August / September 2021 Journal Issue

M4.0 Data Mastery

Through thought leadership around a member-defined set of Critical Issues, we are shaping the future of manufacturing.

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Thought Leadership

COVID-19

Understanding Respiratory Protection and Face Coverings

September 15, 2021

This guide developed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) can help small businesses understand the difference between face coverings and respirators as part of deploying a respiratory protection program. This document explains the differences between surgical…

Plant Tour reviews

Nexteer’s Tracing System Drives Global Manufacturing Improvements

August 24, 2021

Nexteer Automotive is on a mission to make driving a car safer, more fuel-efficient, and future-focused through its production of steering and driveline safety-critical car and truck electronic and hydraulic power products. In addition to electric and hydraulic power steering…

ML Journal June 2021

Work Reimagined: 5 Ways to Build a Future Workforce

August 10, 2021

With the world slowly recovering from the pandemic, digital technologies can helBy Paul Feeko and Roselyn Feinsodp manufacturers prioritize employee health and safety in the ‘new’ workplace.

Reimagining Possibilities at Rethink 2021
Blogs

Rethink 2021: Reimagining the Art of the Possible

June 29, 2021

“We are in the midst of great change,” declared David R. Brousell, Co-Founder, Vice President, and Executive Director of the Manufacturing Leadership Council (MLC) in his opening speech at the MLC’s 2021 Virtual Rethink Summit today. “It requires us all to…

Schneider Lighthouse
Blogs

At Schneider, ‘Small Steps’ Led to a Lighthouse

June 29, 2021

Schneider Electric’s Lexington, KY, plant is one of only a handful of manufacturing facilities in the U.S. that enjoys the coveted status of being a World Economic Forum-designated “Lighthouse” factory. To achieve that distinction, the Lexington plant, built in 1957,…

Rethink 2021 Intelligent Platforms
Blogs

Rethink 2021: Accelerating M4.0 with Intelligent Platforms

June 29, 2021

Manufacturers are generating more data, faster, and from more aspects of their operations than ever before. The key to harnessing all that data to produce higher quality products more quickly and efficiently, and to speed up the decision-making process, is…

Blogs

Rethink 2021: Enabling Evolution of the Frontline with AR

June 29, 2021

“Augmented Reality is definitely cool, it’s relatively easy to use, and it can have a big impact on productivity and quality,” argued Jim Heppelmann, Chief Executive Officer of PTC in an exclusive Executive Dialogue session during the Manufacturing Leadership Council’s…

Blogs

Rethink 2021: A Better World for Tomorrow

June 29, 2021

“Manufacturers do not accept that anything is impossible.” In his opening speech for Rethink: The Manufacturing Leadership Summit, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons reflected on the world’s emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic and how digital technologies…

Blogs

Rethink 2021: Shell utilizes AI to power the future

June 29, 2021

  When it comes to making a digital transition and realizing ambitious business outcomes, Shell believes that technology might be the least important element. During his session at Rethink: The Manufacturing Leadership Council Summit, Peter Westerink, General Manager of Digitalization…

ML Journal

Going for Growth

June 1, 2021

The World Economic Forum’s Lighthouse Network is pointing the way to enterprise-wide transformation, business model change, and economic growth, believes the WEF’s Head of Advanced Manufacturing, Francisco Betti.

Editor's Letter

Tackling the Talent Shortage Problem

June 1, 2021

I’ve been working in the manufacturing industry for 23 years. All during this time, and likely before, manufacturers have had difficulty finding skilled workers and filling open jobs.

Council Forum

Learning from Disruption

June 1, 2021

The disruptive impact of the pandemic has highlighted the importance of more flexible, demand-driven approaches that can adapt to sudden change, believes Goodyear VP of Global Operations Bruce Beach.

Plant Tour reviews

IBM Plant Tour: Driving Innovation Through Relentless Reinvention

May 7, 2021

IBM’s digital journey is keenly focused on building a cognitive enterprise that embraces an agile culture of innovation, combined with a client focus that leverages exponential technologies to deliver greater value. IBM executives on the MLC’s recent virtual tour of…

ML Journal

Innovating for the Future

March 30, 2021

Accelerated innovation driven by digital transformation can solve some of the world’s greatest challenges, believes retiring MLC Board Member & Protolabs CEO, Vicki Holt.

Council Forum

The Culture is the Company

March 30, 2021

Fostering a culture of collaboration, partnership, and agility is key to leadership success, believes ALOM Technologies’ CEO Hannah Kain.

Plant Tour reviews

Manufacturing Cyber Security: MxD’s Protection Framework

February 25, 2021

As manufacturers accelerate the deployment of digital technologies to modernize and interconnect their facilities and supply chains, they also open up new risks for cyber-attacks, stressed Chandra Brown, CEO of MxD, during a recent virtual plant tour for Manufacturing Leadership…

Business Operations

Ventilation Strategies to Reduce the Risk of COVID-19 in Manufacturing

February 21, 2021

What ventilation practices can manufacturers put in place to create a safer workplace in the era of COVID-19? The National Occupational Research Agenda Manufacturing Sector Council’s COVID-19 workgroup has developed an online document that can assist manufacturers in this area.…

Editor's Letter

The Future, Coming More Into View

February 1, 2021

There is nothing like an existential crisis to spur change. And the manufacturing industry seems determined not to waste the opportunity.

ML Journal February 2021

GM Prepares For an All-Electric Future

February 1, 2021

Gerald Johnson, EVP of Global Manufacturing, believes that technology-powered production agility holds the key to a rapid realization of the company’s “Zero Crashes, Zero Emissions, Zero Congestion” vision.

Council Forum

Disruption Will Be Business as Usual

February 1, 2021

Supply chain resiliency and agility are manufacturing’s highest priorities in a world where disruption will become the new business normal, believes ResMed VP Brendan Mullins.

COVID-19

Reduce Risks and Safeguard Workers with New Technologies

January 28, 2021

The road to recovery and resilience begins with great ideas paired with great technology to create and implement a strong risk-reduction strategy that will continue to protect your organization and its people for years to come.

COVID-19

Fighting COVID-19 With Analytics

January 14, 2021

Data analytics are being employed at the heart of the battle against COVID-19. Tracing the outbreak and modeling data to predict outcomes is critical in this crisis. Businesses and governments around the world are starting to apply a wide range…

Plant Tour reviews

Teaching Analog Systems Digital Tricks

January 14, 2021

Manufacturing Leadership Council members recently took a virtual tour around MxD’s Innovation Center in Chicago to learn how to integrate digital manufacturing technologies using existing legacy equipment in ways that can help increase agility without breaking the bank or getting…

COVID-19

NAM Webinar Tackles Vaccine Questions

December 24, 2020

As COVID-19 vaccines such as those from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna begin to become available, manufacturers have a lot of questions about vaccination in relation to their workforces. To provide as many answers as possible at this point in the vaccination…

Critical Issue: Transformative Technologies

Three Steps Toward Manufacturing Resiliency

December 18, 2020

To stay in business and remain competitive, manufacturers must anticipate and respond to both foreseen and unforeseen changes. What’s the key to this responsiveness? Manufacturing resiliency. And the driver behind this resiliency is data-driven production execution supported by digital technologies.

Ideas & Insights

Putting Intelligence Back into AI

December 8, 2020

Today’s version of artificial intelligence is at risk of undercutting the power of knowledge.To free this important technology, here are 10 recommendations that will enable AI in manufacturing operations to prosper.

Council Forum

Predictive Opportunities Ahead

October 4, 2020

Targeted automation projects harnessing predictive analytics will help manufacturers become more efficient, agile, and flexible while maintaining great quality, believes Haemonetics SVP Josep Llorens.

Editor's Letter

Turning Up the Fire

September 30, 2020

This year, the omnipresence of the COVID-19 virus has affected nearly every dimension and aspect…

Plant Tour reviews

Protolabs hosts MLC’s first-ever virtual plant tour

September 2, 2020

Only July 22, the Manufacturing Leadership Council hosted its first-ever virtual plant tour in conjunction with Protolabs, a manufacturer of custom prototypes and on-demand production parts. More than 300 attendees joined the tour, which “visited” six of Protolabs’ U.S. facilities…

Critical Issue: Transformative Technologies

5 Ways the Cloud is Transforming Manufacturing

August 11, 2020

The manufacturing sector faces a slew of challenges due to the pandemic. A recent survey by the U.S. National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) found that nearly four out of five manufacturing companies expect a financial hit from COVID-19. More than half (53.1%)…

Council Forum

Opportunity from Disruption

August 6, 2020

While pandemic disruption may dominate current supply chain strategies, the impact of data will deliver the greatest opportunities in the longer term, believes Jim Hooven at Standex International.

ML Journal

Seeking Equilibrium After Turbulence

August 6, 2020

Cisco’s new SVP of Global Manufacturing & Logistics, Mike Coubrough, believes collaborative teamwork, digitization, and shared innovation can help manufacturing transform the future of supply network effectiveness.

Ideas & Insights

The COVID Effect: Managing Liability and Health with Technology

June 24, 2020

Whether your manufacturing activity ramped up for relief and recovery efforts, completely shut down, or remained open in limited capacity, the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the way many manufacturing organizations will function moving forward. Beyond physical cleaning,…

Critical Issue: COVID-19: What's Next for Manufacturing?

A Better, Stronger Industry Will Emerge

June 10, 2020

the 20th century, two of the most important disciplines that manufacturers embraced were lean manufacturing and safety…

Critical Issue: Next-Generation Leadership and the Changing Workforce

Help Wanted: Military-Grade Talent for Challenging Times

April 30, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has tested manufacturers’ resilience in unprecedented ways, straining supply networks, shuttering factories, and pushing some industry sectors to the brink. Now more than ever, the times call for an agile, adaptable, and responsive workforce. Manufacturers are continuing…

Blogs

RPA in Manufacturing: 4 Common Use Cases

April 21, 2020

In these particularly challenging times, business operations are being disrupted in unprecedented ways. Amid extreme and sudden changes in supply and demand, manufacturers are putting together action plans and recovery initiatives to manage the current pandemic crisis, and they’re looking…

Council Forum

Transforming Operational Value

April 10, 2020

Chip Hilarides is helping to lead a corporate-wide initiative at Koch Industries to accelerate the adoption of transformative cultures, strategies, methods and technologies across its global operations.

ML Journal

Vermeer’s Digital Journey

April 10, 2020

As the equipment maker takes advantage of digital instructions, the IoT, and 3D printing, a step-by-step approach, flexibility, and careful employee engagement underpin its Manufacturing 4.0 strategy.

COVID-19

Manufacturers Offer 4 Tips for Dealing With COVID-19

March 24, 2020

On a recent conference call held by the Manufacturing Leadership Council (MLC) and its parent, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), leaders from Premio Foods and Trane Technologies discussed tips and tactics for safeguarding workers and strengthening  operations throughout the…

Plant Tour reviews

Hunting for Treasure at Intertape Polymer Group Inc.

March 17, 2020

“Watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.” While that old saying might be a maxim for household budgeting, it also could describe Intertape Polymer Group Inc.’s (IPG) approach to developing an award-winning energy management program. Its…

Blogs

Manufacturing Operations Best Practices for Handling COVID-19

March 11, 2020

Yesterday the Manufacturing Leadership Council and the NAM hosted an informational call about how manufacturers can protect their workers and strengthen their operations during the coronavirus outbreak. You can listen to the recording here. The call features Trane Tech’s Director of…

Council Forum

Driving Culture Change in Disruptive Times

February 11, 2020

Manufacturing needs to invest more in workforce knowledge and skills to bridge the gap between the needs of the business and its ability to execute in a digital world, believes John Schultz at Allied Reliability.

Critical Issue: Factories of the Future

A Peek Into the Future

February 11, 2020

n January of 2012, the Manufacturing Leadership Council published its first study on the subject of future factories…

Critical Issue: Sustainability in Manufacturing

In the Vanguard of Sustainability

December 2, 2019

Manufacturers continue to lead the charge in protecting the environment. And the NAM’s partnership programs with the Department…

Critical Issue: Sustainability in Manufacturing

Digital Twins

December 2, 2019

The transition from atoms to bits in manufacturing reduces waste in time, energy, and materials

ML Journal

Volvo’s Sustainable Ambition

December 2, 2019

Marc Gombeer, Volvo’s VP of Manufacturing Americas, believes sustainability will become a critical factor for success in the global auto industry.

Critical Issue: Sustainability in Manufacturing

Leveraging M4.0 to Enhance Sustainability

December 2, 2019

A combination of advanced technologies and new design thinking approaches could help manufacturing companies create a more sustainable…

Plant Tour reviews

Clif Bar: A ‘Different Kind’ of Manufacturer

November 20, 2019

Manufacturing Leadership Council members toured Clif Bar’s three-year old energy bar plant in Twin Falls, Idaho, and learned about the company’s 5 Aspirations business model.

Critical Issue: Transformative Technologies

Starting on the Right Foot

October 4, 2019

The digital transformation of manufacturing isn’t easy. But the right selection of technologies coupled with smart implementation strategies can enable manufacturers to realize the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Critical Issue: Transformative Technologies

The Case of the Missing Insights

October 4, 2019

Manufacturers can build on Ideas from Sherlock Holmes to derive value from data using artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies.

Critical Issue: Transformative Technologies

Transforming People Tech is Critical for M4.0

October 4, 2019

Digital Human Capital Management platforms for managing and transforming your workforce are not always on the radar of manufacturing executives, but they’re critical to bringing your people along during your M4.0 journey.

Critical Issue: Transformative Technologies

How Oracle Chose a Five-Day Lead Time for Servers

August 13, 2019

Oracle Corp. is widely recognized as one of the largest software companies in the world. Founded in 1977, Oracle has developed and sold database management programs, applications, and other software products for decades, amassing more than 147,000 customers in 175…

Manufacturing Leadership Council

M4.0: Is the U.S. Keeping Up With Global Competition?

June 20, 2019

“It will be very difficult for the U.S. to grow competitively in the future without increasing the speed of M4.0 adoption,” warns MLC Board Chairman John Fleming at the 2019 ML Summit.

Critical Issue: Factories of the Future

2019 MLC Summit: Maximizing return on data for real transformation

June 12, 2019

Data is manufacturing’s new gold, but much like any raw material, it only has value once it’s mined, refined, and polished to make it shine. Manufacturers generally have no problem collecting massive amounts of data, but leveraging it to its…

Critical Issue: Transformative Technologies

Creating new engagement narratives for the connected customer

June 7, 2019

A vast array of technology advancements has quickly coalesced to create a smart and connected world. The advent of cutting edge digital technology including big data and analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning, analytics and the cheap availability of bandwidth,…

Critical Issue: Next-Generation Leadership and the Changing Workforce

Rethinking Leadership in a 4.0 World

June 6, 2019

Digital acumen, collaboration, behavior change, and corporate restructuring will be vital to M4.0 leadership, says MLC Hannover panel.

Critical Issue: Transformative Technologies

Are you ready to skydive into Industry 4.0?

June 6, 2019

… or does investing in the digital revolution seem like jumping out of a perfectly good plane without a parachute? “Industry 4.0” refers to the fourth industrial revolution: the age of digital technologies such as the internet of things, artificial…

Critical Issue: Factories of the Future

Rise of the connected and intelligent enterprise

June 3, 2019

Diverse and disparate products and devices get connected over the Internet of Things (IoT). This is giving way to personalized consumer experiences, workforce empowerment, optimized operations and novel business models. In the past, customers were forced to buy a product…

Plant Tour reviews

Seeing the Future State of Distribution at Future Electronics

May 14, 2019

Now attuned to the fast-and-getting-faster world of e-commerce, consumers have come to expect a much shorter time window between when they click “buy” and when that item will show up at their door. That’s true of the average person who’s…

Blogs

Can blockchain pave the way for ethical cobalt?

May 7, 2019

Benoit Nemery, a professor of toxicology at the Belgian university K.U. Leuven, has long been involved, together with researchers from the University of Lubumbashi, in investigating the “collateral damage” caused by mining activities in the copper-cobalt belt in the Democratic…

Blogs

Is this workbench the key to a smart factory?

April 23, 2019

Today, Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things are monumental forces in manufacturing, transforming the way companies gather data and do business. But five years ago, it was a different world. Back then, Keith Jackson, the CTO of UK-based…

Blogs

IBM, USC partner to fill the manufacturing skills gap

April 18, 2019

An education in manufacturing is not what it used to be. In years past, said Hossein Haj-Hariri, the Dean of the College of Engineering and Computing at the University of South Carolina, aspiring manufacturers learned the fundamentals of mechanics, materials,…

ML Journal

AI in Manufacturing

April 9, 2019

When I think about artificial intelligence, particularly concerns about its effect on jobs, I’m reminded what Franklin D. Roosevelt said at the height of the Great Depression in his

Manufacturing Leadership Council

Hannover Forum Says Data Holds the Key to the Future of M4.0 and Beyond

April 2, 2019

Hannover Fair MLC Report Day 3 – One of the most significant challenges facing industrial companies as they proceed on their digital journeys is to determine how best to manage increasingly large volumes of data arising from pervasive connectivity. Tackling…

Manufacturing Leadership Council

MLC Delegation Focuses on Latest M4.0 Technologies at Hannover Fair

April 1, 2019

Hannover Fair MLC Report, Day 2 –– Interoperability, IoT, collaborative robotics, AI in the factory, and digitally-driven enterprise strategies dominated the MLC Delegation’s stand visits during the first full exhibition day at this year’s Hannover Fair in Germany. First stop…

Manufacturing Leadership Council

MLC Delegation Attends Opening of Hannover Fair in Germany

March 31, 2019

Hannover Fair MLC Report, March 31, 2019 — The Hannover Fair, the world’s largest industrial exhibition, opened last night in Germany as political and industrial leaders, including a delegation of Manufacturing Leadership Council members, gathered in the Hannover Congress Centrum to…

Manufacturing Leadership Council

MLC’s First IoT Workshop Reveals Some M4.0 Truths and Lessons

March 11, 2019

Several months ago, a member of the Manufacturing Leadership Council from the automotive sector approached the MLC team with a proposition: What if they could host an IoT-themed workshop at their headquarters to discuss manufacturing digitization – and enlist the…

Critical Issue: Factories of the Future

Factories of the Future

February 11, 2019

Is data just a growing problem or a profound agent of change?

Editor's Letter

A Game of Risk

December 4, 2018

John Fleming, the chairman of the manufacturing leadership Council’s Board of Governors and former Executive Vice President of Global Manufacturing and Labor Affairs at the Ford Motor Co., makes an important point about Manufacturing 4.0.

Critical Issue: Cybersecurity in Manufacturing

Cybersecurity Manufacturing

December 4, 2018

Is data just a growing problem or a profound agent of change?

Survey

High Expectations Attend Transformative Technologies

October 15, 2018

The Manufacturing Leadership Council’s latest survey on Manufacturing 4.0-related technologies reveals that companies are expecting big things from IIoT, analytics, 3D printing and other new technologies. But few are approaching their adoption strategically.

Critical Issue: Transformative Technologies

Transformative Technologies

October 6, 2018

Is data just a growing problem or a profound agent of change?

Dialogue

IBM’s Cognitive Journey to M4.0

October 6, 2018

Ron Castro, IBM’s Chief Supply Chain Officer, believes the manufacturing industry is at an inflection point in its history where the opportunities for disruption are enormous.

Critical Issue: Next-Generation Leadership and the Changing Workforce

At Adient, Empowered Workers Drive Results

August 24, 2018

Manufacturing Leadership Council members gathered last week at car seat manufacturer Adient’s factory in West Point, GA, and learned about the company’s High Performance Teams program.

Blogs

Video on the Factory Floor: A New Poka Yoke Tool for Operators

July 11, 2018

On May 21, Jeff Moad wrote an article entitled, Should Manufacturers Video Plant Floor Performance? In it, Jeff described the technology coming out of my company, Drishti, which uses video-based systems to observe human activities for automatic validation and measurement.…

Critical Issue: Transformative Technologies

Taking the Next Step on Digital Transformation

July 5, 2018

For me, the most significant message that emerged from the recently-concluded 14th Annual Manufacturing Leadership Summit was this: More manufacturing leaders are moving beyond the early stages of Manufacturing 4.0 digital transformation—characterized by technology research and one-off proof-of-concept projects—and are…

Critical Issue: Factories of the Future

Manufacturing Leaders Accelerate the Transformation to M4.0

June 12, 2018

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA–Manufacturing leaders are becoming better prepared to accept the challenges involved in driving digital transformation, and their companies are taking a more serious and strategic approach to embracing Manufacturing 4.0. These were among the conclusions that were presented…