Frost & Sullivan’s Manufacturing Leadership Council (MLC), a member-driven global business network for senior industrial executives, identified six new critical issues facing the manufacturing industry for the year ahead.

This year, the MLC’s Critical Issues Agenda is organized around the key theme, The Journey to Manufacturing 4.0.” As Manufacturing 4.0 promises to touch every function and aspect of the manufacturing enterprise — from the plant floor, to leadership roles and business models — the MLC’s new agenda is designed to help manufacturers align their thinking and practices for a successful journey to Manufacturing 4.0.

“The MLC’s decision to embrace Manufacturing 4.0 as its direction for the future reflects a powerful ambition to use advanced technologies to take manufacturing to a new, game-changing level,” said David R. Brousell, MLC co-founder, global vice president and editorial director. “The opportunity to use information to speed and tailor production, engage more intimately with customers, and create new products and services previously unimagined, is almost limitless. Now, the challenge for manufacturing executives is to lead their companies into this brighter future.”

The six critical issues for 2015/2016, and their key areas of focus, are:.

  1. Factories of the Future

  • Migration paths toward Manufacturing 4.0, from current production models to future state
  • End-to-end digitization of manufacturing processes
  • Agile and sustainable production models for Manufacturing 4.0
  1. Transformative Technologies in Manufacturing 

  • New developments in intelligent machines, the Internet of Things, Big Data, plant floor analytics, modelling and simulation, mobile, cloud and 3D printing technologies
  • Transitional models for transformative new technologies
  • The impact of transformative technologies on performance and the creation of new business models
  1. The Innovative Manufacturing Enterprise

  • Using design for manufacturing and product lifecycle management approaches to help drive innovation
  • Managing collaborative innovation with employees, suppliers, external partners, customers and ‘the crowd’
  • Integrating the role of manufacturing in business model innovations to deliver a successful customer experience
  1. Cybersecurity in Manufacturing

  • Cyber vulnerabilities, detection methodologies and security technologies in manufacturing operations
  • Bridging the gap between IT and operations to improve manufacturing cybersecurity
  • Cybersecurity best practice policies, training, behaviors and education in manufacturing
  1. Next Generation Manufacturing Leadership

  • Future-focused leadership behaviors and mind sets
  • Leadership planning and development at all levels
  • Pioneering leadership role models for Manufacturing 4.0
  1. The Changing Manufacturing Workforce

  • Attracting tomorrow’s workforce through advocacy and promoting manufacturing’s image
  • Developing employee engagement strategies for a multi-generational, multi-cultural and multi-national workforce
  • Reducing the skills gap, and identifying new skills for the future of manufacturing through education, apprenticeships and industry partnerships

The MLC’s annual Critical Issues Agenda is the result of a member-driven process that is aimed to identify the most urgent and important issues facing the global manufacturing industry in the year ahead. It is based on extensive consultation with more than 200 senior executives and associate members of the Manufacturing Leadership Council and Board of Governors.

The new Critical Issues Agenda also establishes the MLC’s strategic plan for the year, directly influencing all major elements of the Council’s research, content, events and services portfolio.

For more details of the new Critical Issues Agenda, visit: http://bit.ly/1KaBGCm.