In late 2021, the Manufacturing Leadership Council launched the Manufacturing in 2030 Project, a comprehensive examination of the factors that will influence the industry leading up to the year 2030 and beyond. The latest milestone in this sweeping project is the release of The Next Phase of Digital Evolution.
This groundbreaking white paper examines the global megatrends like population, the economy, sustainability demands, and technology development – all of which will impact business decisions and are essential for manufacturing competitiveness.
Data’s Growing Role: Data is perhaps manufacturing’s most important asset, tracking everything from individual machine performance to the status of global supply chains. Developments in digital systems for factories, high-powered industrial networks and advanced communication technologies are giving rise to the ability to collect data.
Combined with a rise in analytics capabilities, manufacturers are now able to apply that data in powerful ways to improve processes, speed innovation, find new business opportunities and ultimately create conditions for greater competitiveness.
A Rising Middle Class: Population trends will influence where manufacturers build new factories, who they hire, the products that they make, organization for supply chains and who they are selling to.
Africa and Asia are projected to have the strongest population growth, and while traditional middle-class markets in the U.S., Europe and Japan are expected to grow at only modest rates, 88% of the next billion entrants into the middle class will be from Africa.
What’s to Come: Manufacturers will also need to consider their role in creating sustainable business practices and how they will overcome persistent workforce challenges. Institutional investors are pressuring businesses to significantly improve environmental practices, while the already yawning gap in skilled workers is expected to skyrocket to 2.1 million unfilled openings by 2030.
Technology could have a role in solving both of those issues. On the sustainability front, data can be key to monitoring emissions, utility consumption and waste, while also giving rise to new processes that improve on those metrics. For the workforce, data can empower workers to make more informed decisions, automation can eliminate repetitive tasks, and technologies like augmented and virtual reality can enhance training and upskilling.
To learn more about these and other insights, download the full white paper here.
A word of caution about the Manufacturing Leadership Council’s plant tours: Attending one could make you rethink your manufacturing operations.
Inspiration abounds: The MLC, the digital transformation arm of the NAM, recently hosted a plant tour of Lincoln Electric’s headquarters in Cleveland. Inspired by the innovation on display, one attendee vowed “to go back to my own company and start asking what’s stopping us from implementing similar technologies and practices.”
- The two-day Lincoln Electric event included visits to the company’s welding and training center, its machine division, its 3D printing facility and its automation-solutions center.
- Tour participants also learned how the business is overcoming workforce shortages through culture and technology solutions.
What is Lincoln Electric? Lincoln Electric was founded in 1895 as an electric-motors manufacturer. Today it is a global industry leader in welding equipment and consumables, additive manufacturing and automation solutions. The company has locations in 19 countries and serves customers in more than 160.
Welding school: The first stop on the tour was Lincoln Electric’s world-class welding school, first opened in 1917 and relaunched in 2018 as the 130,000-square-foot Welding Technology & Training Center.
- Students at this state-of-the-art facility begin their training at virtual welding stations before moving to one of 150 training booths to use the real “arc.”
- Lincoln Electric also offers virtual classes, a turnkey curriculum for customers and “train the trainer” courses for welding instructors.
3D printing: Tour participants also got a look at the company’s Additive Solutions Center, the largest platform of its kind, which boasts 18 3D printing cells. It serves customers in the automotive, aerospace, marine and energy industries.
- The equipment prints replacement parts, molds, tooling and prototypes measuring up to eight feet long and weighing more than 8,000 pounds.
- It can print in a variety of metals, including mild steel, stainless steel, nickel alloys, bronze and Inconel.
Automation solutions: The Automation Solutions Center tour stop demonstrated Lincoln Electric’s twin answers to the manufacturing skills gap: innovation and tech solutions that increase productivity.
- The technology on offer includes automated arc welding products, collaborative robots, metal fabrication and assembly line solutions.
- Demand for Lincoln Electric’s collaborative robots is up as manufacturers cope with workforce shortages, tour participants learned.
High-performance culture: Tour attendees also learned about Lincoln Electric’s high-performance culture, which rewards success and provides employees with opportunities for growth and development.
- The company’s Incentive Management System for the production workforce includes output-based pay to maximize personal earnings potential, an annual profit-sharing bonus, a no-layoffs policy and an open-door policy.
- “I found the networking time to be highly valuable and came away with several ideas on employee retention,” said a tour participant.
Future focus: Looking ahead, Lincoln Electric leadership said the company’s core focus must and will be on its people—to continue to build a pipeline of talent and attract and develop the next generation of leaders.
Heading to the beach? Take along the Manufacturing Leadership Council’s summer reading list to catch up on today’s top trends in digital manufacturing while you catch some rays. With these articles, you’ll discover new ideas, technologies and best practices to give your company a competitive edge.
Workforce: Leading the Way to Workforce Optimization. As digitization changes employees’ expectations of their employers, manufacturers must adapt. Examples include options for remote work, interactive training, agile and rapid collaboration platforms, career development, work-life balance and more.
Industrial automation: Camozzi’s Autonomous Vision. Successful autonomous manufacturing will depend on the fundamental relationship between humans and machines, says Camozzi Group CEO Lodovico Camozzi, whose company makes industrial machinery. In a recent interview with the MLC, Camozzi shared his view of manufacturing’s autonomous future, including:
- How advanced additive manufacturing approaches promise new production paradigms;
- The importance of collaboration in driving innovation and excellence; and,
- Why the industry must maintain a human focus in today’s digital world.
Cybersecurity: Ransomware Attacks Increasingly Targeting Manufacturers. Think your business is safe from hackers? Think again. Ransomware attacks against manufacturers are on the rise. All businesses should be on guard against cyber extortion, advises Peter Vescuso, vice president of marketing for industrial cybersecurity provider Dragos and a member of the MLC.
Supply chain: How Manufacturers Can Navigate Supply Chain Challenges.
As global supply chain woes, worker shortages and wage inflation challenges intensify, manufacturers everywhere want to know the best way to navigate them. In this article, a panel of industry experts shares top tips to sustainably and profitably overcome current obstacles.
Artificial Intelligence: AI Roadmap: How Manufacturers Can Amplify Intelligence with Artificial Intelligence. Artificial intelligence offers manufacturers a host of benefits, including better visibility into supply chains, insights from predictive analytics and the ability to quickly respond to unexpected changes in demand. A six-step road map can help manufacturers looking to integrate AI into their businesses.
5G: 5G Will Help Unlock M4.0’s Potential. 5G technology offers speed and capacity advantages to manufacturing companies. According to the MLC’s recent Transformative Technologies survey, 26% of manufacturers have already invested in 5G technology. More than half expect to invest or are considering investing in the technology over the next two years to take advantage of 5G’s benefits.
Sustainability: Overcoming Roadblocks to Advance Sustainability Programs.
The manufacturing industry is expected to improve its sustainability and keep leading the fight against climate change. However, making green changes to processes and procedures can be costly. To get the most bang out of their sustainability investments, manufacturers should focus on data-driven initiatives and indicators.
Looking for more digital manufacturing insights? Browse the Manufacturing Leadership Journal for additional information on technology, organizational structure and leadership in manufacturing’s digital era.
Manufacturers flocked to Florida this summer to discuss the cultures, skills and technologies necessary for digital transformation at the 2022 Rethink Summit, the signature event of the NAM’s Manufacturing Leadership Council. The MLC is the world’s first member-driven, global business leadership network dedicated to senior executives in the manufacturing industry.
The big event: The first in-person Rethink since 2019, this year’s summit drew the largest crowd since the annual event began 18 years ago.
- The conference in Marco Island, Florida, hosted some of the most innovative leaders and teams in the industry, from companies such as Pfizer, Intel, Dow, Saint-Gobain and many more.
- Participants learned about real-world advances and shared best practices in supply chain resilience, effective business cultures, machine learning, business ecosystems and more—as explained by industry experts who put these innovations into practice themselves.
The panels: Here is a quick sample from the array of manufacturing expertise on offer.
- A Pfizer case study: Pfizer Vice President of Digital Manufacturing Mike Tomasco explained how Pfizer Global Supply transformed itself from a digitally siloed operation to a world-class digital powerhouse.
- Bridging the digital divide: A panel of leaders—including Graphicast President Val Zanchuk, BTE Technologies President and NAM SMM Board Chair Chuck Wetherington and Intel Senior Director of Industrial Innovation Irene Petrick—discussed how small and medium-sized manufacturers can keep up with the digital transformation occurring throughout the industry.
- Reaching the next generation: A panel of young manufacturing leaders from Dow, Cooley Group and Saint-Gobain North America discussed what young people are looking for in manufacturing jobs, including interdisciplinary teams and lots of communications up and down the organization levels.
A week of manufacturing: The Rethink Summit was only one highlight of a week of manufacturing events put on by the MLC. The roster of events also included the MLC’s Council Day and the ML Awards Gala.
- Council Day offers MLC members the opportunity to chart the agenda for the MLC’s next year, thus influencing how the whole industry thinks about and plans for digital innovation.
- The Awards Gala spotlights companies and individuals doing incredible work to advance M4.0. The black-tie event honored leaders and companies in 11 project categories, plus the Manufacturers of the Year and Manufacturing Leader of the Year.
- This year, the MLC named Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla the Manufacturing Leader of the Year, for Pfizer’s extraordinary and ongoing contributions in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
The last word: “[T]he fundamental shift in our economy to doing business digitally in all industries, including manufacturing, not only continues but is gaining greater speed and urgency,” said MLC Co-Founder David R. Brousell during an address at Rethink.
Join us next year: Keep up to date with the MLC by visiting the website and stay tuned for Rethink 2023!
The Manufacturing Leadership Council—a division of the NAM that helps manufacturers leverage digital transformation—named Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla the 2022 Manufacturing Leader of the Year at the 18th annual Manufacturing Leadership Awards Gala.
The details: The ML Awards are the U.S. manufacturing industry’s biggest stage for recognizing excellence in digital manufacturing. Since the program’s founding in 2005, more than 1,000 high-performing projects and individual leaders have been honored with an award. Winners represent companies of varying sizes in a wide array of industries.
The big award: The Manufacturing Leader of the Year award was presented to Bourla for Pfizer’s extraordinary and ongoing contributions in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
- “Manufacturing in America today is stronger thanks to the leadership of Dr. Bourla and his team at Pfizer, including our Executive Committee member Mike McDermott,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “Albert and Mike’s passion and dedication to defeating COVID-19 set an example for thousands of companies as our industry navigated and responded to the evolving pandemic, and their leadership and innovation will make us better prepared to respond to the next crisis.”
Other honorees: Awards were given to companies that excelled in various categories of manufacturing, including Protolabs for collaborative ecosystems, AB InBev for digital network connectivity and operational excellence, Dow for digital supply chains, General Motors for engineering and production technology, Flex and Johnson & Johnson for enterprise integration technology, AUO Corporation for sustainability and ALOM Technologies for transformative cultures.
Manufacturers of the Year: Protolabs was named the Small/Medium Enterprise Manufacturer of the Year, and AB InBev was named the Large Enterprise Manufacturer of the Year.
The last word: “Manufacturers continue to be the driving force for global economic recovery and pandemic response as they establish innovative ways to problem-solve in an increasingly complex environment,” said MLC Co-Founder, Vice President and Executive Director David R. Brousell. “Those recognized tonight have helped establish a roadmap for the future of the sector and highlight the importance of Manufacturing 4.0.”
Think your business is safe from hackers? You could be wrong, according to the Manufacturing Leadership Council—the division of the NAM focused on digital transformation in manufacturing.
With the incidence of ransomware attacks against manufacturers on the rise, all businesses should be on guard against cyber extortion, advises Peter Vescuso, vice president of marketing at industrial cybersecurity provider Dragos and a member of the Manufacturing Leadership Council.
How it works: Ransomware schemes often target manufacturers by disabling their operations technology and blackmailing victims into paying to restore the functionality of their systems. Manufacturers that cannot afford to have production halted by hacks often have no choice but to pay the hackers’ ransom.
What we’re seeing: Industrial ransomware attacks increased significantly in 2021, with criminal groups specifically identifying manufacturers as vulnerable and profitable targets.
- Last year, manufacturing accounted for 65% of industrial ransomware incidents, according to Dragos.
- The top three manufacturing subsectors targeted by ransomware attacks were metal components (17%), automotive (8%) and plastics/technology (6%).
- Manufacturers as a group were targeted six times as often as the second leading industrial sector, food and beverage.
Why it matters: Many manufacturers remain unprepared for ransomware attacks.
- About 90% of manufacturers have limited visibility into their OT systems, according to Dragos.
- 90% of manufacturers are also ill prepared with poor network perimeters, 80% have external connectivity exposure in their OT systems and 60% use shared credentials that make it easier for ransomware groups to infiltrate systems.
Who’s behind it: In 2021, ransomware groups Conti and Lockbit 2.0 caused 51% of all ransomware attacks, and 70% of their attacks targeted manufacturers.
- These groups successfully developed malicious business models and used underground marketplaces to outsource operations to partners who then carried out the attacks.
- Ransomware groups also fund research and development to stay ahead of the curve on security and infiltrate systems.
What’s next: “Ransomware trends are likely to continue shifting as groups reform and reprioritize and as law enforcement pursues them and takes them offline,” says Vescuso.
- “As this evolution continues to evolve, Dragos analysts believe with a high degree of certainty that ransomware will continue to disrupt all industrial operations and OT environments through 2022, in manufacturing and beyond.”
Protect yourself: To protect against ransomware attacks, manufacturers must take the necessary steps to modernize and secure their IT and OT systems. Check out NAM Cyber Cover for information and risk management solutions.
How is digitization changing manufacturing? What can manufacturers do to stay competitive in a fast-shifting world? What does the future look like—and how can leaders prepare for success?
Those are the kinds of questions being asked and answered by the NAM’s Manufacturing Leadership Council—a member-driven global business leadership network focused on the intersection of manufacturing and technology. We spoke with David R. Brousell, MLC co-founder, vice president and executive director, who gave us more insight into what the MLC is, how it works and why it matters today more than ever.
An early start: The idea for the MLC was born nearly two decades ago, when manufacturers began turning to consumer technologies to strengthen their businesses.
- The convergence of these technologies with traditional operational technologies on factory floors sparked an idea. Brousell, who was running a publication called “Managing Automation,” recognized the trend—which he called “Progressive Manufacturing”—and founded an annual conference for manufacturers to discuss new approaches and best practices for the future.
- By 2008, that conference had given rise to a council designed to offer useful programming for manufacturers on the future of digitization. Ten years later, the council became a part of the NAM.
- “We realized that digitization was not a tactical or small change—it was a fundamental change in the industry,” said Brousell. “It was clear that manufacturers needed an informational resource or organization to bring them together to deal with what we now call Manufacturing 4.0 in a systematic way.”
A systematic approach: Today, the MLC represents what Brousell calls “the digital transformation arm of the NAM,” helping manufacturers meet future needs and address ongoing trends—through changes in technology, organization and leadership.
- “The transition to the digital model of manufacturing is only one part technical,” said Brousell. “The harder part is changing the organizational structure to be more collaborative and decentralized and making the leadership approach digital-first. We’re probably the only organization that has looked at it this way, in a systematic way, beyond technology alone.”
A critical focus: Every year, the MLC lays out a member-approved set of critical issues involved in the transition to Manufacturing 4.0 and offers resources and programming from thought leadership to plant tours to the Rethink Summit.
- This year’s critical issues include topics like factories of the future; transformative technologies, including AI and machine learning; augmented reality and virtual reality; Manufacturing 4.0 cultures; and cybersecurity.
A broad view: Digitization isn’t just an issue for individual manufacturers. Because manufacturing is so vital to economic and societal growth, it’s also important to the future of the United States and the world.
- “Manufacturing is one of the fundamental drivers of social and economic prosperity,” said Brousell. “Its growth will lead to a better life for people. No other industry can say that. And I believe that the countries whose companies are most successful in making the transition to the digital model are going to be the powers of this century. There’s a lot riding on this.”
Sign up: Come learn from leading manufacturers at the Rethink Summit, June 27–29, in Marco Island, Florida. It’s the premier event for senior operational executives and their teams as they continue to navigate disruption.
Supply chain disruption could continue for more than another year, according to the newest Resilient M4.0 Supply Chain survey conducted by the NAM’s Manufacturing Leadership Council. The MLC is the digital transformation arm of the NAM.
What’s the holdup? A combination of factors is causing fundamental shifts in supply chain approaches across the industry. These include pandemic lockdowns, blocked shipping lanes, container scarcity, material and component shortages, extreme weather events, rising prices and military conflict.
What manufacturers are doing about it: Supply chain organizations are reassessing traditional supply chain strategies, reducing network complexity and integrating key functions.
- They are also redesigning processes and harnessing the power of digital tools to transform their supply chain ecosystems.
Universal disruption: Even supply chain structures with some local or regional networks have been affected by recent events, according to the MLC’s survey.
- Ninety percent of respondents reported suffering either significant (52.5%) or partial (39%) disruption in the past two years. Just 0.5% said they had seen no disruption.
Improving resilience: While many manufacturers have taken action to reduce supply vulnerabilities, 73% of companies said their current supply chains are not fully protected, and 12% said they believe their supply chains lack resilience.
Integrated supply chains: While today just 19% of companies said their supply chain structures are fully integrated, this proportion is set to more than double (to 47%) within the next two years.
- The number of companies that remain dependent on siloed operations is set to fall from 14% to 4% over the same period.
Digital opportunities: The race to fully digitize more supply chain operations is picking up speed.
- In nearly every supply chain function, companies said they are planning significant increases in digital adoption in the next two years to streamline their supply chain organizations.
Obstacles to progress: Many obstacles to future supply chain development involve issues with industry partners. Among the challenges cited by manufacturers in the survey were the following:
- Differences in digital maturity among partners (54%)
- A lack of common data platforms (53%)
- Problems transforming traditional supply chain processes (29%)
- Upgrading legacy equipment (26%)
- A lack of skilled employees (22%)
Review the data: Click here to review the data in detail and read manufacturer responses to survey questions.
On a recent tour of Intertape Polymer Group’s Tremonton, Utah, plant, manufacturers saw disruptive technology in action. From employing 3D printing to slashing parts-making time to programming floor equipment to identify and fix problems quickly, the Manufacturing 4.0 processes and technologies were on full display. The NAM’s Manufacturing Leadership Council hosted the tour and brought 70 MLC members to the paper- and film-based packaging maker.
Growth: IPG, a Montreal-based manufacturer whose products include the cling film StretchFlex, has seen its revenue double in the past six years, from $750 million to $1.5 billion.
- The company now has approximately 4,000 employees across 34 locations, including 22 manufacturing facilities in North America.
What they saw: In addition to 3D printing and problem-solving floor equipment, tour participants got to see how IPG:
- Manages parts more effectively with an automated storage system; and
- Uses “hackathons” and employs a data-driven, digital-first mindset to find solutions to challenges.
Digital journey: In a briefing before the tour, IPG Vice President of Business Transformation Jai Sundararaman described why and how IPG undertook its digital transformation journey.
- First, the manufacturer conducted an in-depth investigation. This included studying 20 different technologies, attending more than 10 industry conferences, hosting technology summits with vendors and engaging in more than 25 networking sessions with fellow members of the MLC.
Phased transformation: IPG’s phased approach to digital transformation focused on delivering business value. The company undertook the following schedule:
- Phase 1: Align strategy and execution and “homogenize” operating culture. Upskill and retain talent with digital and process knowledge.
- Phase 2: Drive revenue and margin growth by applying digital technologies at scale in other functions, such as customer engagement.
- Phase 3: Leverage digital technologies for business model innovation.
M4.0 discussion: At the end of the IPG plant event, participants joined a panel discussion on data standards and analysis. Panelists discussed how to measure the return manufacturers get from implementing M4.0 technologies and how to get buy-in from employees and leadership.
Upcoming plant tour: Join the MLC’s next plant tour right from your desk on July 27. Participants will take a virtual look inside Accuray’s Global Manufacturing Center in Madison, Wisconsin. This virtual plant tour will highlight the challenges of a low-volume, high-complexity manufacturing and supply chain model. Register today to reserve your place.
With increased pressure from customers, regulators and even shareholders, sustainable business practices are no longer optional for manufacturers. From reduced energy and materials consumption to lower emissions and ethical sourcing, manufacturers are expected to meet ambitious new goals. Luckily, the Manufacturing Leadership Council has established a new member working group devoted to helping manufacturers reach these objectives.
Support set-up: With five virtual meetings each year, the M4.0 Sustainability and Net Zero Decision Compass Group will explore key issues, best practices and challenges related to creating sustainable, compliant and environmentally friendly operating strategies.
- At the first meeting, “Next Steps in Manufacturing 4.0 Sustainability,” on March 10, attendees heard from 3M Senior Vice President of Environmental Strategies and Fluorochemical Stewardship Dr. Rebecca Teeters and Lexmark International Chief Sustainability Officer John Gagel. Both speakers are also MLC board members.
Why the new group: The MLC decided to create the group after a survey of their more than 3,300 members revealed sustainability was a top member business concern.
- “We decided that given the intensity of interest in sustainability and related subjects, such as net-zero and the circular economy, this was an opportunity to dedicate a whole new group to the topic,” said MLC Co-Founder, Executive Director and Vice President David Brousell.
Good for business, too: While manufacturers have been discussing and working toward sustainability for decades, recent growing concerns about climate change and other environmental issues are making the matter increasingly urgent.
- Manufacturers that take on sustainable business practices are seeing competitive advantages ranging from cost savings to higher product quality to increased shareholder and employee satisfaction.
Lessons from manufacturing peers: The new Decision Compass group will share sustainability strategies, the real-world achievements of manufacturing companies, knowledge about the use and application of advanced technologies and timelines for implementation.
- Participants will also be able to see how they stack up against other manufacturing companies.
Get involved: The MLC offers resources to help manufacturers improve their operations and learn about digital manufacturing. To learn more about the sustainability group or find out about MLC membership, email [email protected].