Press Releases

Press Releases

MLC Releases Blueprint for Next Phase of Manufacturing Digitization

Washington, D.C. – The Manufacturing Leadership Council has released a new blueprint to guide manufacturers as they transition to the digital model of doing business. The blueprint, called the 2019/2020 Critical Issues Agenda, is the latest strategic guidance on digital transformation released by the MLC, a division of the National Association of Manufacturers.

The MLC’s mission is to help senior manufacturing executives and emerging leaders define and shape a better future for themselves, their organizations and the industry by focusing on the intersecting business and technology issues driving manufacturing growth. The Critical Issues Agenda encompasses the technology, organizational and leadership requirements of implementing the digital model of modern manufacturing, also known as Manufacturing 4.0.

The agenda covers five categories:

  • Factories of the Future
  • Establishing M4.0 Cultures: Collaborative, Innovative, Integrated and Connected
  • Transformative Technologies in Manufacturing
  • Next-Generation Manufacturing Leadership and the Changing Workforce
  • Manufacturing 4.0 Sustainability

The 2019/2020 Critical Issues Agenda identifies opportunities for manufacturers to become more efficient, more productive and even to develop new business models and services by successfully implementing new digital technologies and practices. These include data entrepreneurship, deploying artificial intelligence, the use of digital twins and providing digital skills training.

For nearly 10 years, our Critical Issues Agenda has proven to be a comprehensive and reliable model for embracing Manufacturing 4.0, said David R. Brousell, Co-Founder of the MLC. But what’s new and important this year is the need for leaders to develop greater digital acumen and for manufacturing organizations to deal with even greater volumes of data from increasingly connected factories and plants. If manufacturers can rise to these challenges, they will go a long way to unleashing the potential of M4.0.

The agenda is the result of a unique member-driven process designed to capture and reflect the views and insights of the MLC’s 1,500-strong executive membership. The resulting agenda is then finalized and approved by the MLC’s Board of Governors.

I am delighted that the MLC’s member-driven process continues to enable us to identify the critical issues that MLC members themselves have defined as most important in their drive to transform their businesses to world-class levels of efficiency and competitiveness, said John Fleming, chairman of the MLC’s Board of Governors and former executive vice president of global manufacturing and labor affairs at Ford Motor Company. The MLC will work tirelessly to deliver thought-leading knowledge and insights around these key transformational issues in the year ahead.

Full descriptions of the 2019/2020 Critical Issues Agenda are available on the MLC’s website and in the August 2019 issue of the Manufacturing Leadership Journal.


Founded in 2008, and now a division of the National Association of Manufacturers, the Manufacturing Leadership Council’s mission is to inspire and support manufacturing executives to achieve transformational growth for themselves, their companies and the industry at large through enlightened leadership. With more than 1,500 senior-level members from many of the world’s leading manufacturing companies, the MLC focuses on the intersection of advanced digital technologies and the business, identifying growth and improvement opportunities in the operation, organization and leadership of manufacturing enterprises as they pursue their journeys to Manufacturing 4.0.

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.38 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit


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