WEDC’s Lee Swindall (front row, center) led a roundtable at Chief Executive Magazine’s Smart Manufacturing Summit held in Milwaukee last month.

Milwaukee hosted Chief Executive magazine’s fourth annual Smart Manufacturing Summit April 6 and 7, 2016, bringing together more than 100 CEOs from around the country to discuss key strategies, tactics and opportunities in 21st century manufacturing. Identified as a critical driver of every organization’s manufacturing competitiveness, digital operations are becoming a key competitive advantage for today’s manufacturers. For this reason, the event was designed specifically to help leaders learn to effectively incorporate digital operations into their ongoing business practices.

At the event, manufacturing CEOs connected with top-performing peers to discuss best practices, talk strategy and build relationships with the best and brightest minds in the industry. They had the opportunity to hear from leading manufacturers based in Wisconsin, including Nicholas Pinchuk, CEO of Snap-On, Matthew Levatich, CEO of Harley-Davidson, Todd Teske, president and CEO of Briggs & Stratton Corporation, and Fernando Pelacios, chief integrated supply chain officer of Miller Coors, among others.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) was a platinum sponsor of the event and worked with Chief Executive to bring the event to Wisconsin. WEDC’s Lee Swindall led a roundtable discussion that explored the experiences of participants in managing the interdependent relationship between innovation, talent, productivity and profitability, with special attention given to the role public-private partnerships play in fostering an environment conducive to manufacturing excellence. His session provided a glimpse into productivity-driven investment strategies, which included the importance of conducting an extensive risk-reward analysis about investing in new facilities and equipment; launching smart manufacturing solutions; and developing the talent necessary to pursue new market opportunities.

In addition to world-class speakers and interactive breakout sessions, participants received private tours of Harley-Davidson’s Pilgrim Road engine production facility and GE Healthcare’s Electric Avenue Manufacturing Facility. Chief Executive brought the event to Wisconsin due to the state’s strong concentration of both makers and users of smart manufacturing technology, and a proven history of early adoption among statewide manufacturers.

The list of speakers at the event also included:

  • Rick Smith, president, The Additive Manufacturing Council
  • Mike Martyn, founder, SISU Consulting Group
  • Thomas Mayer, COO, Renault Sport Formula One Team
  • Matthew Mulherin,  president, Newport News Shipbuilding
  • Chuck Smith, president, NewHire
  • Alan McClenaghan, CEO, SAGE Electrochromics, Inc.
  • Ted Doheny, president and CEO, Joy Global
  • Patrick Dempsey, president and CEO, Barnes Group
  • Dean Bartles, executive director, Design and Manufacturing Innovation Institute

(May 2016)