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Our Vision & Mission

The Manufacturing Leadership Council’s mission is to enable manufacturing executives to achieve transformational growth  while achieving maximum speed and efficiency for themselves, their companies, and for the industry at large through the power of enlightened senior leadership collaboration.

In support of this, the Council  looks at the intersection of advanced technologies and the business, serving as a large executive advisory board, identifying the most innovative growth and improvement opportunities in the operation, organization and leadership of manufacturing enterprises, sharing best practices, developing strategies from the best manufacturing companies in the world.

The Council has built an executive collaboration platform that delivers a very robust, facilitated program of thought leadership, networking, and services around a member-defined set of Critical Issues with hand picked senior leadership members that are shaping the future of manufacturing.

Who are our Members?

C-suite Executives, Vice Presidents, Directors and General Managers involved with:

  • Manufacturing & Operations
  • Supply Chain
  • IT
  • Production & Design
  • R & D
  • Innovation
  • Engineering
  • Operational Excellence
  • Strategy

Member Snapshot

The Manufacturing Leadership Council brings together senior-level executives and team members from organizations across the globe:


Manufacturing Leadership's Focus for the Year Ahead

Every year the Manufacturing Leadership Council and its Board of Governors votes on a set of unique Critical Issues to set the foundation for the year ahead.

Through a series of surveys and interviews conducted by the Council's Editorial team, members of the Council provide direct feedback on the topics, challenges, and opportunities that they face on a day to day basis. This data is then analyzed, vetted, and presented to both the Council and Board who then vote on the most relevant areas of interest thereby setting the Agenda for the year. This member-driven Agenda is leveraged to structure the upcoming year's research (ML Journal), live events (Plant Tours and Summit), and virtual events (Critical Issues Roundtables and Decision Compass calls).

Setting the Critical Issues Agenda is one of the key roles of the Manufacturing Leadership Council and Board of Governors.

Critical Issues - 2016/2017

Guiding Theme: The Journey to Manufacturing 4.0

The global manufacturing industry is at a pivotal point in its history. Driven by a surge in advanced digital and analytical technologies, manufacturing companies around the world are now pursuing a future vision for their businesses that will transform the rules of competition, how work will be performed, how companies will be organized, and how leadership must lead. We term this future state: Manufacturing 4.0.

The six critical issues for 2016/2017, and their key areas of focus, are the following.

Factories of the Future
  • Migration paths and road maps towards Manufacturing 4.0, from current production models to a future state.
  • End-to-end digitization and analysis of manufacturing and engineering processes and functions.
  • Agile, modular and sustainable production models for Manufacturing 4.0.
The Integrated Manufacturing Enterprise
  • Integrated, end-to-end, enterprise-wide value chains that unify the company’s overall mission and key activities.
  • Digital threads that constantly connect and inform all functions of the enterprise.
  • Holistic, integrated approaches to sustainability that keep products, components and materials at their highest utility and value at all times while minimizing environmental impacts as part of a circular industrial economy.
 Innovation in Manufacturing
  • Best practice innovation processes that deliver innovative ideas and improvements across the enterprise – from the plant floor, to new products and services.
  • Collaborative innovation that leverages employees, suppliers, external partners, customers, academia, and 'the crowd'.
  • How manufacturing can play an active role in product and business model innovations that ultimately deliver enhanced customer experience.

 Transformative Technologies in Manufacturing

  • The latest developments in smart machines, the Internet of Things, Big Data, 3D printing technologies, plant floor analytics, modeling and simulation, mobile, cloud, and collaborative robotics.
  • Smart, connected products and digital platforms that allow companies to develop and deploy new service-driven business models.
  • Strategies for encouraging and implementing standards and architectures that support open, interoperable systems.
Next-Generation Manufacturing Leadership and the Changing Workforce
  • Leadership role models, behaviors, and mindsets for Manufacturing 4.0.
  • Employee engagement strategies for a multi-generational, multi-cultural, multinational workforce.
  • Identifying and developing new skills for tomorrow’s manufacturing workforce.
Cybersecurity in Manufacturing
  • Cyber vulnerabilities, detection methodologies, and security technologies in manufacturing operations and the supply chain.
  • Bridging the gap between IT and Operations to improve manufacturing cybersecurity.
  • Cybersecurity best practice policies, training, behaviors and education, including an understanding of the global cybersecurity regulatory environment.

For more information, read the full Critical Issues Summary HERE.

The Manufacturing Leadership Council Provides
Network with Peers

The Council is comprised of the most innovative and insightful executives from all disciplines of manufacturing. The value members derive from these conversations they have with fellow members lead to both meaningful professional and personal relationships.

Manufacturing Leadership Summit & Awards
The Council's premier event for manufacturing executives that offers a unique blend of senior-level content, interactive discussions and networking that focuses on redefining the business and industry at large.

Annual Manufacturing Leadership Council Meeting
This cornerstone event serves as the kickoff to the Manufacturing Leadership Summit. Council Members congregate to vote on the Critical Issues Agenda, network amongst each other, and share best practices and insights across the manufacturing spectrum.

Quarterly Plant Tours
Spend a day networking with like-minded peers while having the opportunity to tour other manufacturing facilities and operations. All tours provide a roundtable discussion on a Critical Issue and are followed by a networking dinner.

Stay Future Focused

Whether the subject is the Internet of Things, smart products, operational flexibility, or Big Data; the focus of Council meetings and discussions is on how to improve and advance business disciplines based on member insights, best practices, and research.

Critical Issues Roundtables
These bi-monthly, hour long virtual sessions focus on the aforementioned Critical Issues. Throughout the hour, based on the selected topic, members are privy to best practice, proven processes, and frameworks that they can take away and present to their own organization. These key takeaways are seen as invaluable and all roundtables hosted on an open and secure line, ensuring that information shared is trusted and confidential.

Decision Compass Groups
Otherwise known as "working groups," these sessions are facilitated by expert member networking groups based on critical focus areas. Groups meet online, via teleconference calls to discuss best practices at their respective organizations. All discussions are confidential. Examples of these working groups include Operational Excellence, Digital M4.0 Technologies, Workforce Development et al.

Access Research

The Council provides insights on the most important manufacturing business and technology developments and trends – including the Council's "Critical Issues" -- to help executives stay ahead of the curve.

The Manufacturing Leadership Journal
Seen as the "Harvard Business Review" for the manufacturing industry, the Manufacturing Leadership Journal contains Senior-level insights, case studies with leading companies and in-depth executive interviews with Council Members. The journal is available in hard-copy, online, and through an app.

Critical Issues Research Reports and Executive Surveys
These research studies combined with executive surveys give a barometric reading of important trends in manufacturing with a multi-dimensional view, including organization and leadership dimensions of a major Critical Issue that the Council Members have voted on as vital to address. These reports will allow you to assess where your organizations are by comparison and benchmark against a group of senior manufacturing leaders working in collaboration to address these issues.


”Our future cyber/physical environment will be based on connectivity -- connected products, connected supply chains, and connected factories. The Council’s leadership is needed to develop the roadmaps and the skilled people necessary to ensure that we can fully utilize the "Industrial Internet of Things" and deliver further progress on the key metrics of safety, quality and cost efficiency.” - John Fleming, the former Executive Vice President of Global Manufacturing and Labor Affairs at Ford Motor Co. 

“We are facing many new challenges in the era of Manufacturing 4.0 – in technology as well as leadership and education. As Manufacturing 4.0 is mainly based on network progress, it will be essential to collaborate and learn as part of a network of thought-leaders across the industry. The MLC offers the right platform to achieve this goal. Tapping into colleagues, learning from others, compiling use cases, and, yes, even making mistakes and failing at times will all be part of the journey to Manufacturing 4.0. By coming together around a set of common issues and opportunities, the likelihood of that journey getting just a bit easier for everyone greatly increases.”  -Dr. Detlef Zühlke, Chairman of Germany’s SmartFactoryKL Technology Initiative and Scientific Director of Innovative Factory Systems at the German Research Center for AI

For more information about the Manufacturing Leadership Council, please complete the form below:


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