Hannover MLC Report Day 4 –– “Rethinking Manufacturing Leadership in a 4.0 World” was the title of a special panel session of MLC delegates in the Automation Forum during the group’s last day visiting the 2019 Hannover Fair.

Moderated by Manufacturing Leadership Council Vice President & Executive Director, David R. Brousell, the panel explored the need for digital acumen and cultural change among tomorrow’s manufacturing leaders.

“4.0 represents a paradigm shift, breaking down command and control structures to become much more collaborative. So organizational structures for the future will move from traditional pyramids to something much more circular,” said Dan Dwight, President & Chief Executive Officer of Cooley Group and a Member of the Manufacturing Leadership Council’s Board of Governors.

“4.0 leaders also need to be change agents and create a culture and a workforce that is learning continuously. And that’s the key word – continuously,” said Pietro D’Arpa, Corporate Manufacturing Director and Supply Chain Director of European Logistics and Strategic Planning at Procter & Gamble, and a Member of the Manufacturing Leadership Council’s Board of Governors

“And it needs to be change by example,” added Holly Baumgart, Vice President IT at Sargento Foods Inc. “If leaders start using data more consistently to make decisions, then people around them will soon see how it works and how it can change the culture.”

“It’s really about walking the walk,” stressed Andrew Bird, Director of Manufacturing IT at Merck. “Leaders need to instill a mindset all the way down the organization and hold people accountable if they don’t respond to the new digital ways of working.”

Pietro D’Arpa described one way that P&G is addressing the issue. “What’s important to have a culture of digital fluency, but many middle managers don’t have that today. So we have adopted a program of reverse mentoring where younger generation employees work with long-term employees to share new ideas about the possibilities of 4.0 tools to help drive a new 4.0 knowledge culture.”

“If you want to change culture, you have to change behaviors,” concluded John Fleming, former Executive Vice President, Global Manufacturing and Labor Affairs at Ford Motor Company and Chairman of the Manufacturing Leadership Council’s Board of Governors. “And if you want to change behaviors, you have to change structures in an organization.”

A more detailed report of the Hannover Panel session will feature in the June issue of the Manufacturing Leadership Journal.

The MLC Hannover delegation then visited the Hannover Fair’s new 5G Arena, including exhibits by:

  • 5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation (5G ACIA) – an introduction to the recently-formed consortium bringing together 5G network providers and industrial companies to explore and develop new 5G possibilities in industrial applications.
  • Siemens – examples of high-speed, high-bandwidth, 5G machine-to-machine connectivity and plant floor IoT.
  • Nokia – a mini 5G-connected production line housed in a transportable freight container.

Delegates also had an opportunity to tour the stands of:

  • Dassault Systèmes – a factory mapping buggy capturing spatial and technical data for plant floor simulation; industrial IoT and manufacturing analytics; and a digital white board collaborative meeting system.
  • Microsoft – live 4.0 insights from one of the World Economic Forum’s Manufacturing Lighthouse companies, Sandvik in Sweden; Microsoft’s BRAIN deep learning system for machine tuition developed by recently-acquired Bonzai; and a food processing quality, sustainability, and tracking system, including a blockchain-based supply chain for rapid traceability.
  • PTC – the Vuforia augmented reality asset management system, and a variety of industrial applications based on its ThingWorx IoT platform.

While delegates spent the rest of the afternoon exploring other stands across the Fair’s 28 exhibition halls, Manufacturing Leadership Council representatives also met with Germany’s national consortium for Industry 4.0 digital transformation in manufacturing, known as Plattform Industrie 4.0, to be briefed on its latest release of 4.0 interoperability interface specifications for industrial IoT.

The Delegation’s last day at the Fair concluded with a trip into the German countryside to a renowned local hillside restaurant for a dinner hosted by Oracle.

On the MLC Delegation’s final day in Germany, the group travels to nearby Wolfsburg for a special plant tour of Volkswagen’s showcase production facility.

Executive Director David R. Brousell contributed to this article. Photography by Alyssa Dixon.