The Manufacturer Podcast: What leadership looks like

Posted on 23 Sep 2022 by Tom St John

The editorial team return for episode 4 in the Leadership Series of The Manufacturer Podcast. How should leadership be implemented when approaching challenges that exist around people, sustainability and operational efficiency?

In this episode, we welcome our podcast sponsor Accenture. With Neil McTiffin, Industry and Transformation Lead Industry X – Accenture Managing Director, and Sarah Dana, Head of Information Software North Europe and META at Rockwell Automation, discuss what leadership looks like within the context of Industry X. You may remember from our previous series, Industry X is the integrated approach to digital transformation, which uses the combined power of data and digital to reimagine the engineering and manufacturing of products.

Our editorial team also briefly run through some of the articles in the September edition of The Manufacturer Magazine.

There’s all this and more in today’s episode


Neil McTiffin on how leaders should make people central to the implementation of tech

Neil McTiffin, Accenture

There’s a lot of challenges here. As a leader, you’re trying to move your organisation forward in what has become an ever changing world. Many of us are experiencing a global talent shortage in capabilities around next generation technologies.

And that’s been compounded by the general overall skills shortage that we’re seeing in operations. A lot of people are looking for a hybrid working culture, which doesn’t always play well to the operations and the digitising of the operations.

What we’re seeing is companies automating areas of facilities by using robotics to augment where they’d normally have people. This reduces the supply risk, they can run 24/7, they don’t take breaks and there’s no challenges around sickness and illness. But of course, by automating and implementing robotics you then need a new set of skills in your people, and the demand for those skills is is very high, and the supply capabilities are very low.

The most aggressive organisations have a strategy  of moving into lights out facilities and eliminating people almost entirely. As the technology becomes more available, robust, and cost effective, leaders are going to have to continue to rescale their workforce for the digital era. I think the question you have to ask yourself as a leader is, do you have the right talent in your team to deliver those those digital transformations? If not, how are you going to get that talent? Who are you going to collaborate with in order to achieve that?

Sarah Dana on leaders’ responsibility on sustainability

Sarah Dana, Rockwell Automation.jfif

Sustainability is no longer a buzzword to appease the shareholders. Companies recognise the value because it enhances the efficiency – there’s a lot of business benefits that comes with sustainability.

It’s really looked at seriously and leaders are actually driving suppliers to share more urgency towards addressing sustainability challenges. If you look at the investors nowadays, 80% of them have said environmental, social and governance was an important factor in their investment decision making. 50% of them expressed the willingness to actually divest from companies that did not take sufficient action on ESG issues.

We have an overflow of data – large amounts coming from operational data digital transformation assets. This can actually underpin sustainability efforts, by making data work twice as hard to make better decisions. This is a topic (sustainability) at the centre of people’s attention and it’s implementation the responsibility of the leaders.

For more information visit Accenture

Listen back to our previous podcast episode in the Leadership Series