In the 19th century, the fortunes of candle
makers, for example, declined as electric
light bulbs gained in popularity.
But the ability of industries and companies to adapt to the new also plays a critical
role in their fortunes. If leadership doesn’t
see the proverbial change train coming down
the track and fails to adapt, the company
may end up an also-ran or even a footnote in
the history books. Remember Blockbuster?
To bring into sharper relief just how fast
things can change, take a look at the top 10
companies in the Fortune 500 list in 2000
compared with 2017. In the first year of the
new century, General Motors was the number one company on the list, followed by
Walmart, Exxon-Mobil, and Ford. By 2017,
GM had dropped to eighth on the list and
Ford had slid into tenth place. General Electric, IBM, and Boeing, which all made the
list in 2000, disappeared entirely by 2017.
While it is true that during those years
other, non-manufacturing industries such as
healthcare, services, and electronics rose to
prominence, I think it is also true that today
we are not just witnessing a change in how
the stars of various industries are aligning in
To borrow a phrase from the historian Doris
Kearns Goodwin, these are no ordinary times
for the manufacturing industry. The requirements of the digital era call for fundamental
changes in how leaders lead, in organizational
design, and in technology adoption, a combination that can be daunting for any company.
The only way to ease concerns of vulnerability is to move ahead with M4.0 aggressively and with purpose. No company’s fate
is guaranteed, to be sure, but future success
is more likely when bold action is taken.
–David R. Brousell
NE OF THE FINDINGS IN THE MANUFACTURING LEADERship Council’s new survey on next generation leadership in the Manufacturing 4.0 era that jumped out at me was that an astonishing 80% of survey
respondents feel that their companies’ future success is vulnerable due to a
lack of preparedness to embrace the new digital model of doing business.
Manufacturing executives who participated in the survey have good reason to be concerned. Over time, the fortunes of industries change as new technologies come on the scene.
LEADERSHIP JOURNAL .................... ....................
Many manufacturers feel vulnerable in the Manufacturing 4.0 era.