Manufacturing Is Changing Fast
Randy Wolken, President & CEO

All of us are navigating in a less predictable, increasingly complex, and rapidly changing operating environment. Technological innovation is accelerating and reshaping societies, marketplaces, and policies on a global scale. These shifts create new challenges for leaders at every level of an organization in three essential ways1:

  • The speed and complexity of change foster volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. This widens the range of scenarios and forces choices by leaders and organizations in shorter time frames with less certainty.
  • Acute and even chronic disruptions multiply and amplify at faster rates. It can also shift from a singular, repairable event to a continuous, compounding condition.
  • As technology rapidly changes, it compresses traditional risk reducers of distance and time. This means disruptive forces shape and reshape wider parts of the operating environment, making threats more real, interconnected, and sudden. The COVID-19 pandemic provides an example of a global, rapidly changing, and disruptive event that forced massive change.

Most experts expect these types of conditions to continue. Many leaders are not yet confident in their company’s ability to respond. These ongoing and amplifying conditions complicate long-term planning and decision-making for leaders and will continue to do so. Preparing our people and organizations for these changes is critical.

According to Deloitte, there are emerging characteristics of leaders who can change rapidly. Traditional change initiatives such as modernization and optimization alone cannot keep up. Increasing technological sophistication and its corresponding impact on the broader operating environment requires reconsidering an organization’s purpose, approach, structure, and leadership. The answer is to begin creating exponential enterprises.

Exponential enterprises embrace changes by orienting their businesses around two dimensions2:

  1. An ability to win, representing the few and only things the business wants to protect from change. This includes a long-term strategic vision and goals supported by distinctive assets and capabilities that retain value in a variety of future scenarios.
  2. A capacity for change, comprising the operating model, capabilities, and leadership that allow the company to rapidly and flexibly adapt how it positions, delivers, and monetizes its ability to win.

MACNY is undergoing its own transformation to prepare for the future of manufacturing. Even though we have been serving manufacturers for over 110 years, we see how quickly the landscape is changing for members and how we need to serve them going forward. We are excited about our future, but know we need to change rapidly in some areas while maintaining high levels of service and outcomes.

As you move forward, feel free to contact me at [email protected], or any team member, to share your challenges and successes. Together we can thrive!