The Manufacturing & Technology Conference in Collaboration with Future Factories

The M&T Conference is purposefully designed to help manufacturing executives and leaders improve their operational efficiency, achieve greater quality, and thrive in an industry that demands constant change.

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Registration is open now!

Learn more about how you can attend the hybrid 2021 event  & book your seat now!

Register with confidence: We understand that the future is uncertain due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so all registrations will be fully refundable for any reason until October 15, 2021.  Register with confidence knowing that if your plans change, you're fully covered. 

Keynote Speakers

Conference Speakers

In-Person Conference Tracks

Advanced Continuous Improvement

Tailored for veterans of lean and continuous improvement, and who may oversee multiple facilities, and for those who may oversee multiple facilities. Focuses on ways to sustain initiatives as well as introduction of more complex strategies. Topics include: Level scheduling; Just in time production; Lean inventory; Sustaining CI gains; Lean maintenance.

From Process Tools to Total Mindset: Leveraging Lean as a Learning Culture

The concepts of lean and continuous improvement have been around for more than 50 years, yet thousands of companies have failed to fully integrate and sustain this powerful manufacturing approach into their organizations. For those that do, lean tools can bring their operations into better alignment with crucial cost, safety, sustainability, production, delivery, reliability and customer expectations. Despite these benefits, organizations still struggle to keep lean methods in continuous use. A better approach to leveraging lean and continuous improvement is to view it as a journey that begins with tools and training and ends when a self-sustaining, continuously evolving, lean culture that is fully in place throughout the corporation. Freudenberg Sealing Technologies is well along on this journey, with strong lean tools and an established culture of continuous learning. Conference attendees will learn about some of the triumphs and setbacks that have marked Freudenberg’s 29-year transformation and leave with ideas about how to begin the journey from process improvement tools to powerful learning culture.

Vicky Jandreau
IW Best Plants Winners Panel: Lessons Learned on the Road to Excellence

Learn from the best! Attend this session to hear directly from the 2020 IndustryWeek Best Plants Award winners. These winning facilities have taken different paths to excellence, employed different continuous improvement tools, and certainly have struggled in different ways to meet the challenges thrown in their paths. Nevertheless, they share a wealth of characteristics: an unending desire to be better tomorrow than they are today; a workforce of problem-solvers, and leaders who encourage the best in everyone. Attend this panel discussion to hear the IW Best Plants' philosophies on leadership, employee engagement, improvement tools and more. And come to this session armed with plenty of your own questions!

Lean Agility – How to be a Proactive Problem Solver

Lean management principles can have a tremendous effect on a company’s bottom line. With the collective goal of reducing waste, lean management transforms a company’s culture to focus on improved quality by constantly searching out optimization opportunities. But, for lean to be truly effective, a culture of continuous improvement needs to be adopted throughout an organization, top to bottom. Lean management teaches workers to spot inefficiencies, errors, or potential defects in their daily processes and empowers them to implement their solutions across the organization. In this session, The Raymond Corporation's Keith Ingels will discuss how to approach work and bring value by finding opportunities to make work, processes, and flow better to adapt to customers’ rapidly changing needs. Ingels will talk about process agility and learning to intentionally see past habits and “the way things have always been done” to continuously improve and deliver effective, on time and quality products and services. And Raymond will showcase the importance of staying agile to look beyond what is “good enough” to arrive at what is better. The manufacturer also will provide guidance on how you can become your own best advocate.

Keith Ingels

*All session details subject to change.

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Energy Efficiency & Sustainability

Energy Efficiency and Sustainability (EE&S) has moved well beyond just trying to drive out excessive costs and waste at manufacturing plants. In today’s hyper competitive climate, it’s a core business imperative. The EE&S track will focus on the holistic business drivers and imperatives that are driving EE&S, case studies sessions, including lessons learned when implementing EE&S, and the change management issues with the people, processes and technologies that were affected. 

How Google Uses AI/ML to Improve Data Center Efficiency

Google's data centers are some of the most efficient in the industry and are powered by 100% renewable energy. Moreover, Google continues to transform efficiency and carbon-free energy with several new initiatives, including the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Participants in this session will hear about Google's historic efforts and learn about innovations on the horizon.

Raiford Smith
Manufacturing Panel Discussion

This panel session will discuss real-world success stories and lessons learned from the perspectives of medium and large manufacturers with energy intensive processes. These manufacturers will share their EE&S journey and how they view these initiatives strategically and holistically. It's not just about being efficient, it's about ROI.

Bob Bechtold Alex Floyd

*All session details subject to change.

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Talent Management

This track provides best practices and strategies to build a better workforce through this difficult recruiting environment. Topics include: Successful training programs designed to address the skills gap; Proven recruitment; programs designed to attract a new generation of workers; Staffing strategies for the automation age; Millennial management strategies; Defining the new manufacturing career path.

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Bridging the Skills Gap in Manufacturing with AI and Video: the Stanley Black & Decker Experience

Rapid changes in technology, an aging workforce and a shortage of skilled workers pose major challenges to the manufacturing sector. In addition, younger generations of workers prefer a seamless day-to-day digital experience in their workplaces. How can you best upskill your current workforce and efficiently train the next generation? For manufacturers like Stanley Black & Decker, the use of video is a preferred method for documenting work procedures and delivering rich training. However, while many companies already understand video's value, they struggle with a costly and time-consuming video production process. This is where AI, or artificial intelligence, can help by lowering the barriers for content creation, management and distribution. Attend this session and learn from Stanley Black & Decker's own digital transformation journey using AI to go beyond traditional training. Presenters from DeepHow and Stanley Black & Decker, an early adopter of DeepHow, will detail how AI helped the manufacturer drive a 25% performance improvement, a 40% reduction in training resources, and is empowering a global workforce.

Fabrizio De Pasquale
Creating an ‘Intrepreneurship’ Culture: Brose’s Transformation

Three years ago, auto supplier Brose was facing a potentially grim reality. The company’s pace no longer met the ever-increasing demands of an evolving automotive industry. Change was needed. Leadership looked back on what had made the 100-year-old company successful and zeroed in on entrepreneurship. But how would they empower 25,000 employees across 65 locations to make decisions that would drive long-term success at all levels of the organization? Lisa Basila, Brose North America’s vice president of human resources, will share Brose’s journey to “intrepreneurship”—creating a culture within a large organization that encourages employees to take risks, think outside the box and innovate rapidly. Basila will discuss how leadership addressed the initial denial and resistance that comes with any change process, and present details about approaches that have successfully fostered a more dynamic innovation culture.

Embracing a New Reality: How PBC Linear Is Using Augmented Reality to Meet the Challenges of a Retiring Workforce and COVID

Like many manufacturers Roscoe, Illinois-based PBC Linear faced a labor shortage before COVID-19, and the pandemic only intensified the challenge. The midsized manufacturer began looking to technology for help and found it with Taqtile and augmented reality. Attend this session and learn how PBC Linear is leveraging this advanced technology to reduce training times and minimize the need for manager supervision during training, as well as to increase engagement from younger hires and expand its pool of job applicants. Augmented reality's benefits for PBC Linear also extend beyond the workforce, helping the manufacturer to reduce scrap and better serve customers.

Hyundai Power Transformers’ 800,000-Pound Problem and How They Fixed It

Hyundai Power Transformers had an 800,000-pound problem: how to train workers to manufacture power transformers. These transformers, which can weigh 400 tons, require employees who are well-versed in all safety-related aspects of the equipment. Working with Alabama’s workforce development agency, AIDT, the manufacturer solved the problem with an innovative approach: virtual reality. Attend this session and learn how Hyundai Power Transformers and AIDT employed hands-on simulation-based training to teach workers the skills they needed to do the job -- without the risks of injury equipment damage.

Bharani Rajakumar Tony Wojciechowski

*All session details subject to change.

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This track targets leaders from all facets of the manufacturing sector who are charged with guiding their facilities and organizations through this transformational, disruptive period in U.S. manufacturing. The leadership track will offer expert insights on coping with quickly evolving government policies and actions, an influx of new workers and technologies, and new business models and global manufacturing plans, all while focused on developing high-performance organizations. Topics include: Leading through change and disruption (e.g., trade and tariffs, acquisitions and mergers); Positioning your organization for Industry 4.0 and beyond; Building the agile organization; Creating a winning culture; Managing multigenerational environments.

Igniting High Performance in Manufacturing

The quest for high performance was born in a factory. But a lot has changed over the years and manufacturing companies feel the brunt of commodity price changes, tariffs and trade agreements, overseas competition, and the global war for talent. They need to be some of the most flexible and adaptive organizations. Unfortunately, many get stuck in old ways of doing things and mindsets that limit creativity and change. Carolyn Hendrickson, CEO, Tandem Group, Inc., and Rick Dauch, Advisor to BorgWarner and former CEO of Delphi Technologies, have worked together to create high-performing executive teams and organizations. Carolyn will share real-life examples of how she has led manufacturing companies through a process to align executive teams to enable growth and profitability. Rick will share how he engages his senior leaders in strategy development and execution and how he created high performing cultures at Delphi Technologies and Accuride.

Richard F. Dauch Carolyn Hendrickson
Leading Your Digital Transformation with Business Impact

Multiple IndustryWeek Best Plants award-winner Intertape Polymer Group launched Digital Roadmap to empower employees with digital technology and usher operational excellence into digital era. Sundararaman will share the leadership journey involved in piloting and successfully scaling multiple digital technologies across 27 plants globally. He will also candidly discuss the framework developed for exploring technologies, pilot process failures, business use case development models, enrolling the plant leadership, and selling the vision to the senior leadership & the board. He will share how to win the CAPEX & resource allocation for successful scaling. And delve into the change management tactics and leadership mind-shift required to pull off a successful transformation, including the establishment of a Digital Academy.

Panel: The Power of Partnerships

COVID-19 brought some amazing accounts of collaboration between manufacturers, healthcare, government, and associations, thanks to visionary leaders and new technology. We’ll look at learnings that can translate beyond the pandemic to collaborative strategies that bring private-sector success.

Ethan Karp
Unleashing the Power of Purchasing: How Oshkosh Leads through Supplier Development

Corporate purchasing developments have been stuck in a tactical silo, mostly operating separately from other company functions and, for the most part, their suppliers.  Supplier development can play a pivotal role in breaking down the walls of this silo and in doing so dramatically increase the positive impact a purchasing department can have on company financials.  This presentation will review in detail several examples of these impacts. 
Attendee Takeaways:
•    Understand how to change purchasing from tactical to a more strategic arm of a company’s resources.
•    Be able to detail financial impacts of supplier development’s support of suppliers.
•    Provide a template for companies wanting to transition to more progressive supply management strategies and processes.
•    Gain appreciation for how purchasing must evolve over time to adjust to changes in business and markets.

Sean Ketter

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Smart Manufacturing

Designed specifically for M&T. Shares practical, forward-looking perspectives on trends, how they will impact you, why you should care, and what you should do to leverage your assets and claim your share. Topics include: A Simple Start to Smart Manufacturing; Future technology advances; Cybersecurity; Connected digital manufacturing; Real-time process control and data analytics.

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*All session details subject to change.

Leveraging Emerging Technologies to Drive Sustainability

Since the industrial revolution, engineers have accelerated technological advancements that have changed and improved our daily lives. These innovations are driven by an engineer’s quest to develop solutions to resolve humanity’s greatest challenges. Today, climate change is one of the significant issues to be addressed by the creativity and ingenuity of engineers around the world. Engineers are looking to the latest technologies to develop and build sustainable solutions that reduce emissions, while also cutting operating costs. In this session, Wabtec Corp. CTO Eric Gebhardt will discuss how emerging and maturing technologies are opening the door for engineers to create new environmentally friendly innovations, which were not possible a few years ago. With the freight rail industry as the backdrop, he will highlight how Wabtec is leveraging technologies like additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, battery power, and hydrogen fuel cells to realize its vision to reduce emissions in the U.S. by 120 million tons annually.

Eric Gebhardt
Moving Closer to the Smart, Digitized Factory of the Future

The advancements in technologies from sensors and analytics to automation, IoT, and big data have painted a picturesque blueprint for the digitized, smart factory of the future. These advanced environments are optimized to use real-time data, both up and downstream, to drive efficiency, streamline cross-department collaboration, and learn and adapt to new demands across the entire manufacturing process. However, to date, the promise of a smart factory is just that—a promise. A completely closed-loop system requires extensive planning, connectivity, automation, digitization and IT infrastructure. Moreover, many of these initiatives need to extend beyond the warehouse and shop floor into supply chains and other departments. While the capabilities exist, the technology can be cost-prohibitive and difficult to implement.  
Moving closer to a smart factory may sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. This session will outline the essential building blocks manufacturing organizations should integrate to get closer to the connected factory of the future. Citing critical lessons learned from Flex’s multiyear smart factory plan, Flex will share insights on essential technology investments and use cases that are driving next-generation connectivity and information sharing. Presenter will also highlight critical smart factory benefits for engineers (virtual testing and remote support), customers (real-time and mobile product, scrap, and yield updates), and the factory at large (predictive maintenance, real-time monitoring for quicker decisions, and more).

Panel Discussion: Cybersecurity for Manufacturers in the Digital Age

This interactive panel includes a mix of manufacturers and security experts candidly discussing the role cybersecurity plays in today's increasingly digital environments. Panelists will address questions around the evolving cybersecurity challenges manufacturing organizations face today, differences between IT/OT security, best practices organizations need to embrace as well as the common mishaps putting today's manufacturers in harm's way.

*All session details subject to change.

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Processing Technology

This track will address important topics, trends and technologies across the chemical, food and beverage, pharmaceutical and petrochemical industries, with a focus on the development, management, and improvement of industrial processing operations. Plus, an in-depth look at the instruments that measure the parameters of systems that control liquids and gases in industrial processes.

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Focus On New Technologies

A closer look at some of the newest processing technologies in the marketplace that are designed to increase efficiency, productivity, safety and, ultimately, the bottom line, across the process industries.

In-Plant Perspective

A case study or application story discussing how a processor achieved success and made significant gains by implementing a solution at its facility.

Maintenance & Safety
Best practices and important considerations related to plant maintenance and product, process and personnel safety.
Material Handling
A closer look at emerging trends involving material handling in the food & beverage, chemical, pharmaceutial and oil & gas processing industries.
Process Control & Automation
A closer look at some of the newest process control and automation technologies, including examples of how these technologies have been integrated into process facilities.

*All session details subject to change.

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Virtual Conference | December 7-8, 2021

The virtual event will include a mix of top sessions from the live event and customer virtual-only content presented December 7-8, 2021. All in-person full conference passes will include access to the virtual event as well. Details on the full virtual program coming soon! To learn more about your registration options, go here.

Supply Chain

U.S. companies spend more than $1 trillion every year on transportation, warehousing, distribution, and enabling technologies to track and manage their products throughout the global supply chain process. It’s a huge undertaking, compounded by the demands of consumers for more products and more services in an ever-tightening delivery timeframe. This track addresses how manufacturers are adopting new technologies and strategies to meet their customers’ demands and expectations. Topics include: Risk management on a global scale – how to protect your supply chain; Omni-channel distribution; Corporate social responsibility – managing a more sustainable supply chain; Supply chain visibility; The automated warehouse; Autonomous vehicles and drones. 

Best Practices in Supplier Management
For better or worse, manufacturers are dependent on their suppliers to get their products made and distributed, and ultimately to keep their customers satisfied. This session will offer insights into how original equipment manufacturers establish and maintain strategic and mutually beneficial relationships with their suppliers.
Globalization vs Nearshoring
Does it still make sense for a U.S. manufacturer to have its production and assembly work taking place on the other side of the world? Are the economics of nearshoring production overly optimistic and counterproductive to serving a global market? This session will dig into the dynamics of the “making-it-there vs making-it-here” debate.
Supply Chain Technology
The digital disruption of supply chains has pushed manufacturers to devise ways to develop, produce and distribute their products more quickly than ever. This session offers insights into which of these new technologies are generating the best results, and which are still not ready for prime time.
Sustainability in the Supply Chain
Environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) has a major impact not only on how companies conduct business but on how they deal with their communities and the world at large. This session looks at how top manufacturers tackle important social issues while monitoring the activities of their global supply chains.
The Top Supply Chains in the World
Hear from some of the companies regarded as having best-in-class supply chains and learn first-hand how they manage key areas of their operations while keeping costs under control. This session will reveal what the top supply chains do – and don’t do – to maintain peak operational efficiency, day in and day out.

*All session details subject to change.

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Continuous Improvement Fundamentals

Targeted for individuals and work teams who are beginning the start of continuous improvement journey. Topics include: Introduction to Lean Sigma, 5S, How to create a visual factory, Choosing KPIs, Kaizen events, Value-stream mapping, The Gemba Walk, PDCA. 

Building a Problem-Solving Mindset
Lean is ultimately about developing the right culture, and that includes encouraging everyone to become a problem solver. Here’s what that means and why it’s important. And how to make it happen.
Lean Tools You Should Know
There exist a host of lean tools to help continuous improvement thrive. This session will detail tools the lean beginner should have in their toolbox.
Lean: Where to Begin?
You’ve decided to embark on the lean journey, but you’re not certain where or how to begin. This session will provide guidance.
Performance Metrics That Matter
What you measure is what you get. We examine key metrics to drive continuous improvement.
The Art of the Kaizen Event
Kaizen events can propel big improvements. This session looks at how to set up a kaizen event for maximum benefit.

*All session details subject to change.

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Who Attends | Previous Attendee Companies

Who Attends | Job Titles

  • CEO
  • COO
  • Presidents
  • Design Engineer
  • Director of Manufacturing
  • Director of Continuous Improvement
  • Director of IT
  • EVP of Manufacturing
  • Engineering Director
  • Plant Manager
  • Sr. Manufacturing Engineer
  • VP of Operations
  • Manufacturing Students

 Date/time conference schedule & registration coming soon!

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