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DDI Manufacturing 4.0 Talent Guide Prepares Manufacturers for Biggest Industrial Workforce Change in History

Guide shows manufacturers how to leverage leadership strategy and engage their workforce to maximize returns on their investments in Manufacturing 4.0

PITTSBURGH (September 25, 2017)—The Fourth Industrial Revolution has brought about manufacturing processes that are nearly completely controlled and executed through technology, which has radically and permanently changed the nature of work in manufacturing. As companies all race to capitalize on the latest innovations, only one differentiator will help them avoid commoditization: their people.

To help manufacturers engage their employees and implement a forward-thinking leadership strategy, global leadership company DDI has published a new guide, “A Leader’s Guide to Manufacturing 4.0: Four Talent Strategies to Transform Your Organization for the Future.” Also referred to as Industry 4.0 or Smart Manufacturing, Manufacturing 4.0 represents a collection of several major shifts in manufacturing based on technological innovations, such as advanced robotics, the Internet of Things, sensors, mobile services, 3-D printing, and data analytics, that have enabled manufacturers to produce materials by relying heavily on computers and automation.

“Leadership in manufacturing has been outpaced by technical innovation, and we know that the next 10 years will bring more change in manufacturing than we’ve seen in the last half century,” said Jill George, Ph.D., manufacturing practice leader at DDI and author of the guide. “As companies move toward entirely automated processes, they are investing heavily in continuous improvement of facilities, equipment and processes, but failing to upgrade employee capabilities to implement the changes. But people are the vital link between product innovation and customer demand.”

The report provides four major strategies to create the mindsets, skill sets and readiness levels to build leaders from the factory floor to the C-suite who can leverage new technology to propel the organization forward. Each of the sections provides actionable talent and leadership strategies that will unleash potential across the company, transforming associates from order-takers to valuable innovators.

Most importantly, the guide demonstrates how today’s manufacturing leaders must change to fit the demands of Manufacturing 4.0:

Manufacturing leaders today:

  • Perpetuate the status quo
  • Look backward with the intent on optimizing processes
  • Are responsible for the small-picture, focusing on sub-processes
  • Adhere to standard operating procedures
  • Use data for routine functionality
  • Inconsistently demonstrate interpersonal skills
  • Lead by command and control

Manufacturing 4.0 leaders must:

  • Eagerly raise the bar with a learning orientation, intent on replacing obsolescent processes, materials, and tools
  • Think forward, driven to reimagine processes to delight the customer and predict competitive advantage
  • Grasp the big picture, viewing whole processes, including suppliers, customers and all agility components in between
  • Extreme-lean practitioner, committed to creating smoother changeovers, shorter delivery times, and higher customer values
  • Apply analytics to predict and avoid waste

The strategies in the guide depart from traditional organizational practices that tend to reward and promote the best expert, while their teams simply wait for instructions. Instead, DDI teaches organizations how to emotionally engage all employees in their work, and capitalize on the potential waiting across a diverse and highly capable workforce.

For more information about DDI’s manufacturing solutions, visit


About DDI
DDI is a global leadership company that helps organizations transform the way they hire, promote and develop leaders at every level. With more than 100 industrial-organizational psychologists on staff, DDI has dedicated itself to the science and practice of leadership since 1970. Clients include half of the Fortune 500 and multinationals in every industry across more than 90 countries. To find out more information about DDI’s leadership expertise, visit

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