In September 2018, the National Association of Manufacturers acquired the Manufacturing Leadership Council, an association for manufacturing executives that is dedicated to helping the industry transition to the digital era. Nearly one year later, the MLC wraps up its 15th Anniversary Manufacturing Leadership Summit and continues to provide its members with programs and services around digitization.
MLC’s Co-Founder, Vice President and Executive Director David R. Brousell shares the groundbreaking work of the organization and why it matters to manufacturers today.
What is the Manufacturing Leadership Council?
The MLC is designed to help senior manufacturing executives and emerging leaders define and shape a better future for themselves, their organizations and the industry at large by focusing on the intersection of critical business and technology issues that will drive growth today and in the future. We do live events like conferences; we do plant tours that enable members to see firsthand how different companies are implementing the latest digital technologies; and we publish in-depth articles that focus on best practices and cutting-edge ideas on the use of technologies and the leadership requirements of the digital age.
How is leadership changing in the digital age?
It’s changing in some very important ways. There’s a whole new layer of competency that has to be added to the traditional functions of leadership. We call this “digital acumen,” which has to do with understanding the potential of advanced technologies like analytics, artificial intelligence, collaborative robotics, 3D printing and other technologies. It’s not just improving efficiencies, but also offering new business models, ways of doing things and services.
This new era in manufacturing requires leaders to manage organizations that are flatter and more collaborative, with more and more employees having the benefit of information at their fingertips. Managing in prior years was around a top-down structure. That doesn’t cut it in the digital age.
What benefit do companies get from being a part of this group?
The MLC presents the opportunity to be part of a community that is collectively sharing ideas, insights and best practices to as the industry continues its radical transition. The truth is, you can’t do this alone as a company. You can’t make this transition to the digital era by yourself. You need to be with other companies, to learn from them, to learn what’s possible, to see what works and what may not work well in your company and to form that bond. It’s a tremendous learning experience.
What does the future look like for manufacturing—and how does the Manufacturing Leadership Council fit in?
The future looks very, very bright for manufacturing. We’re going to increase efficiency and produce products that satisfy personalized needs—everything from cars to medicine. We’re going to be able to have better quality and create jobs that are fulfilling, exciting and intellectually stimulating. The extent of innovation happening right now in manufacturing is mind-blowing.
But this is not an easy transition. The future offers tremendous opportunities, but only if we make the transition industry-wide. If we’re able to do that, not only will individual companies be more successful globally, but the U.S. manufacturing industry as a whole will continue to lead the world. There’s a lot at stake for manufacturers. That’s why the partnership between the Manufacturing Leadership Council and the NAM is so important.
Washington, D.C. – The Manufacturing Leadership Council, a division of the National Association of Manufacturers, has announced the election of Dan Dwight, president, CEO and director of Cooley Group, to the MLC’s Board of Governors. The MLC’s mission is to help senior manufacturing executives and emerging leaders define and shape a better future for themselves, their organizations and the industry at large by focusing on the intersection of critical business and technology issues that will drive growth today and in the future.
The MLC Board approved Dwight’s nomination in a unanimous vote. With his appointment, the MLC Board of Governors consists of 21 industry thought leaders who represent the full ecosystem of the manufacturing industry. As an advisory body, the MLC Board of Governors provides guidance to the MLC on its “Critical Issues” agenda, research studies and programs and services for the MLC membership.
“I am delighted to welcome Dan to the Board,” said John Fleming, chairman of the MLC Board of Governors. “He has truly established himself as a thought leader who is implementing Manufacturing 4.0. into his business. His hands-on experience will add to the value of the MLC for all of our members.”
“For the past four years, I experienced the value the Council brings to its constituent members by connecting global manufacturers with industry experts who share global best practices and the latest in academic research,” said Dwight. “Joining the Council as a board member is an exciting opportunity to collaborate with other executives and academic leaders in setting the Council’s strategic and operational objectives around Manufacturing 4.0 and beyond.”
Since his appointment as president, CEO and director of Cooley Group in 2011, Dwight successfully repositioned the 90-year-old company around three pillars of sustainable growth (economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and social responsibility) while improving the health, well-being, engagement and ultimately the capacity for innovation of the entire Cooley team. Under his leadership, Cooley has sustained revenue and profitability growth for seven consecutive years. During this time, Cooley generated more than 40 percent of its revenue from new products, won PBN Awards, including “Healthiest Employer of Rhode Island” and “Product Innovation & Design,” and cultivated collaborative partnerships such that more than 70 percent of Cooley’s revenue is managed under long-term customer supply agreements.
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, Ford Motor Company, Dow Chemical, Merck, Cisco Systems, IBM, Germany’s SmartFactory Technology Initiative, Lexmark International, Protolabs, Premio Foods, Virtex Enterprises, S&S Hinge, Graphicast, MIT, UCLA, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing in the UK, the U.S. National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining and consultants Frost & Sullivan. For more information and MLC membership details, visit www.manufacturingleadershipcouncil.com.
Founded in 2008, and now a division of the National Association of Manufacturers, the Manufacturing Leadership Council’s mission is to inspire and support manufacturing executives to achieve transformational growth for themselves, their companies and the industry at large through enlightened leadership. With more than 1,500 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.
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 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.35 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact of any major sector and accounts for more than two-thirds 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 Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.
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With a recent three-year United Nations environmental report spearheaded by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) highlighting dire warnings about human impact on the planet, leaders in the United States are under renewed pressure to find solutions that work. In communities across the country, manufacturers are taking a stand for sustainability – and demanding action against climate change.
While manufacturers have created their own policies to reduce pollution and increase sustainability, manufacturing leaders are increasingly pushing for action. Although policymakers in Washington have yet to settle on a unified approach, the manufacturing industry is making clear that the existing state of affairs is unsustainable.
“Manufacturers hope we can all agree that the current policy – a disjointed system of federal and state regulations that take decades to install and often fail – is not the answer,” said Ross Eisenberg, Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers. “A piecemeal regulatory approach just isn’t going to cut it.”
While proposals like the Green New Deal have garnered significant press coverage without gaining a single vote in Congress, manufacturing leaders are seeking opportunities for consensus on climate legislation by focusing on actionable solutions. These proposals include scaling up the adoption of energy- and water-efficient products and technologies, prioritizing innovation and creating pathways for the deployment of new technologies like carbon capture, utilization and storage. It also involves working collaboratively by creating public-private partnerships between government and manufacturers to help them further decarbonize. Finally, manufacturers are encouraging the United States to reengage with the international community in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions together, rather than in isolation.
Manufacturers have unique qualifications to speak about this issue, as most have implemented meaningful programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, pioneer new strategies and technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and set aggressive emissions reduction targets.
These actions have had a significant effect. Over the past decade, the manufacturing industry has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent while the sector’s value to the economy has increased 19 percent. It’s outpacing competitors and demonstrating that it is possible to reduce emissions without falling behind in a global market.
“Our barometer is that manufacturers in America must stay competitive in the global economy, and that requires realistic, practical policies that we can implement while we continue to do the things that make the manufacturing sector strong,” said Eisenberg. “Speaking for the 12.8 million men and women who make things in America, we’re ready.”