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MLC Adopts New Critical Issue to Support COVID-19 Recovery

In late May, members of the Manufacturing Leadership Council and its Board of Governors voted overwhelmingly to adopt a new Interim Critical Issue to help manufacturing companies as they respond and recover from the widespread disruption caused by the coronavirus crisis. Called COVID-19: Manufacturing’s M4.0 Response & Recovery, the MLC’s new Critical Issue will help to drive the Council’s content, research, and event agenda until the end of 2020. The MLC’s current five-subject Critical Issues agenda, under the banner of The Journey to M4.0, remains in place until reviewed at the 2020 MLC Annual Meeting later this year.
New MLC Critical Issue – COVID-19: Manufacturing’s M4.0 Response & Recovery
Widespread disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on manufacturing worldwide. Manufacturing leaders have been forced to radically rethink existing activities from employee safety, to production flexibility, to supply chain resiliency. They have also had to reassess their own leadership approaches and rethink the effectiveness of the corporate cultures they create. The need to accelerate the adoption of M4.0 digital and virtual technologies to support these changes has become critical to the way manufacturers operate, build, and lead their organizations, both today and in the future post-COVID world.
Areas of Focus:

  • Operations: Plants, Production, and Supply. Manufacturing facility and workspace design to improve all working environments, including hygiene, air quality, distance, people flows, and individual protection; flexible, adaptable, automated production lines and processes that strengthen preparedness and respond faster to sudden impacts ; focus on supply chain resiliency to reduce complexity and shorten response times through localized supply networks, strategic inventory, reshoring, and proximity production closer to demand.
  • People: Workforce, Culture, and Leadership. Redefining manufacturing health and safety, including new working practices and procedures to ensure the health and wellbeing of employees, both physical and mental; more collaborative cultures that can succeed in a virtual world; enhanced people development strategies and training methods for the new normal; leadership team involvement and awareness; internal communication policies, feedback loops, and frequency; enhanced business continuity planning and crisis management skills.
  • Technology: Virtual Tools, Digital Automation, and Data. Effective virtual working, conferencing, ecommerce, and product showcasing platforms to support employee, partner, and customer engagement; remote operations technologies including IIoT, AR, and Cloud analytics for monitoring, maintenance, quality, servicing, audits, mentoring, and training; cobots and robotic process automation to maintain production and enterprise productivity; the scope, effectiveness, and security of key data flows, sharing, and exchange; AI and machine learning for predictive insights across supply chains and real-time operational analysis.

For full details of all six elements in the MLC’s newly extended M4.0 Critical Issues agenda, please visit:
To access the MLC’s COVID-19 Operational Resources and Shared Practices, please visit: 

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