Rethink 2021: A Better World for Tomorrow

“Manufacturers do not accept that anything is impossible.”

In his opening speech for Rethink: The Manufacturing Leadership Summit, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons reflected on the world’s emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic and how digital technologies played a role in keeping factories open, keeping goods moving, and especially in keeping workers safe.

Timmons cited MLC research that “the march to Manufacturing 4.0 has become a sprint” as 40% of companies reported that the pandemic accelerated their digitization plans. Indeed, manufacturers who had robust digital operations in place were shown to be in a better position to respond to the pandemic’s disruption, and others quickly got on board with bringing in collaborative and remote operational technologies to keep production lines running.

In examining specific transformational examples, Timmons pointed to 2021 Manufacturers of the Year Dow and Hologic. Dow’s digital transformation throughout its operations eliminated 2 million hours of work in potentially hazardous environments and allowed for significant year-over-year gains in value, even during the pandemic. Meanwhile, Hologic introduced a talent management system that prepares its employees to work in factories of the future and halved the time necessary to bring new employees through the onboarding process.

In closing, Timmons hearkened to manufacturers’ unflappable determination and continuous quest for improvement despite any challenges along the way.

“We can build the world we want to see, and today, manufacturers are determined to see us through our crisis and build a better world for tomorrow.”

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