Manufacturing Leaders’ Summit 2018: The key highlights…

It's almost impossible to summarise the key takeaways from 94 top-tier contributors across more than 70 keynotes, panel discussions and interactive sessions in just 800 words. Here's just a snapshot of my own highlights from the two days.

Juergen Maier speaking at Manufacturing Leaders Summit 2018 - image courtesy of The Manufacturer.
Juergen Maier speaking at Manufacturing Leaders’ Summit 2018 – image courtesy of The Manufacturer.

“The UK can enter the history books in two ways. We can get our mojo back, we bring back the vital role manufacturing and engineering plays, and we rebalance the economy – not just in terms of the North-South divide, but towards high-skilled jobs and wealth creation).

“Or, we can be the generation that missed the boat, who failed to get behind this new digital Industrial Revolution and we see our manufacturing base slip away as a result”

Juergen Maier on the launch of the £20m Made Smarter North West Pilot (learn more here).


“Manufacturers are wasting billions by ignoring non-labour resource efficiencies. Thankfully, just about every factory in the UK can make huge gains through resource efficiencies and become best-in-class without major capital investment by leveraging the know-how that already exists in our eco-system”

Martin Chilcott, founder and MD of Manufacturer 2030 ( learn more here).


“Some technologies will deliver greater RoI than others, the question is not where to start but where to focus. Select the technology that will scale and focus in the areas that support your business strategy. You don’t need to do it all at once, but you do need to know where you’re going”

Deborah Sherry, SVP and CCO at GE Digital Europe (learn more here).

Digital Manufacturing Week 2019 – of which Manufacturing Leaders’ Summit is a key part

Digital Manufacturing Week is a national festival of advanced manufacturing bringing together 6,000 manufacturing executives across dozens of events over four days in Liverpool.

Created by The Manufacturer, Digital Manufacturing Week is the perfect platform for forward-looking manufacturers to future-proof their business.

We’d be delighted if you can join us for the launch of Digital Manufacturing Week 2019 at an afternoon reception at the House of Lords, hosted by Lord Bilimoria, creator of the Cobra Beer brand.

18 February 2019 | 15:30 – 17:00, followed by drinks at the Red Lion, Westminster

Would you like to attend? Register your interest by emailing: events@hennikgroup.com

“OEMS are having to deliver an ever-increasing number of aircraft from their mostly existing and aging facilities. With Airbus and Boeing both targeting double-digit growth, they are investing heavily in new production systems and digitally connected supply chains to great benefit”

Enrico Scharlock, worldwide aerospace & defence director, Dassault Systemes (learn more here).


Generative Design - Seat Belt - Traditional Design vs Generative Design

LEFT: a traditionally, human-designed seat buckle | RIGHT: the same assembly generatively designed – courtesy of Autodesk’s Asif Moghal  (learn more here).


“If you digitise a crap process, you just get a crap digital process!”

Audi Lucas, CDO, MAN Diesel & Turbo (learn more here).


Amazon is rapidly and aggressively moving into B2B commerce and poses a huge challenge to traditional players across the supply chain. Depending on your viewpoint, this can either represent an opportunity or a threat. Oracle NetSuite’s Gareth Carroll explained what this means for manufacturers and they take a proactive response. (learn more here).


“We are witnessing a very clear employee experience gap. At home, people are using technology to become more social, mobile, connected and smarter. At work, unfortunately, the opposite is largely true”

Maurizio Pettorino, SVP for Salesforce (learn more here).


3D printing has been around for decades, yet it’s impact to date has been nowhere near as widespread or as world-changing as that of the internet. So, can we still describe it as ‘revolutionary’? Absolutely. Wilfried Vancraen, CEO of Materialise, explains how 3D printing may be a slow revolution, but it was helping to save and improve lives. (learn more here)


“What’s the difference between MES and ERP? ERP is the business system, it offers the big picture view and is used predominantly by office workers. MES is the manufacturing system, it has detailed production information and is used by factory workers”

Martyn Gill, EMEA business development director, Lighthouse Systems (learn more here).


Business Drivers / Business Value should be the main drivers – not technology IoT internet of things – DXC Technology

“How many of us have asked or heard someone say one of these statements?” asked DXC Technology’s Claire Walker (learn more here).


“To gain the greatest benefit from IoT, manufacturers need to collect asset data from multiple sources, systems and locations, apply statistical models and algorithms, attain insights through detailed analytical calculations which in turn recommend corrective actions. In short, manufacturers need to start thinking and acting like a software company”

Derek Thompson, vice president for EMEA for Dell (learn more here).

Vital statistics:

– Working through five North West Growth Hubs (Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Cumbria, Lancashire, Cheshire and Warrington), the £20m pilot will engage with 3,000 local manufacturers and provide intensive support to 600

– 48% of manufacturers say lack of collaboration across departments is a top operational challenge

– Unplanned downtime and poor quality costs North American process businesses over $20bn a year, 80% of which is preventable and up to 40% is the direct result of operator error

– 74% of manufacturers are trying to become more responsive to demand

– Around 85% of the jobs that today’s leaders will be doing in 2030 haven’t been invented yet, which means they will be performing tasks and roles we aren’t currently preparing them for

– The global 3D printing / additive manufacturing market has seen double-digit growth for 20 of the past 29 years and is currently worth $7.3bn

Five common digital pitfalls:

  1. ‘One-size’ doesn’t fit all
  2. Technology doesn’t serve business needs
  3. Project marred by complexity
  4. Lack of focus
  5. Seeking shortcuts

(courtesy of A.T. Kearney’s Nigel Pekenc – learn more here).

Question time

A panel of industrial directors and executives took to the mainstage each day to debate perhaps the biggest question UK manufacturers today: How will we win the digital revolution? and, how do we overcome the barriers to industrial digitalisation?

With comments from representatives of major OEMs, members of the Made Smarter initiative and the nation’s enviable network of Catapult centres, the two discussions focused on the opportunities, while being cognisant of the challenges the UK faces.