greater agility, and greater customer satisfaction, manufacturers are making slower progress toward achieving their digital goals than they expected as recently as a year ago.

But that’s not to say that all manufacturers are underachieving when it comes to bringing Manufacturing 4.0 to life. The 91 manufacturers announced today as winners of the 2017 Manufacturing Leadership Awards, in fact, are proof positive that M4.0 is much more than a theory or future vision. These ML Awards winners are putting M4.0 into practice today and are well on the way to creating a state in which production is increasingly automated, modular, data-driven, agile, predictive, and rapidly reconfigurable to meet changing demands and competition.

A few examples:

  • One winner, a high tech manufacturer, created an advanced analytics platform that gives the manufacturer detailed visibility into operations and outcomes across its complex, global supply network. The company has used the platform to dramatically improve quality and optimize product test processes, saving millions.
  • Another winner added intelligence and connectivity to its products in the field—in this case cash dispensing machines—enabling it to respond to and even predict breakdowns and service requirements. This means customers get practically 100% machine availability, and the manufacturer saves on maintenance and service trips.
  • And a third winner created a unique talent development program that employs unconventional methods to uncover latent skills, motivations, and ambitions of employees by putting them through a guided process of self-discovery. The program leads directly to improved employee performance and process improvement while also dramatically increasing retention.

We invite you to review the list of ML Awards winners below and to meet them at the 13th Annual Manufacturing Leadership Summit, June 12-14 in Huntington Beach, CA, where many winners will present their projects on stage. ML Award winners and their partners will be honored on June 14, 2017, at a gala celebration. In addition, the Manufacturing Leadership High Achiever Awards, ML Manufacturers of the Year, the Manufacturing Leader of the Year, and the Lifetime Achievement Award winner will be announced for the first time publicly at the gala.

Expert judges for the 2016 ML Awards were:

Dean L. Bartles, CEO,Cloud Based Manufacturing, LLC

David R. Brousell, Co-founder,  Manufacturing Leadership Council

Ron Castro, Vice President, Operations and Supply Chain Execution, IBM

Lloyd Colegrove, Director, Data Services and Fundamental Problem Solving, Analytical Technology Center, The Dow Chemical Company

John Fleming, Executive Vice President, Global Manufacturing and Labor Affairs, Ford Motor Company (retired)

John Gagel, Global Senior Manager, Corporate Sustainability, Lexmark International

Jeff Gallinat, Senior Vice President, Global Manufacturing Operations, Cisco Systems

John M. Gercak, Vice President IT, Manufacturing Center of Excellence, Eaton

Brad Heath, CEO, VirTex Enterprises

Dennis Hoeg, Vice President, Global Manufacturing, Manufacturing Engineering and Enterprise Systems, Nexteer Automotive

Brad Martin, Chief Operating Officer, Senet

Michael Packer, Director, Advanced Manufacturing Programs, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works

Joseph Parambo, Director, Product Programs, Test, and Development Services, General Motors

Joseph J. Salvo, Executive Director, Digital Industrial Ecosystems,GE Global Research

Val Zanchuk, President, Graphicast Inc.

The ML Council is pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 ML Awards. (The list of winners may also be found at:

Big Data and Advanced Analytics Leadership

Bristol-Myers Squibb

Cisco Systems, Inc. (Polaris Analytics Platform)

Merck & Co., Inc. (Turnaround Advanced Logic Planning Support)

Micron Technology, Inc.

VirTex Enterprises LP


Collaborative Innovation Leadership

IBM Corp. (Resolution Rooms)

Lexmark International, Inc. (Visual Process Management)

Raytheon Missile Systems


Customer Value Leadership

American Emergency Vehicles

LAI International, Inc. (Advanced Product Development Model)

Peterbilt Motor Company (Dynamic Truck Test)


Engineering and Production Technology Leadership

Cisco Systems, Inc. (Digital Design and Manufacturing Platform)

Daikin Applied

LAI International, Inc. (BA/30K Sheath Program)

Lockheed Martin (Mold-In-Place Inlet Coatings Project)

Lockheed Martin (Forced Mechanical Oscillation Drilling)

Lockheed Martin (Ultrasonic Hole Cutting)

Peterbilt Motors Company (Power Distribution and Fuse Box Error-Proofing Vision System)

Pixelligent Technologies, LLC

Rauland, a division of AMETEK, Inc.

Roche Tissue Diagnostics

Saudi Aramco (Long Term Planning Optimization Model for a network of Gas Oil Separation Plants)

Saudi Aramco (Oil Production Specification Prediction Innovative Tool)

The Dow Chemical Company (Propylene Dehydrogenation Project)

Under Armour, Inc.

uniQure, Inc.


Enterprise Technology Leadership

Atrium Windows and Doors

Ball Aerospace and Technologies, Inc.

Clif Bar & Company

Cirrus Aircraft

Embraer SA

Flowserve, Inc.

Ford Motor Company

GK Machine, Inc.

Herbalife International of America, Inc.

JEALSA Rianxeira S.A.U.

Merck &  Co., Inc. (Guided Method Execution for Global Quality Laboratories)

Nexteer Automotive

Saudi Aramco (Application Whitelisting at the Process Control System’s Layer)

Solaire Medical

Solenis LLC

Swedish Armed Forces

West Liberty Foods LLC


IoT in Manufacturing Leadership

Lexmark International, Inc. (Predictive Service)


Mobility in Manufacturing Leadership


Commscope, Inc.

Merck & Co., Inc. (Problem Solving System)


Operational Excellence Leadership

Agilent Technologies, Inc.


Bridge Publications, Inc.


Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Hologic, Inc.

Honeywell Transportation Systems

IBM Corp. (CSC Appliances Excellence through Automation)

Johnson Controls

Johnson & Johnson

Keysight Technologies

LAI International, Inc. (ZAK, Inc. Integration)

Peterbilt Motors Co. (Self and Successive Inspection Project)

Plantronics Mexico

The Boeing Company (Organizational Efficiency Lean Process & Tools)

The Dow Chemical Company (Dow Operation Excellence System (DOES)

USG Corp. (Improving Operational Excellence with Lean Six Sigma)


Smart Product Leadership

Adcraft Labels, a division of Adcraft Products Co. Inc


Asius Technologies LLC

Hernon Manufacturing, Inc.

SimpliVity, Inc.

The Raymond Corporation


Supply Chain Leadership

Firstronics, LLC

General Electric Company

Hostess Brands

IBM Corp. (5 Pillars of Supply Chain Operational Excellence)

Lexmark International, Inc. (Finished Goods Pull Replenishment-Mid-Range Mono Products)

Siemens Healthineers

USG Mexico (New Logistic Project for Imported Products)


Sustainability Leadership

Airbus Operations GmbH

Cisco Systems, Inc. (Supply Chain Emissions Reduction Program)

People Against Dirty Manufacturing


Talent Management Leadership

Allegion Americas

Northeast Wisconsin (NEW) Manufacturing Alliance

Oracle Corp. (Supply Chain Experiential Apprentice Initiative)

Proto Labs

The Dow Chemical Company (Talent Development)


Visionary Leadership

Prof. Detlet Zuehlke, Technologie-Initiative SmartFactory KL e.V.

Rick Luepke, Lockheed Martin

Joseph  DeSimone, PhD, Carbon, Inc.

Julian SK Tan, IBM Corp.

P.J. Gruetzmacher, LAI International, Inc.

Paul Dean II, The Dow Chemical Company


Manufacturing Leadership Awards Partners facilitated successful nominations and played significant roles in enabling award-winning projects. ML Awards Partners for 2017 are:

Autodesk, Inc.

Demand Management, Inc.

iBaset, Inc.

Exact Macola Division


Logility, Inc.

NextLabs, Inc.

Paper-Less LLC

Parsec Automation Corp.

Smartware Group, Inc.

Tata Consultancy Services

Tech Mahindra

Teradata Corp.

Now in its thirteenth year, the ML Awards program honors organizations and individuals that are shaping the future of global manufacturing. Nominations are entered into 13 categories and evaluated and scored by a panel of expert judges. Twelve of the ML Awards categories are for outstanding projects by a manufacturing company. One category recognizes the achievements of individual manufacturing leaders.

The ML Summit is a unique, interactive gathering of manufacturing leaders from around the world. The theme for the 2017 Summit is “Manufacturing 4.0 in Action.” Featured speakers include Alicia Boler Davis, Executive Vice President, Global Manufacturing, General Motors; Bart Talloen, Vice President, Product Supply Strategy & Deployment, Johnson & Johnson; Michele D’Alessandro, Vice President and CIO, Manufacturing IT, Merck & Co., Inc.; and Maciej Kranz, Vice President, Corporate Strategic Innovation Group, Cisco Systems.