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The NAM’s Manufacturing Leadership Council Announces New Chair and Vice Chair for the MLC’s Board of Governors

Washington, D.C. The Manufacturing Leadership Council, a division of the National Association of Manufacturers, announces the election of Michael D. Packer, former director of production strategy at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, as the new chair of the MLC’s Board of Governors. Previously serving as the MLC Board’s vice chair, Packer succeeds John Fleming, former executive vice president of global manufacturing and labor affairs at Ford Motor Company, who is stepping down from the MLC Board.

Daniel Dwight, president and CEO of Cooley Group, was also elected as the MLC Board’s new vice chair. Both roles are effective from Jan. 1, 2022.

The MLC’s Board of Governors acts as an advisory body providing guidance to the MLC on its “critical issues” agenda, research studies and programs and services for the MLC’s more than 3,000 members. The MLC Board now consists of 16 industry thought leaders who represent the full ecosystem of the manufacturing industry, including large global enterprises, small and medium-sized manufacturers, leading academic institutions and influential industry analysts.

“I am honored to serve as MLC chair and help drive the MLC’s critical mission to accelerate digital transformation across the manufacturing industry,” said Packer. “I look forward to working together with the MLC team and my fellow board members to expand the MLC’s growth in numbers, diversity and impact and help support both MLC and NAM members as they embrace new digital opportunities for the future.”

“As a longtime MLC member and supporter of the Board of Governors’ mission, I am thrilled to extend my MLC role to vice chair,” added Dwight. “Along with supporting the new chair, I am particularly motivated to build greater diversity in the MLC/NAM membership and to give new voices the opportunity to share their experiences in the industry.”

The MLC would like to congratulate them both on their new board positions and to thank former Chair John Fleming for all his insights, guidance and wisdom over the past three years.

-MLC- Founded in 2008 and now a division of the National Association of Manufacturers, the Manufacturing Leadership Council’s mission To help manufacturing companies transition to the digital model of manufacturing by focusing on the technological, organizational, and leadership dimensions of change. With more than 2,500 senior-level members from many of the world’s leading manufacturing companies, the MLC focuses on the intersection of advanced digital technologies and the business, identifying growth and improvement opportunities in the operation, organization, and leadership of manufacturing enterprises as they pursue their journeys to Manufacturing 4.0.

-MLC Board of Governors- The Manufacturing Leadership Board of Governors comprises senior executives and industry experts at leading manufacturing, academic and research organizations around the world, including Lockheed Martin, Procter & Gamble, Dow Chemical, IBM, 3M, Europe’s SmartFactory EU Technology Initiative, Lexmark International, Premio Foods, VirTex Enterprises, Graphicast, the Cooley Group, UCLA, the University of Cincinnati, the U.S. Manufacturing Technology Deployment Group, consultants Frost & Sullivan and the MLC.  

For more information and MLC membership details, please visit

-NAM- The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.5 million men and women, contributes $2.52 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 58% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit



Henkel Wins Mexico’s First Lighthouse Factory Status

Middle market executives are increasingly shifting from a linear to a circular economy mindset because it offers a systemic approach to economic development that benefits business, overall society, and the environment. Advanced 4.0 technologies can help them get there.   

Company Fact File

Name: Henkel
Sector: Chemicals & Consumer Goods
HQ location: Düsseldorf, Germany
Revenues: $21.8 billion (2020)
Employees: 53,000 Employees Worldwide
Web url:

Henkel’s Laundry & Home Care division recently hit a M4.0 trifecta when an independent expert panel awarded its production facility in Toluca, Mexico, with an Advanced 4th Industrial Revolution Lighthouse designation from the World Economic Forum and McKinsey & Company. The company’s facilities in Düsseldorf, Germany, and Montornès del Vallès, Spain, had already achieved Lighthouse status in recognition of their leadership in using Manufacturing 4.0 technologies to transform their factories, value chains, and business models.

Henkel’s Toluca facility, the first in Mexico to achieve WEF Lighthouse status, is the company’s latest demonstration of how digitization can drive efficiency and sustainability in manufacturing, key goals for Henkel worldwide.

“Henkel wants to become a climate-positive company by 2040 and our Laundry & Home Care sites worldwide are making a significant contribution to this ambitious goal,” says Dr. Dirk Holbach, Chief Supply Chain Officer at Henkel Laundry & Home Care. “This third recognition by the World Economic Forum shows that we are pioneers in implementing advanced digital technologies in factories worldwide. It is a fantastic example of best practice in great teamwork and excellent collaboration.”



Being a member of the Global Lighthouse Network is not just an honor for Henkel and the Laundry & Home Care team, it also helps to set the stage for more innovation, he says. “The network is a platform to develop and scale up innovations. Additionally, it creates opportunities for cross-company learning and collaboration in order to set new benchmarks for the global manufacturing community.”

Business Context:

Since Fritz Henkel started the company in 1876 making a laundry detergent based on sodium silicate, Henkel has grown into a global leader in its three business units: Adhesive Technologies, Laundry & Home Care; and Beauty Care. In 2020, Henkel reported sales of more than $21 billion (€19 billion) and operating profits of $2.95 billion (€2.6 billion). The hallmarks of Henkel’s corporate culture, exemplified across its 53,000 global workforce of passionate and highly diverse teams by a unified common purpose and shared values — including being a recognized leader in sustainability.

The Henkel Laundry & Home Care business unit’s product portfolio includes well-known laundry brands such as Snuggle, All and Purex, as well as other laundry detergents, laundry additives, hard surface cleaners, toilet and air care products, and insect control products.

A Standard Platform

 Henkel Laundry and Home Care Supply Chain has always taken great care to standardize its processes, e.g., in equipment OEMs, machine types, operating procedures and practices, and any standards (safety, quality, hygiene, etc.). “Before we started our digital transformation, we had already established a standardized installed base with defined automation interfaces and manufacturing setup,” says Johannes Holtbruegge, Senior Manager of International Digital Transformation at Henkel Laundry and Home Care.

“Keeping in mind that we operate globally with more than 30 factories that all follow the same standards, this setup would be significantly beneficial. We could start our transformation on a bigger global scale, let different factories pilot in different areas of the factory, validate our projects and savings, and then scale the solutions in a fast way to other locations as well,” he says. “That helped us to engage with a lot of people and to gain momentum and speed in the beginning of our transformation activities.”

Initially the program was connected to a significant investment in infrastructure, he adds. “We had to prepare connectivity with every individual point in the factory, we had to install centralized and decentralized computational power to serve the need of operators for real-time visualization.”

Shared Initiatives:

 Henkel transformed the Toluca facility, a 1970s site characterized by low-mix, high-volume production, into a WEF Lighthouse award-winning factory by building on the previous success of its Dusseldorf facility, named a Lighthouse facility in 2020, then solidified with its factory in Spain which achieved Lighthouse status in March 2021.

Because technology is constantly changing, Henkel had to pilot different setups and evaluate a lot of options, says Holtbruegge. “We are continuously observing the market for new technology to ensure that the decisions we have taken are still state of the art and we are always looking for opportunities to upgrade.”

Because Henkel’s company culture is highly innovative, people are ready to try new things and learn, he adds. “From a conceptual perspective, we didn’t have to convince a lot of colleagues regarding digital transformation; the culture was there. We consider a digital transformation project like any other investment project in growth or rationalization; it has to come with an attractive return on investment.

“Finding the most promising projects out of a portfolio of unknown projects could be considered the biggest challenge,” says Holtbruegge. “We had to start learning about new technologies on a small scale, with small investments and lot of support in order to decide whether a project could become attractive and whether we could calculate a business case. We had to stop some projects in an early stage as we found that the time was not right or the target benefits may be lower than expected. However, once we decided to trust a technology and to roll it out, these projects have always brought us the expected return.

“Part of this success is that we involve our people (our internal stakeholders) fully into these projects. Line operators are part of the scoping of projects. Lab technicians together with supervisors help us to find the next story in quality. This takes effort in the beginning of the project, as well as upskilling people. Still, it makes operators proud of what they can achieve together (the perspective of having a pilot to which they have contributed to rolled out globally). It also accelerates the actual implementation phase of the project later on.”

A Digital Ecosystem

The company has successfully integrated a variety of M4.0 innovative technologies in four main ways:

  1. The Digital Backbone. Among the M4.0 technological innovations the company implemented, beginning with the Dusseldorf facility, was the development of a unique cloud-based platform Henkel calls the Digital Backbone. This platform connects more than 30 production sites and six distribution centers around the world in real time, with the goal of improving customer service, operational efficiency, and sustainability as well as achieving double-digit cost and inventory reductions.
    “This digital ecosystem allows us to keep track of the constantly growing expectations of customers while continuing to develop more sustainable production processes. Our digital transformation journey started back in 2013 and since then we have been consistently leveraging digital in all our productions sites worldwide,” says Holbach. By connecting this Digital Backbone with IT-systems, the business unit is driving line efficiency through predictive maintenance and advanced technologies.
  2. Big Data Analytics and AI Algorithms. To further strengthen its digital ecosystem, Henkel Laundry & Home Care implemented AI algorithms previously developed for its Spanish Lighthouse plant. The goal is to prescribe actions to assure breakdown-free line operations using historic data.
    In the Toluca plant, Henkel is using AI algorithms and big data analytics to take a proactive, agile manufacturing approach to minimize the risks for out-of-stocks by using integrated data from cloud-computing platforms to identify volatility in consumer demand. Henkel can combine machine learning on historical data with AI algorithms to develop actions that will eliminate breakdowns in line operations, making it possible to create a tighter alignment between planning, production, and customer operations.
    Another innovation the company had successfully implemented in the Spanish plant was replacing forklifts with automated guided vehicles (AGVs) to enable a complete touchless and safe product flow in the facility. The fully automated vehicles improve occupational safety while simultaneously maintaining optimum stock levels for raw materials and products at the Spain factory. It also established a technology based on the digital platform that allows for smart product serialization, facilitating full track-and-trace capability from cradle to consumers.
  3. Digital Twin. To help the company achieve its goal to reduce its carbon footprint by 65% by 2025, Henkel is building on scalable digital ecosystems by digitizing energy-intensive processes, such as the spray drying of powder detergents. Henkel employs a Digital Twin, or cloud-based 3D replica of the facility, to simulate operations and prescribe optimal process parameters, as well as sustainability and safety actions, to operators. By using a Digital Twin, the company reduced the total waste in its Montornès del Vallès plant by 35%, and improved energy and water consumption in the double-digit range.The Toluca plant, which is one of the company’s five largest Laundry & Home Care production facilities worldwide, also entails using these spray-drying processes. By incorporating the improved, more energy-efficient processes into the Digital Twin, the company is further improving the sustainability performance of the Toluca factory, as well as its other spray-tower sites.
  4.  The Connected Worker program. Henkel uses its M4.0 digital ecosystem to support its front-line workers in their day-to-day operations as well. By providing real-time data access and standardized workflows through its Connected Worker program, the company can identify, monitor, and benchmark the practices that are most effective and most sustainable. As part of the program, the company implemented a mobile app-based platform to simplify and digitize shop floor processes. The app digitizes worker interactions and process documentation with dashboards, schedules, and action prescriptions, enabling operators and the shop floor to stay constantly connected and make decisions quickly. One result was the elimination of 70% of the paper used in the Montornès del Vallès facility since 2018.The connectivity on the shop floor, combined with the overall digital ecosystem, also enables the company to monitor operations remotely, as well as foster digital collaboration among teams.

Transformational Impact

Henkel’s Dusseldorf plant, in addition to being recognized as a leader in M4.0 innovation in 2020, has also recently been recognized as one of the WEF’s first Sustainability Lighthouses, the only one in FMCG and the only one located in Europe. Its use of Digital Twins to connect and benchmark 30 factories and drive real-time sustainability actions in the Dusseldorf plant has brought about a 38% reduction (kWh/ton) in energy consumption, a 28% (m3/ton) reduction in water consumption, and a 20% (kg/ton) reduction in waste generation, as compared to a factory baseline set in 2010.

As for the Toluca plant, the Digital Backbone has already resulted in a 6% reduction in inventory, while the digital dashboards to monitor OEE performance has brought about a 14% improvement. With AI-powered optical inspection, the plant lowered customer complaints by 55%, and the Digital Twin increased energy efficiency by 19%. OEE performance also was enhanced 3% through the use of digital tools to empower its connected workforce.

Fiesta Essilor

Lessons Learned

 “We learned that nothing is impossible if you have identified a need and have a team of people willing to fight for it, try, learn, pivot and adapt,” says Holtbruegge. “Digital transformation cannot be a headquarters program. We have digital engineers in all our factories whose task it is to develop digital roadmaps for their factories, suggest improvements from the bottom up within our predefined technology framework, (and then lead the implementation locally. Empowerment is key to solving the challenges of day-to-day operations which, even though the factories are as standardized as possible, can be different from factory to factory.”

The company also learned to accept that not every project that it starts can be successful. “We improved our approach to be able to identify projects that have a low likelihood of becoming successful as fast as possible to be able to dedicate time to projects with a bigger impact,” he says.

“The possibility to globally scale solutions is extremely powerful and is key to success. Instead of building island solutions, we are proud of having a globally harmonized IT infrastructure with a global SAP instance that helps us also to benchmark internally and strive for big contributions to our business success.”

“During this process we confirmed the strength of this virtual network of factories and found more and more use cases that would be fitting to this approach.”

 Next Steps

 The company is integrating its solutions and systems with each other more and more, says Holtbruegge. “The clear target is the digital twin of our production process. An intelligent model that can predict status changes of our supply chain (from planning and manufacturing down to the entire logistics process) based on which scenario analysis becomes easily possible – to everybody in our organization. We are working on data democratization, giving people access to data and allowing them to build their own content which they require to make the best decisions for our company.”

He adds that the company’s transformational initiative made it more resilient, brought Henkel closer to its customers and consumers, allows it to observe the impact of decisions on KPI in real-time, and gives everybody in the supply chain a toolkit which they can utilize to make smart decisions faster and more efficient.

 A Global Virtual Network

“We started our transformational journey back in 2013 and we were not sure at that time what the result would be,” says Holtbruegge. “Our transformation started with the need to further support our sustainability ambitions going forward. Hence, we decided to implement a global data platform (instead of a decentralized approach) and to connect all our factories to our digital backbone, which is still the key infrastructural element of our transformation.

“During this process we confirmed the strength of this virtual network of factories and found more and more use cases that would be fitting to this approach. We started to build a digital transformation strategy around sensorics, analytics, visualization, and robotics which contains our key focus areas, and which still guides us today in our day-to-day work, the further development of our digital capabilities. We are learning every day as we continue this approach. We identified bottlenecks and we learned to react on them fast. We introduced digital upskilling opportunities for our employee base, focused on concrete projects we developed,” he says.

“We are happy and proud of what we have already achieved,” notes Holtbruegge, “but we will continue to work on our system every day to make it more impactful, smarter, and capable to onboard more functionalities over time.”  M

About the author:
Sue Pelletier
, a contributing editor with the Manufacturing Leadership Journal, is a seasoned writer/editor with experience in online, social media, e-newsletter, tablet app, book and e-book, and print publications..

Business Operations

“What’s Ahead for 2022?” Predicts Growth, Continued Challenges

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Remote work, digital twins, an increased focus on sustainability and continued talent shortages: these are just some of the trends affecting manufacturers that we’re likely to see in 2022 and beyond, according to a group of expert panelists on the recent Manufacturing Leadership Council’s “What’s Ahead in 2022?” Critical Issues Panel. The NAM’s MLC is a global business leadership network dedicated helping to senior executives leverage digital transformation in the manufacturing industry.

We rounded up some of the top predictions as they pertain to manufacturers.


  • Manufacturing production will continue to be strong, said panelist and NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray. Toward the end of 2021, it was 2% above February 2020, “a sign that we’re continuing to move in the right direction despite … continuing supply chain challenges.”
  • S. labor-force participation is not likely to return “where it was pre-pandemic,” Moutray said. “A fair share of that is coming from retirement … [and] some people who are continuing to worry about child care and schooling.”
  • The economy will grow about 4% in 2022, Moutray predicted.


  • Washington will make moves to ease supply chain problems. “Congress knows they must do something to unleash the bottlenecks,” said panelist and NAM Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Relations Aric Newhouse. Legislation could involve workforce-participation incentivization in the form of training programs, as well as giving additional resources to ports.
  • The vaccination and testing Emergency Temporary Standard will be “an area for continued movement” in 2022, Newhouse said.


  • Technology will find ways to cope with what are likely to be ongoing workforce shortages, IDC Energy and Manufacturing Insights Group Vice President Kevin Prouty said. These will include automation and technologies to enable virtual and remote work.
  • More manufacturers will begin using vision analytics, Prouty said, owing to the increased affordability of cameras and the ease with which footage can be analyzed, shared and moved in the cloud.
  • Use of artificial intelligence will start to become the norm among manufacturers rather than the exception, panelist and MLC Content Director Penelope Brown said. “We’re seeing manufacturers move away from that research phase and much more toward a roadmap” for how they’re going to use AI in their plants.


  • There will be greater, more widespread movement toward sustainability. In a recent MLC survey of manufacturers, 87% said they believed manufacturing had a responsibility to society to be more sustainable, Brown said.

Dive in deeper with the MLC’s recently redesigned website, and ensure your team has access to the MLC’s full network and suite of intel, events and other resources.

Business Operations

When and How Will Manufacturing Achieve Net-Zero Emissions?

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When it comes to sustainability, the question is no longer whether manufacturing needs to work to create a greener industrial future—it’s when.

To help manufacturers advance their sustainability efforts and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, the NAM’s Manufacturing Leadership Council has dedicated the December/January issue of the Manufacturing Leadership Journal to Manufacturing 4.0 sustainability.

Key Highlights from the Latest ML Journal

  • Sustainability survey: Review the results of the MLC’s latest M4.0 sustainability survey to understand manufacturing-leader sentiment about climate change. Learn how the pandemic is changing the way leaders prioritize sustainability and net-zero strategies. Plus, find out how sustainability can affect future growth and competitiveness.
  • Practical examples: See what forward-thinking companies such as Procter & Gamble are doing to slash emissions and fight climate change. Also, discover M4.0 strategies and technologies to help you develop your own net-zero action plan.
  • Current conversation: Understand the successes, opportunities and challenges in the race to achieve net zero by 2050. Hear from thought leaders such as MLC Co-Founder David Brousell and Lisle Corporation President Mary Lisle Landhuis.
  • Potential obstacles: Learn the roadblocks to developing a sustainability program and how to overcome them. Know the challenges of adopting a circular-economy mindset and why it’s well worth having.

Why the ML Journal matters: Sustainability is just one of the exciting topics discussed in the ML Journal. Throughout the year, you’ll find case studies, interviews, technology showcases and deep insights on M4.0 from manufacturers working on the front lines. The Journal is a quick, easy way to stay current on the digital revolution—and sharpen your company’s competitive edge.

Click here to receive trial access to the entire December/January issue on M4.0 sustainability or to browse articles on a range of topics from past issues.

Business Operations

The “Megatrends” Are Coming: Global Predictions Manufacturers Should Know

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Several “megatrends” affecting manufacturers and the world at large will begin unfolding in coming years. University of Cambridge Judge Business School Dean Dr. Mauro F. Guillen made this prediction during a presentation at the recent Manufacturing Leadership Council’s “Manufacturing in 2030: The Shape of Things to Come” event.

Three trends: “Three kinds of trends … are coming together to produce a very different situation by the year 2030,” said Guillen, the author of “2030: How Today’s Biggest Trends Will Collide and Reshape the Future of Everything.” He categorized them as “population trends, trends about emerging markets and technological trends.”

Here, we break down some of the highlights from these three umbrella trends.

Durable-goods demands will start earlier—and extend later: Owing largely to immigration patterns, large durable-goods purchases will, on average, start to come earlier in life, Guillen said.

  • Thus, in coming years, durable-goods manufacturers can probably expect their customer demographic to broaden to include younger people.
  • At the same time, Guillen said, given that people are living longer and better, consumers will wield purchasing power for longer than they did in decades past. “There is a massive concentration of wealth in the upper age groups,” Guillen said. This will mean greater demand for certain goods, such as robotics capable of caretaking, later into people’s lives.

Purchasing-power centers will shift: Currently, the U.S. and Europe are the world’s largest consumer economies, but by 2030, those distinctions will belong to China and India, Guillen said. And by 2040, India will have eclipsed China in this regard, due to population growth.

  • While older people will hold onto their purchasing power, younger consumers will hold sway for larger buys as they spend their money on homes, cars and other major purchases.
  • Meanwhile, wealth accumulation will continue to grow everywhere in the world, he said, fueling the appetite for manufacturers’ goods.

Emerging markets will overtake developed ones: Manufacturers can soon expect to see emerging markets become larger than developed ones, Guillen said.

  • That trend will mean a shift in manufacturer focus away from the U.S. and Europe and toward Africa and India. Said Guillen, “Sooner or later consumer markets will gravitate toward where the population is.”

The last word: Guillen’s main point of advice for manufacturers? To “identify the wave that you want to surf and take that opportunity, go with that wave. It’s so much better than going against the prevailing winds. You’ll be aligning yourself with the global economy.”


Blockchain in the Semiconductor Industry: 5 Innovative Use Cases

Blockchain technology is set to empower the semiconductor industry to expand its business horizons.

According to Reportlinker research, the semiconductor silicon wafer market stood at $9.85 billion in 2019 and will reach $13.64 billion by 2025, with a CAGR of 6.18% between 2020 to 2025. Such growth rates accentuate the need for semiconductor companies to integrate business processes with the blockchain to enhance security, transparency, and encryption. While blockchain technology is still in the early stages of development, it is now poised to aid semiconductor manufacturers in decreasing costs & counterfeits and enhance visibility into the value chain.

Embracing Blockchain

With semiconductors evolving as the building block in multiple hi-tech products  – from smartphones, to electric vehicles, to household appliances – industry innovation and advancements directly impact a broad range of market segments. As the demand grows multifold, so will the complexities across manufacturing & supply networks.

Enter blockchain, which has the potential to help ease many semiconductor manufacturing pain points. Blockchain’s distributed functionality, bundled security measures, and inherent features such as smart contracts, assist manufacturers in tracing goods, regulatory compliance, managing records transparently, and automating supply chain processes & payments. It also enhances collaboration among suppliers, manufacturers, and customers. In addition, it helps protect IP and reduces counterfeiting, while integrating blockchain with IoT and AI/ML technologies, helps to improve their predictive maintenance capabilities, reduce batch-based updates, and increase transparency & harmony in the value chain.

Blockchain Use Cases 

#1 Blockchain for Supply Chain Visibility

Both COVID and recent semiconductor shortages have underscored the need for deep insights into both the immediate supply chain and the supplier’s supply chain down to the source. Blockchain does just that, bringing all the stakeholders under one unified platform and enhancing transparency. The threat of disruption can be eliminated when there is clear visibility through multiple levels, from manufacturers to distributors and repair shops. As a result, the global blockchain supply chain market is slated to grow from US$253 million in 2020 to US$3,272 million by 2026, at a CAGR of 53.2% during the forecast period, according to the Markets & Markets report.

Implementing blockchain solutions help semiconductor companies to record price, date, location, quality, certification, and other relevant information to manage their supply chains effectively. The availability of this information within blockchain increases traceability of the material supply chain, lowers losses from the counterfeit and gray market, improves visibility & compliance over outsourced contract manufacturing, and potentially enhances a semiconductor company’s brand equity in the market.

Moreover, combining blockchain technology with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag equipment enhances the visibility of wafer electronics along the supply chain. It helps verify the sources of raw material origins from the supplier, track & trace materials with unique data ID, and detect any counterfeits.

Data is written onto an RFID tag, which can be encrypted and published through blockchain technology. Merging the blockchain technology with RFID tag equipment lets the manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, transporters, and customers create a single source of trusted information mechanism in the supply chain.

#2 Blockchain for Enterprise Collaboration

Businesses have started leveraging blockchain’s intrinsic traits into their operations, such as security, integrity, and transparency. The versatile nature of blockchain permits companies to collaborate safely with business partners in a shielded environment. Blockchain solutions synchronize data between business partners, creating a shared and immutable record of data and transactions.

Acting effectively as a ‘middleware’ enables confidential and complex collaboration between enterprises without leaving any sensitive data on-chain. Blockchains build relationships and drive collaboration while letting enterprises stay in control of their sensitive information. The blockchain network safeguards the privacy of all of the parties involved and strengthens the security and credibility of the transaction.

Offering stakeholders access to the same information in real-time, blockchain develops a trusted environment among the partners by sharing verified information on a shared ledger. This creates newer opportunities for semiconductor enterprises as well as their suppliers and assists them in navigating new value for many years to come.

#3 Blockchain for Business Process Transformation

Blockchain technology contains a record of all transactions happening in a peer-to-peer network. With each occurrence of a new transaction, data transferred through blockchain gets encrypted, making the entire ledger highly secure. Always looking for new opportunities, many businesses have already started using blockchain as part of their business process transformation strategy. One of the biggest use cases in this journey has been blockchain-based tracking of raw materials & finished products, providing detailed tracking information to all stakeholders within the supply chain.

Another blockchain feature that businesses are fast exploring is the smart contract. Smart contracts get automatically executed when predetermined conditions and terms are met satisfactorily. According to Gartner, the business value of blockchain will exceed $3.1 trillion by 2030, and this augurs well for the early adopter semiconductor industry to integrate enterprise-wide secure blockchain networks into their existing technology platforms and scale their businesses rapidly.

#4 Blockchain for Data Monetization

There is no central data repository controlled by only one organization due to the distributed record system in the blockchain network. As no single central data store is open to external attacks, security is far stronger. Once data gets embedded onto the chain, it cannot be changed. Blockchain integrates best-of-breed cryptographic mechanisms which guarantee the network participants’ digital identity and secures the stored data’s privacy to enable role-based data access. Additionally, smart contracts – embedded business logic – can be added to a blockchain, which enables the automation of many processes and secures the handling of contracts. The application of smart contracts automatically structures that data into a digestible format, eliminating manual re-organization. Offering all the stakeholders in the value chain greater visibility into the data, the distributed ledger enhances transparency, data distribution timeliness, information sharing, and data access.

#5 Blockchain for Counterfeit Equipment and Material Identification 

Companies have been combating counterfeiters for years, investing significant time and resources to guard against the risk of defective and fake parts entering the production system and to prevent clever look-alikes and reverse-engineered goods from stealing sales.

According to a BCG study, counterfeit parts cost component manufacturers about $100 billion annually in the electronics industry. The Semiconductor Industry Association estimates that semiconductor manufacturers lose $7.5 billion in revenue to counterfeiting each year. A further study by OECD stated that counterfeit & pirated goods accounted for $461 billion in worldwide trade. That’s about 2.5% of global GDP, which doesn’t include untold additional costs from the threats counterfeits may pose to the recipients’ health, safety, and security.

The use of smart tags and blockchain allows supply chain partners to verify a product’s authenticity quickly. Even if a smart tag can be copied, the information on the blockchain will remain unchanged. A scan of the item will exhibit the exact location of manufacturing and sale, exposing the duplicate item as a fake. Advances in blockchain-with-IoT counterfeit detection provide visibility in tracing and recording of provenance data from source to sale.

New Horizons

Blockchain provides an immutable, permanent digital record of materials, parts, and products, augmenting end-to-end visibility to all the stakeholders in the semiconductor value chain. Reducing costs & time by eliminating the need for third parties that manage ledgers and transparent transactions ultimately improves the profitability of semiconductor companies.

The ability to support smart contracts, such as on the Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum platforms, is opening possibilities for speeding commerce and reducing costs. As edge computing and blockchains advance in capability and become integrated or interoperable, semiconductor companies would achieve peak efficiency and flexibility. In short, blockchain is set to empower the semiconductor industry to expand its business horizons.


Harnessing Next-Generation Warehouse Robotics

Advances in robotics and AI are driving innovation in warehouse automation.

A radical shift in consumer behavior accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic has exponentially expanded the wide-scale adoption of e-commerce and online purchasing. As consumers increasingly make online purchases for standard items like groceries and household supplies, this shift is likely to become permanent ― creating a significant impact on warehouse operations and creating new opportunities for innovation.

Early winners so far in this business environment have been the technology-embracing early adopters such as Amazon and Ocado, who have innovated with robotics and software to create more efficient, durable supply chains. However, there’s room in this space for all players who are prepared to adopt warehouse automation and robotics. It’s likely that those who don’t participate in this disruptive innovation risk being left behind.

Adapting to Warehouse Challenges

Traditionally, robotics has been applied in repeatable, fixtured applications such as those on automotive assembly lines. Now, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are enabling breakthroughs in robotic perception and complex decision-making in real time. This allows robotic technologies to operate effectively in more complicated, unstructured environments such as the warehouse and distribution networks.

Due to the inherent modularity and scalability of robotics systems for picking, sorting, and palletizing, organizations of all sizes can reap the benefits of these innovations while making warehouse operations more efficient, cost-effective and safe. The ability to add solutions with a high return ROI, intermixed with manual processes, make them ideal candidates for investment in existing manual facilities.

The Robotics Opportunity

The rise of e-commerce has stressed existing parcel and distribution networks to their limits. Faced with a huge need for the efficiencies and increased capacity that warehouse automation can fill, a new breed of intelligent robotics solutions has started to go mainstream. The scalability of these solutions makes them a good fit for an industry that is still mostly manual, and they are a logical next step. For many enterprises, warehouse automation adoption is lagging significantly or absent altogether. According to DHL research, 80% of warehouses remain manually operated. Another recent survey indicates that the greatest investments to date are in conveyance (63%), while robotic palletizing and picking are still very low (15% and 8%, respectively).

Major e-commerce companies know that nimble, automated supply chains are key to meeting demand and staying ahead of the competition. To keep up with these major players, smaller and emerging e-commerce companies must take the right steps to automate their warehouse supply chains too.

Every Season is Peak Season

Prior to the pandemic, e-commerce and logistics were geared toward the peak season (early November through January). Distribution networks would ramp up for peak, then struggle with underutilized capacity for the remaining nine months. In 2020, the peak began in mid-March and hasn’t slowed. The challenge now for many smaller enterprises is how to innovate and grow within a peak environment that never subsides. Enterprises no longer have the luxury of a downtime during which to upgrade facilities to increase capacity and integrate new technology.

The e-commerce giants have an easier time integrating new technology organically because their technology stacks are already built. Smaller enterprises must work to bridge this chasm. One of the advantages of advanced robotics is that it can be integrated into operations without taking down a system or facility. Robotics can be added little by little, in a modular fashion, without major disruptions.

The Holistic Approach

There is now a significant need among both types of businesses to explore the best ways to develop, productize, and scale solutions across their entire distribution networks. By adopting a customized holistic solution that addresses key challenges and provides insights across their IT and warehousing infrastructures, companies now have an opportunity to drive continuous improvements and create flexible, robust supply chains that can keep up with increasing customer demands.


M2030: The Shape of Things to Come

What will the shape of manufacturing look like in ten years’ time?

“We are here to put our shoulders to the wheel of progress,” MLC Co-founder David R. Brousell told the hundreds of live and virtual attendees in his opening remarks at the MLC’s new Manufacturing in 2030 event, which opened in New Orleans earlier today.

David R. Brousell, MLC Co-Founder

“We can’t be certain about what tomorrow will bring, let alone what might be in 2030,” he continued. However, “we can project or extrapolate based on current trends and conditions, with a reasonable amount of probability, what the shape of manufacturing will look like in 10 years’ time.”

Well before the pandemic, noted Brousell, manufacturing companies were altering their organizational structures, in part due to the influence of technologies that were increasingly empowering more people with information, shifting from hierarchical, command-and-control models to flatter, more collaborative ways of organizing people and processes. As a result, manufacturing is now harnessing its intellectual capital much more effectively than ever before.

“All around us, conventional notions of what can be accomplished in production as we understand the potential of new technologies, how we arrange work and processes based on new organizational forms, and how we leverage the creativity of our people, are being reimagined,” he said.

There will continue to be challenges ahead, of course, from continued global disruptions, to redefining the relationship between humans and machines, to the increasing urgency of combatting climate change and how to create more sustainable, digitally enabled, circular business models. “Competitive advantage will flow to the companies that master these challenges,” he added.

But there will also be massive opportunities too. In the decade ahead and beyond, Brousell believes that factories and plants will be distinguished by a now evolving set of technological, organizational, and leadership characteristics that will set them apart from facilities of the past. “The extent and depth of change ahead of us will be profound”, he predicted.

That’s why events such as Manufacturing in 2030, and the MLC’s upcoming year long M2030 Project during 2022, is so vitally important to help manufacturers explore, understand, and plan for, the shape of things to come for the manufacturing industry over the next decade.

“If we do things right in the next 10 years,” stressed Brousell, “we have the opportunity to create the greatest engine of manufacturing production humankind has ever seen.”

Business Operations

9 Key Considerations for Digital Twins in Manufacturing

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Many manufacturers are ahead of the curve when it comes to digital 4.0, but not all may know about the numerous potential benefits of digital twins. A virtual replica of a physical product, asset or system, a digital twin makes the physical computable. It offers manufacturers a range of advantages, including better business visibility, increased product reliability and new revenue streams.

Is digital twinning right for your business? Below are some key considerations to weigh as you think about adopting this advanced manufacturing technology.

  1. Digital twins are not complete representations of a product.
    Digital twins are akin to algorithms. They are highly reliant on data input, and since it’s nearly impossible to turn every aspect of a physical product into data, digital twins are not precisely twins, though they are pretty close. A digital twin is created by outfitting a product with sensors that can track functionality. These can then be used to study simulations of the product’s performance. So digital twins are made up of models and data, but their complexity is reliant on the data used to create them.
  2. Digital twins evolve over time.
    As a product moves through its lifecycle, the information in its digital twin will shift in response to its performance, technical configurations and environmental parameters.
  3. Information and data are key across a product’s lifecycle.
    For a digital twin to remain relevant and useful over time, make sure you are utilizing a data structure that can be easily used and exchanged over different systems and applications.
  4. You can use digital threads to enable digital twins.
    Digital threads are a communication framework that link all elements of a product’s data, from design to obsolescence. Using them reduces the complexity of digital-twin implementation and increases digital twins’ accuracy.
  5. Transparency is critical.
    Identify, classify and correlate data across various sources so there’s transparency and automated information-identification processing. These are crucial for smooth digital-twin deployment.
  6. Open format is best.
    In contrast to a proprietary system, which ties an organization’s data to specific systems, limiting its use, an open format ensures that your digital twins can be easily updated, scaled and extended when new models and data representing new outcomes become available.
  7. Your device management plan matters.
    In addition to ensuring that data is in a format that can be accessed and used over time, you should make similar considerations for devices that will access that data (i.e., phones, tablets and laptops). Make sure that your device plan can keep up with your needs for monitoring, updating and security.
  8. The cloud is your friend.
    Cloud-based computing, storage, analytics and artificial intelligence/machine learning services enable operational technology and information technology managers to build, deploy and grow solutions quickly and affordably.
  9. There are costs and benefits.
    Digital twins today may be expensive to build and maintain, but they enable technical agility and speed that foster easier scaling—and save money in the long run to boot.

Learn more about digital twins: As decision-makers in manufacturing embrace digital transformation, it is imperative to consider digital twins as key pieces of the process. For more insights on digital twins in manufacturing, read Digital Twins: The Key to Unlocking Value and Innovation.

ML Journal December 2021

Manufacturing’s Sustainability Challenge: The Race is On

The desire to adopt more sustainable and environmentally responsible practices is now an overwhelming sentiment among manufacturing executives, reveals the MLC’s latest sustainability survey. But the pace of change still needs to increase if the industry is going to achieve the world’s Net Zero goal by 2050.

Manufacturing’s race to New Zero and the transition to a more sustainable and regenerative circular industrial economy is demonstrably underway. But while there are an increasing number of public promises and future targets being announced every day, and some noticeable achievements so far, overall practical progress still needs to accelerate to achieve the industry’s Net Zero goal.

The desire to do so among the manufacturing leadership community is now powerful, clear, and present. An overwhelming 87% of the senior manufacturing executives who responded to the MLC’s latest M4.0 Sustainability and Net Zero survey agree that the manufacturing industry has a special responsibility to society to become more sustainable and accelerate the transition to a future circular industrial economy.

What’s more, that sustainability transformation is regarded as either essential, or increasingly important, to the future competitiveness and growth of the companies they work for, say 72% of respondents (Chart 1).

The question now is no longer if, or whether, manufacturing needs to work to create a cleaner, greener, and more globally responsible industrial future. It’s all about the when, and how it can get there in the most effective and swiftest way possible.

Gaining Leadership Attention

While many companies were already pursuing their own sustainability strategies before the COVID crisis began in early 2020, the resultant strategic refocusing and global disruption over the last two years of the epidemic has had a positive impact on how leadership is now prioritizing its green efforts at a number of organizations. Respondents report that management focus on sustainability and Net Zero strategies has actively increased at a third of manufacturing companies as a result of COVID (Chart 2). And despite the urgent need to crisis manage a host of short-term issues during that period, a further 51% say their previous sustainability focus has nevertheless remained in place. Only 12% say the last two years of COVID disruption have actually decreased their management focus on a greener future.

Net Zero Momentum

With future competitiveness and growth at stake, it’s perhaps not surprising that a rapidly increasing number of those manufacturing companies are now publicly declaring their targets to reach Net Zero carbon emissions in the years ahead.

The MLC’s latest research results show that around a third (32%) of respondents already have publicly stated Net Zero targets in place (Chart 3), and while another 16% have not yet announced publicly, they already have Net Zero plans actively underway. A further one in five (21%) are still considering their New Zero stance and have yet to decide on their approach.

“Respondents reporting a formal corporate-wide sustainability strategy with publicly stated goals has risen noticeably over the last three years, up from 39% in 2019, to 50% this year.”

Yet that still leaves almost a quarter of companies who say they have no plans to announce any Net Zero targets. It will be interesting to see if this currently inactive section of the manufacturing community shifts its position as the pressures of competition, rising customer demands, regulation, and public pressure build in the decade ahead.

As Greg Barker, Chairman of global energy and metals company EN+, the largest aluminum company outside China, warned at the recent COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, in his view, companies that are not able to ditch their fossil fuel habits simply “don’t have a future”.

Not If, But When

The timeline for companies to reach their Net Zero goals inevitably depends on numerous determining factors, from industry sector to location to corporate ambition. However, the latest survey results suggest that around a third of companies have already set their Net Zero targets within the next 15 years by 2035 (Chart 4), and some early movers, around 14%, are already on plan to hit their Net Zero horizons as soon as 2025.

Reassuringly, over half the companies in the survey (55%) now have, or plan, Net Zero targets that fall within the 2050 timeframe highlighted by global climate change organizations as the date by which the world needs to achieve net zero emissions to try to keep future global temperature rises as close as possible to C1.5 degrees.

Nevertheless, a few companies (5%) are still looking at a longer timeframe of beyond 2050, and there remains a host of manufacturing organizations yet to declare any Net Zero intent. To reach the 2050 climate goal, these organizations may need to act soon to allow sufficient time to effectively transition to a carbon neutral operational status by the middle of the century.

Sustainability Structures in Place

Net Zero targets apart, the vast majority (72%) of manufacturing companies have already embedded some form of corporate sustainability structures and processes into their organizations (Chart 5). For example, the number of respondents reporting a formal corporate-wide sustainability strategy with publicly stated goals has risen noticeably over the last three years, up from 39% in our previous 2019 survey, to 50% this year. A further 22% say that while they may not yet have a formal strategy in place, sustainability initiatives are now embedded into business practices.

Those sustainability approaches and policies are also covering an increasing number of key criteria (Chart 6). Targeted reductions in energy usage (81%), waste (73%), water (60%) and improvements in material efficiency (60%) are becoming industry standard, while circular economy policies covering material reclamation (55%) and product lifecycle strategies including safe disposal (50%) are becoming more popular. Almost a half of respondents (45%) also say their companies are now either using or generating renewable energy to help power their operations.

“Over half the survey respondents now regard 4.0 digital tools as either extremely or fairly significant in their sustainability efforts.”

The way companies are managing and driving their sustainability strategies has also shifted over the last three years (Chart 7). The number of companies that have now established dedicated teams or functions tasked to drive corporate sustainability and Net Zero initiatives has risen from 51% in 2019 to 61% in the latest survey as leadership teams increasingly recognize the importance of focusing direct resources and management attention around their efforts.

A Reputational Issue

Interestingly, the key factors now motivating leadership teams to pursue sustainable practices have become more about corporate reputation and values than hard costs. In this year’s survey, respondents ranked an improved reputation among customers and investors (57%), the importance of a cleaner and healthier environment (56%), and better alignment with their corporate mission and values (56%), as their top three primary motivations for embracing sustainability (Chart 8). In the 2019 survey, reduced costs ranked at number three in the table, yet this has now fallen to number six on the motivation list at 38%. By contrast, customer requirements are clearly becoming more vocal and intense, rising from sixth to fourth as a key factor in driving more sustainable approaches.

This shift of emphasis is also apparent when respondents were asked which groups now most influence a company’s sustainability and Net Zero strategies. C-suite leadership teams remain as the primary influencers, yet their impact has risen sharply from 61% of respondents saying they were the most significant group in 2019, to 84% this year (Chart 9), perhaps reflecting a growing recognition by leadership teams that sustainability has now become critical to the company’s overall reputation and mission. This may also be linked to the fact that the influence of customers and consumers has also increased sharply over that period, from just 27% in 2019, to a substantial 54% this year. The market, it seems, is already playing a significant part in driving sustainable industrial change.

Forward Progress

Certainly, there has already been significant change in the industry’s attitude to, and ability to deliver, more sustainability in manufacturing enterprises (Chart 10). Compared to 5 years ago, 40% say they have already made significant progress in their sustainability achievements, up from 31% in 2019.

“It’s the level and power of human sentiment that is likely to make the most difference to how, and how fast, the manufacturing industry can develop more sustainable global approaches in the years ahead.”

Manufacturing and production activities have made the most progress in achieving their sustainability goals so far, according to the survey (Chart 11), with 63% of respondents saying these areas rank among their company’s top three areas of success. There are, however, other activities where progress has not been as impactful and may now be ripe for further attention, especially in supply chains (24%), transportation and logistics (15%), and partner compliance (10%).

These activities, of course, are inevitably more challenging to transform as they are essentially dependant on external factors, infrastructures, and ecosystems, unlike the directly controlled manufacturing facilities within the walls of the company. Nevertheless, as environmental performance and carbon footprints are increasing judged on the basis of full end-to-end value chains, rather than just in-house activities, companies may need to pursue sustainable ecosystem approaches more intensely in the future.

And although cost reductions may not rank as high on the overall corporate priority list of motivational factors in sustainability efforts these days, the survey results do indicate that cost factors dominate the list of key targets for in-house manufacturing and production facility improvements (Chart 12). The top two areas where respondents say they now have specific sustainability goals and metrics in place at their manufacturing plants include reduced energy consumption (67%) and less materials waste during the manufacturing process (64%), both of which have direct cost implications. Other areas of focus that also help manufacturers directly reduce production costs include more efficient use of raw materials (48%) and the use of reclaimed or recycled materials (45%), again delivering bottom line benefits.

The M4.0 Opportunity

For many manufacturing organizations, digital technologies have become fundamental enablers in how they streamline processes, measure performance, and virtualize operations to help drive sustainability. Analytical and predictive tools can also provide unprecedented insights into how best to maximize resources and reduce energy and waste. Virtual platforms, meanwhile, not only speed up processes and improve quality, but the ability to act remotely also cuts travel requirements and overall carbon footprints.

The recognition that 4.0 approaches have a direct role to play in helping to achieve sustainability and Net Zero targets over the decade ahead is clear. Over half the survey respondents now regard 4.0 digital tools as either extremely or fairly significant in their sustainability efforts (Chart 13). And they see some of the most advanced technologies currently being adopted today as having an increasingly important impact on their sustainability goals over the next ten years to 2030, especially augmented and virtual reality systems (80%), AI and machine learning (76%), and more advanced networking platforms like 5G (73%) that can deliver information in rapid real-time from assets, products, and partners alike (Chart 14).

Over half (57%) also highlight innovations in new materials as important to their greener future, while 69% anticipate the increased adoption of digital production techniques like additive manufacturing to help transform their production operations by increasing efficiency and maximizing the use of raw materials.

Towards a Circular Industrial Economy

Broader changes to the way the overall industrial sector operates are also expected to have a major impact on future business models and improvements in industry wide sustainability. Eighty one percent of respondents believe that the shift from traditional “Take, Make, Dispose” approaches to a more regenerative and circular economic model of “Refurbish, Reuse, Recycle” will be highly (38%) or fairly (43%) impactful for the future of the industry. Only a mere 4% still believe this accelerating shift toward a new industrial paradigm will have no impact at all (Chart 15).

Some of the key elements of that circular future industrial model are already being adopted by early movers in the industry. For example, over half the respondents (59%) now say their companies have design and development criteria to promote the recycling of all or some materials, while 29% also design with the reuse of some components in mind (Chart 16). There remain many areas for further progress at the majority of organizations, however, with only 16% who have intentionally designed refurbishment procedures, 15% who are actively designing products for easy disassembly at end of life, and just 10% who are exploring remanufacturing approaches. Over a quarter (27%) have still yet to formally embrace any of these design-driven circular economy practices at all.

Some of the key elements of that circular future industrial model are already being adopted by early movers in the industry.

Looking specifically at recycling, almost a third (30%) now provide ways for customers to return products to a dedicated recycling partner at end of life, and almost the same proportion (27%) have ways to return products directly to the manufacturer (Chart 17). Eighteen per cent even offer incentives to their customers to take one of their recycling options.

A Global Obligation

With all these various sustainability activities, targets, policies, opportunities, technologies, and areas of progress as the background to today’s manufacturing sector, the MLC thought it was especially important to stand back and take a broader view in this year’s survey as we begin what may be a pivotal decade in the development of a more sustainable industrial paradigm for the future.

More specifically, we wanted to know, not just what manufacturing companies now have underway or planned, but what manufacturing leaders and senior executives themselves, those who are now actively working in the industry on the front lines, feel about the manufacturing industry’s role in the race for sustainability in the face of increasingly urgent warnings about the impact of climate change this century.

The results cannot be underestimated or ignored. An overwhelming 87% of the senior executives who responded to the survey agreed that, due to the nature of manufacturing with its use of raw materials and complex production processes, the industry now has a special responsibility to society to become more sustainable and accelerate the transition to a future circular industrial economy.

Technologies can certainly help, but it’s the level and power of that human sentiment that is likely to make the most difference to how, and how fast, the manufacturing industry can develop more sustainable global approaches in the years ahead, from transforming operations, to slashing emissions, to creating more sustainable ecosystems, to driving climate smart innovation for the benefit of future generations.

That’s going to be the real challenge for global manufacturing over the next decade. Perhaps the most important challenge in the industry’s history.   M



1. Sustainability Seen as Key to Future Competitiveness and Growth

Q: How does your company regard the importance of sustainability and Net Zero targets to its competitive profile and future growth?

A Third Say COVID-19 Has Increased Leadership Focus on Sustainability

  Q: What effect has the COVID-19 pandemic had on
your leadership team’s focus on sustainability and
Net Zero initiatives?


3 A Third Have Already Announced
Net Zero Targets

  Q: Has your company publicly announced a Net
Zero decarbonization target?

A Third Aim to Reach Net Zero Within 15 Years

  Q: What is the timeframe for achieving
this Net Zero target?

50% Now Have Formal Corporate-wide Sustainability Strategies in Place

Q: How are your company’s sustainability / Net Zero
initiatives organized and deployed?

Corporate-wide Sustainability Policies Cover Increasing Number of Key Criteria

Q: Does your company’s approach include specific
policies, codes of conduct, or goals covering the following sustainability / Net Zero criteria? (All that apply)

Over 60% Now Have
Dedicated Sustainability Team

Q: Does your company have a dedicated team or function tasked to drive corporate sustainability / Net Zero initiatives?

Reputation, Environment, and Corporate Values Are Driving Change

Q: What are your company’s primary motivations for embracing sustainable/Net Zero practices? (All that apply)


9 C-Suite and Customers Have
Most Influence on Manufacturing Sustainability Strategies

Q: To what extent do the following groups influence your sustainability / Net Zero strategy?


40% Have Already Made Significant Progress in Sustainability Over Last 5 Years

Q: Compared to five years ago, how would you characterize your company’s sustainability / Net Zero progress and achievements so far?

Manufacturing Activities Lead; Partner Compliance and Logistics Lag

Q: In which of the following corporate activities do you feel you have made the most significant progress in achieving your sustainability goals so far? (Top 3)

Over Half Now Have Formal Goals/Metrics for Energy, Materials, and Waste

  Q: In your manufacturing and production activities specifically, which of the following areas have specific sustainability goals/metrics?  (All that apply)


Over 50% Believe M4.0 Will Be Significant to Reaching Sustainability Targets By 2030

Q: How important will Manufacturing 4.0 technologies
be to achieving your company’s sustainability and
Net Zero goals by 2030?

14 AR/VR, AI, and 5G Technologies Expected to Have Most Sustainability Impact by 2030

Q: Which of the following M4.0 technologies are already having the most impact on achieving your Sustainability / Net Zero goals today and which do you feel will have the most impact by 2030?



15 81% Believe Circular Economy Approaches Will Increasingly Impact Manufacturing

Q: Looking forward, how impactful do you think the concept of a regenerative Circular Industrial Economy — where traditional ‘Take, Make Dispose’ approaches increasingly give way to ‘Refurbish, Reuse, Recycle’ approaches — will be to the future of manufacturing?


16 Recycling Increasing, But Significant Room for Improvement in Sustainable Product Design

Q: During your product design and development process, which of the following are formal design criteria related to product end-of-life? (All that apply)

17 30% Now Provide Programs to Return Products to Recycling Partner at End-of-Life

Q: Which of the following programs or processes does your company have in place that support product returns/end-of-life activities? (All that apply)



18 87% Believe Manufacturing
Has a Special Responsibility to Society
to Become More Sustainable

Q: Due to the nature of manufacturing, with its use of raw materials and often complex production processes, do you think the industry has a special responsibility to society to become more sustainable and accelerate the transition to a future circular industrial economy?

Survey development was led by Paul Tate, with input from the MLC editorial team and the MLC’s Board of Governors.

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