Manufacturing Leadership: Championing Change & Driving Innovation Through Uncertainty

Now, more than ever, the manufacturing industry requires leadership that is prepared to innovate and drive necessary change for the future.

Over the coming months, companies will be built and broken based on their ability to weather the storm of the current crisis. Whatever way you look at it, Covid-19 is here to stay and, as such, executives must invest heavily in the tools necessary for their survival. It is no different when it comes to manufacturing.

Manufacturing is a business segment built on innovation and design and it is one at great risk due to the realities of Covid-19. Now, more than ever, the manufacturing industry requires leadership that is prepared to innovate and drive necessary change both during the coronavirus as well into the future.

26% of C-Suite executives don’t expect their company operations to stabilize from the COVID-19 crisis until 2021 or beyond, but effective leadership will take this time to identify their critical business misgivings and use their insight to develop new processes and technologies to themselves, their employees and their factories in the day-to-day.

Leadership in Manufacturing

From the C-suite to plant management, manufacturing leaders are beginning to equip themselves and their employees with the skills needed to continually innovate and improve throughout disruption and transformation and they are only scratching the surface.

Obviously, many manufacturers have reconfigured their operations in order to provide PPE, medical supplies, and other response-critical materials and items but following the status quo and fulfilling your legal obligations to your employees is no longer enough. Leaders should consider the following transformation triggers in their pursuit of effective change.

Competitive Landscape in Flux

In the first half of 2020, more than 3,600 filed for bankruptcy according to Epiq, an increase in 43% since June of last year. Consequently, your immediate competitive business landscape has changed and so too should your priorities. Effective leaders should realign their strategies around the current global climate, rather than fan the flames of old business rivalries.

Business Transition

Where manufacturing leaders should resist infighting with competitors, so too should they resist the urge to rely on their existing business strategy and value proposition. The world has changed even since January and what might’ve once worked in the past is no longer assured. Employees are being forced to adopt remote work as never before and automation is king, how do you plan to keep pace?

Rise of Technology

Bolstering the technological infrastructure that supports your manufacturing efforts should already have been at the top of the list of pursuits for the leadership of the field but in 2020 it’s an absolute necessity. 98% of organizations have reported that a single hour of downtime costs them over $100,000, and in a year where every dollar counts, that’s a significant issue.

Technology should be seen as the tool to prevent such an outcome and we’ve already seen investment increase this year. For example, 34% of manufacturers now have plans to incorporate IoT technology into their processes, whilst others plan to incorporate AI to improve daily operations. Manufacturing leaders must consider their technological future.

Economic Conditions

The economy is certainly at its most tenuous position in recent memory and this should certainly factor into a leaders innovation decisions. To this end, 2020 serves as a prime opportunity to streamline operational efficiency both now and over the ensuing decade.

Data-Driven Approaches

Utilizing a data-driven approach when it comes to manufacturing has seen a marked increase since the outbreak of the pandemic and it’s not hard to see why. McKinsey has reported that predictive maintenance reduces machine downtime by 30 to 50%, whilst Forbes state that 67% of manufacturers are currently investing in data analytics. While we may have to make do with a lack of information in our personal lives, we should not content ourselves with that same absence of insight in the workplace.

By considering the following, manufacturing leaders can help protect themselves from Covid-19. In 2020, no solution is off the table and leaders have more freedom than ever to try something new, whether that be something small like providing remote work solutions or something massive like transitioning from a model which caters only to B2B or B2C and towards one that covers both.

Continue the debate at the NG Manufacturing Digital Summit, where we bring together senior manufacturing executives who are actively seeking to share, learn, engage, and find the best technology solutions.

GDS Group hosts experts to help experts. We strive to provide an atmosphere for our attendees that enables them to confidently lead their companies through major transformation projects. For information on upcoming events, view our  Digital Summits. To remain current on our activities, visit GDS Group on LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter.