The manufacturing industry is at a pivotal point in its history. Driven by competitive pressures to become more agile, innovative, and cost effective, and enabled by advanced digital and analytical technologies, manufacturing companies of all sizes are now pursuing a future vision for their businesses that will transform the rules of competition, how work will be performed, how companies will be organized, and how leadership must lead.
We term this future state: Manufacturing 4.0.
The vision for Manufacturing 4.0 is a state in which production and supply networks are increasingly data-driven, predictive, sustainable, secure, and rapidly reconfigurable to meet changing market demands and competition. Products can be smart, easily customized, autonomous, and provide a rich platform for new service revenue streams. Supply chains are responsive, risk-resilient, traceable, socially responsible, and constantly analyzed in real-time to support faster and more accurate decisions. Enterprises are cross-functional, collaborative, inclusive, and highly integrated, often supported by a digital thread that stretches from design, to deployment, to materials reclamation. And leaders and employees at all levels are digitally-savvy, customer-centric, continually innovative, highly engaged, and ready to adapt to new challenges and grasp new business opportunities.
Underpinning these fundamental changes is the growing importance of data as a critical asset in an M4.0 world – harnessing insights to drive better and more effective decisions. Access to new data-derived insights also provides the foundation for a new era of data entrepreneurship, allowing manufacturing companies and leaders to imagine, develop, and deliver new processes, services, and potentially disruptive business models for the future.
Such a comprehensive and enterprise-wide Manufacturing 4.0 transformation requires a three-dimensional approach in which companies need to identify and master the challenges and opportunities of advanced new technologies and data assets, organizational restructuring and cultural improvement, and new workforce and leadership skills and strategies.
The Manufacturing Leadership Council’s Critical Issues Agenda, therefore, is specifically designed to help manufacturers align their thinking and practices for a successful journey to Manufacturing 4.0.