M2030: The Shape of Things to Come

What will the shape of manufacturing look like in ten years’ time?

“We are here to put our shoulders to the wheel of progress,” MLC Co-founder David R. Brousell told the hundreds of live and virtual attendees in his opening remarks at the MLC’s new Manufacturing in 2030 event, which opened in New Orleans earlier today.

David R. Brousell, MLC Co-Founder

“We can’t be certain about what tomorrow will bring, let alone what might be in 2030,” he continued. However, “we can project or extrapolate based on current trends and conditions, with a reasonable amount of probability, what the shape of manufacturing will look like in 10 years’ time.”

Well before the pandemic, noted Brousell, manufacturing companies were altering their organizational structures, in part due to the influence of technologies that were increasingly empowering more people with information, shifting from hierarchical, command-and-control models to flatter, more collaborative ways of organizing people and processes. As a result, manufacturing is now harnessing its intellectual capital much more effectively than ever before.

“All around us, conventional notions of what can be accomplished in production as we understand the potential of new technologies, how we arrange work and processes based on new organizational forms, and how we leverage the creativity of our people, are being reimagined,” he said.

There will continue to be challenges ahead, of course, from continued global disruptions, to redefining the relationship between humans and machines, to the increasing urgency of combatting climate change and how to create more sustainable, digitally enabled, circular business models. “Competitive advantage will flow to the companies that master these challenges,” he added.

But there will also be massive opportunities too. In the decade ahead and beyond, Brousell believes that factories and plants will be distinguished by a now evolving set of technological, organizational, and leadership characteristics that will set them apart from facilities of the past. “The extent and depth of change ahead of us will be profound”, he predicted.

That’s why events such as Manufacturing in 2030, and the MLC’s upcoming year long M2030 Project during 2022, is so vitally important to help manufacturers explore, understand, and plan for, the shape of things to come for the manufacturing industry over the next decade.

“If we do things right in the next 10 years,” stressed Brousell, “we have the opportunity to create the greatest engine of manufacturing production humankind has ever seen.”

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