Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics

#99: Francisco Betti Head of Advanced Manufacturing and Production at World Economic Forum

December 03, 2020 Season 1 Episode 99
Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics
#99: Francisco Betti Head of Advanced Manufacturing and Production at World Economic Forum
Show Notes Transcript

Francisco Betti joined the World Economic Forum in May 2015. He is an international development professional and is currently leading the platform for Shaping the Future of Advanced Manufacturing and Production, which was launched by the Forum at its Annual Meeting 2017, upon request of world-leading governments and companies. The platform is helping global leaders anticipate how advanced manufacturing technologies are transforming factories, business models and partnerships, and to understand the implications for the economy, society, and environment in order to shape a more inclusive future.

The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas. Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971, and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is tied to no political, partisan, or national interests.

Prior to joining the World Economic Forum, Francisco worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers SA in Geneva, Switzerland, primarily running management consulting projects for international organizations.

Discover more details here.

Some of the highlights of the episode:

  • Changes the pandemic has created across supply chains and manufacturing across the world. 
  •  Geopolitical dimension of the global economy and innovation's  massive acceleration.
  • Next levels of transformation across different companies to fill in the gap that emerged on the supply side.
  • Transformation of operations and business models
  • Future of manufacturing and operations in terms of of artificial intelligence, robotics, analytics
  •  Resilience as a major competitive advantage
  • Automation and augmentation as a major investment to adapt to the new normal
  • Readiness for adapting to change
  • things that companies can practically do to constantly upgrade
  •  Future of manufacturing and production in terms of  different talents from across multiple industry 

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Radu: (00:00)

Hello, and welcome for a new episode of the leaders in supply chain podcast. I am your host. Radu  Palamariu you a managing director of Alcott global, and it's my pleasure to have with us today. Francisco petty Francisco joined the world economic forum in May, 2015, and he is currently leading the platform for shaping the future of advanced manufacturing and production, which was launched by the forum at its annual meeting in 2017, and is helping global leaders anticipate how advanced manufacturing technologies are transforming factories, business models, and partnerships, and to understand the implications for the economy, society, and environment in order to shape a more inclusive future prior to joining the world economic forum, Francisco work for price Waterhouse Coopers in Geneva, primarily running management consulting projects for international organizations, Francisco, thanks a lot for making the time. And it's a pleasure to have you 

Francisco: (00:55)

Delighted to be with you today. Radu, thank you for hosting   me. 

Radu: (00:59)

So first I'd like to begin by talking about COVID-19 and the changes that the pandemic has created, across supply chains and in manufacturing in general, across the world. And  I wanted to get to your 30,000 feet view in terms of, what are some of the main trends that you have seen by talking to senior executives within manufacturing before? 

Francisco: (01:20)

Absolutely. Radu. And maybe start by saying that we did run a consultation as we were mid waiting to there, the first wave of COVID-19. So that was about may 2020 w/ over 400 executives. So chief operating chief supply chain office, I think that over 80% of them acknowledging that their supplier networks were disrupted for the very first time, both on the demand and satellite side. And that was of course unprecedented. Now I think that what COVID-19 created, it's really what we could define as a perfect storm across manufacturing and satellite systems. That what is important to remember is that that perfect storm was already forming in the horizon earlier and much before the pandemic arrived. Now, one saying that is because if you look at the past three four years and you look at how the fourth industrial revolution and the technical, the transformation that we see today, have we taken a new speed and you combine, and you add that to climate change and inventive for sustainability. And you look in addition to how big global economy. And I could say also the geopolitical dimension of the global economy has evolved over the past few years. So when you combine, you know, forcing national revolution, climate change global economy, you could argue that there was a storm forming in the horizon, not what COVID-19 Brodie. And it's a massive acceleration of those transformations that were taking place and a level of disruptions with force unprecedented. And that force force manufacturer in South sublets system players to, to rethink way in which they operate 

Radu: (03:01)

Indeed. And it also, arguably we live in a time where it's almost like the crisis has become the new normal, and whilst we've never seen something like COVID-19 before we've seen either a volcano erupting or trade Wars or all sorts of different situations, which kind of force the supply chain professionals to get into this crisis model almost nonstop. And that brings me to the point of also this has created new business models and that has greater than has forced companies to adopt new business models. And I know that you've done quite a bit of work and research on that. So I wanted to pass it to you and maybe expand on some examples and what you have seen at the forum in terms of companies that have shifted or adapted their models to best feed the current reality, 

Francisco: (03:42)

Absolutely Radu. We saw massive acceleration of innovation, not just from the operational side of things, too, of course, response to the pandemic and keep facilities up and running, but also massive innovation in the wind, which in which companies are delivering value to their customers, companies were able to rapidly pivot and get started into e-commerce. And I think that that was the major manifestation, but we also saw unprecedented levels of collaboration across different companies to fill in the gap that emerged on the supply side. And I think if you look at how companies realize how fast they could innovate, of course the public health crisis was a major driver of feed. If you remember, but you know, when you go back to the first moments of the pandemic, back in March, April, the first driver that put companies should get that an accelerated innovation was the need to come up with new solutions, whether it was on the PPE front or on the medical devices front would be so companies getting together to start making PPE need to start making new devices and that screw sprints and cross company collaboration. 

Francisco: (04:53)

Now, I think that that made companies realize that, that it was possible to transform not just operate in, but also business model scale. And then we saw that happening when it comes to product design and development, when it comes with the ways in which companies interact with their customers. And I mentioned before commerce, but there are other examples of wild. And finally they win, which they let's say they design their operations for those new make any sense of value delivery to be put in place. Now, I believe that let's say the transformation of operations and business models is one conversation to change the way in which you interact with your customers, you know, develop new products, get into services, engage with customers through new avenues. You do need to rethink the way in which you are operating your company. And we are seeing that being implemented. 

Francisco: (05:51)

Now, let's say that at speed and across multiple industry sectors and just do to recap and mention some of the, what we believe are a bit changes that all of the actions that companies are taking to enable to get the transformation of operating and business models. I think that you hear that regularly from the activity if you work with, but in not almost every company is looking at how to diversify its own satellite system as one of the main pillars and foundations for reducing disruptions across operations, but also to enable them the transformation of growth, their value chains, they're all looking at the future, let's say of work and the future of remote control of operations. Eh, and we've lived that that's, that's something that will take more and more emphasis. They are working on flexibility and agility. What is absolutely needed back to the business models point to respond to consumers demand in new ways and at the speed that is required. 

Francisco: (06:54)

We have seen consumption patterns change radically over the past six months, and that will continue. There are new generations that were not new generations, but then what entire generations, which would, for example, not used to commerce, what E what a force should be at home, especially those who are over 60 and that enter the, let's say the e-commerce world. So do you know that that's a major change? It's a new, let's say set of customers and population, they common space, and then the need, I think beyond that, the need to ensure into and satellite interest parents, CNBC DBT, we know that one of the, you know, and, and it goes beyond just having end to end value chain connectivity, I think is the need to be transparent and visible would also requires, you know, new ways in which companies and their suppliers need to be working once again, to enable that that entrance transformation that will enable new business models now does to conclude them that why I believe it's important. And it's because if we look at the post pandemic war and we look at how companies will be able to drive growth, I believe is through the transformation of both operations and business models and new, new ways of operating manufacturing, satellite systems will enable business most innovation. It may not be surprised to you, but we are seeing more and more this conversation on innovation and new business models driven and led within companies by chief operating and chief supply chain officer. 

Radu: (08:21)

And I know that one of the most insightful pieces of research that you put together every year at the forum is the global, uh, lighthouse network, which showcases the most advanced factories in the world. So I think, I believe you said there were 54, so there were 10 new on top of the 44 last year. I wanted to ask you Francisco, from your perspective, what are some of the new trends that you've observed in this? Ultimately, these are the jewels of manufacturing, right? That the combination of artificial intelligence, robotics, analytics, these are the best manufacturing facilities in the world. What are some of the new findings that emerged this year when you put together the report compared to previous? 

Francisco: (09:06)

Yeah, absolutely. And a little, maybe share some context on the, on the global ed health network for those who may have not heard about it yet, but you know, the, the, the lighthouse network is almost a window into the future of manufacturing and operations. What we did is that we're not, we started out what we search in collaboration with McKinsey that was back in 2017. And we realized that most companies were stuck in what we describe as aspire look purgatory, what is [inaudible], it's the challenge they are facing, which means that they are over-invested in lots, but they are seen limited success when it comes to developing new applications and especially deploy them at scale and close their, of their manufacturing and satellite systems. So what we did is that we said, well, 70% or majority of companies are a, or acknowledged to be stuck in that pilot purgatory space, but there's a 30% who seen a significant operational and financial impact or radius, sort of in a nutshell, we developed a process and independent review process to scan, assess, and identify that recognize those companies who are literally shedding light, which is what we call them like houses in the, in the digital transformation of manufacturing and supply systems. 

Francisco: (10:21)

And we have, as you said, we have 54 of these lighthouses in what network to date from what across the world, from, from the UAS to China, going through India, Europe as well, but also Latin America and Asia, they are all very unique and quite amazing. As I mentioned before, they have all demonstrated significant operational and financial impacts when it comes to the adoption of very specific use cases. So here we are not talking about technology in general, but we are talking about the practical application of technologies in combination to address very specific operational and business challenges. Now what this Lake houses are doing is that they are setting new benchmarks. When you look at the results that we have observed, whether it's on productivity, sustainability, agility, speed to market, and even customizations, we are seeing improvement that range from 10 to a hundred percent. 

Francisco: (11:17)

So dabbling the impact, especially in the productivity case. I think it's revealing to see how, you know, new use cases driven by advanced manufacturing industry 4.0 intelligent manufacturing technologies are helping increased factory output productivity or year of course, product cost reduction. And so on. Now, when it comes to the Karen context and the pandemic, I think it was not a surprise, but we also saw this light. Campsis being probably the most successful when it come to, to respond to the new challenges that we are facing. And what is interesting is that if you look at it and you were asking about the latest findings, if you look at the, the latest development, there are four common threats that we have observed across all of them in the current context. And that I believe are going to become what we are calling, do double shifts. So chief that are here and will state in a post pandemic ward as well. 

Francisco: (12:17)

The first one is that they are all embracing agility and customer centricity as they transform. And they walk back wards on the operations, which allows them again, agility, flexibility. Customer-centricity allows them to respond faster to new customer preferences and changing demand and adust the production flows accordingly. Now, what that means, and it's interesting is that it may mean for some industry sectors, what we call small Cade, modular plants. So even the way in which facilities are being reconfigured, Europe is changing. And in the future, we will likely see more facilities distributed of smaller case. And that thanks to technology will have the ability to make a broader variety of products. Now, the second let's say durable shift or, or common threat that emerged in the pandemic that will likely stay in the post in the post pandemic scenario is what we call the niche, embrace supply chain resilience, and move away from just-in-time cost competitiveness into risk competitiveness.

Francisco: (13:26)

And the you'll realize that resilience is and will be a major competitive advantage going forward. And that, that requires rethinking the supply yes ecosystem, and again, to mitigate risk and allowed flexibility at the supply chain level. Now that's the third thread on unforgivable shift, which is there related to the fact that speed and productivity. It's a great scene, new and unprecedented levels. And I think that here going to soften, you know, people tend to think about just automation and robots, and that's not the case. We are seeing that all like houses or most like houses, they are active in speed and significant productivity increases through a combination of automation and what force augmentations workers and playing a major role when it comes to the adoption of the design and adoption of new use cases and are playing a major role when it comes to improve increase is and productivity and all that.

Francisco: (14:31)

Of course, in the current context with the additional challenge, which is, you know, leveraging our automation worker supplementation, to ensure a safer environment and prevent future disruptions as that, that may come from from new outbreaks. Now, the important point on that, rather thing is that, that, and I want to emphasize this is that all these companies have done a major investment in upskilling and reskilling, and that it's enabling them to take out automation and augmentation the next level. And then finally, I think is the concept, and that's the pool of durable threat and shift. Is there the fact that they are only embracing eco efficiency, that sustainability is becoming a key driver of their resilience and race management strategy. And not just to complain, I'd say it's not just because we need to comply with new regulatory and urinary landscape, but it's also because it's the right thing to do.

Francisco: (15:29)

And companies are observing that today. Things should technology. It is possible to drive productivity and curious increases, reduce cost, and be more sustainable at the same time. Maybe one, one observation. I know that you're, you're out and this may lead to for pregnant sub-agents Sophie. So I think that what is interesting to observe is that again, the sustainability conversation, it's more than more a topic that is driven within companies by chief operating and satelliting officers. So the ones who are at the forefront of the transformation of manufacturing, supply systems, out of the ones who are embracing and leading the, let's say the sustainability revolution manufacturer. And I believe that that's, that's a major change compared to two and a year ago.

Radu: (16:10)

And I want to, I want to ask your, your perspective because was this 54? And I do actually want to encourage everybody to read the report. And it's fascinating. I read it several times. It's, there's quite a lot of content and many, many years with case studies. So this 54 factories that are spread across the world, they're the best in class. Now, I guess my question to your point of companies being stuck, trial and error, and you know, different testing and, you know, pilot purgatory, as you called it very vividly, what would be your advice to the thousands upon thousands of other factories, right? And other manufacturing plants across the world? How could they, because you know, we're not going to have 2000, 3000, you know, lighthouses, but what would be the low hanging fruit that may be even smaller or medium size companies and their factories could look at to, you know, move the needle to the next steps in terms of their industry 4.0,

Francisco: (17:06)

That's a big question. I think that probably one of the reasons of why many are still starting pilot for get a risk course, there is a sort of an obsession for them by technology, right? We tend to focus a lot on technology, but we forget that too successful in drive the digital transformation of manufacturing. There are a series of enablers that are essential and that companies need to, to work on. And that's, what's one of the most working findings of this network, right? The digital transformation journey. It's not a technology driven conversation. Yes, technology played a major role, but it's a broader company strategy in which we have elements such as war core workforce transformation, scaling, and reskilling, or lighthouses got massively invested in training programs for the shop floor operators and engineers. It has to do with mindset change and change management and finding new ways through which companies can create a pulling effect versus a push in effect to use cases and new solutions.

Francisco: (18:10)

It has to do as well with the need to, as I mentioned before, to think about, long-term not just about short-term cost reduction, which would have been always the challenging operations, but you not be able to embrace an new, they mentioned such as sustainability as we were discussing before. The most important point is that we call them like houses. People tend to refer to them to a window into the future or factories of the future. Let me just be clear. I mean, these satellites say they are shedding light on how the future of manufacturing will look like, but we haven't found the factory of the future. Yet the factor of the future product doesn't exist. This is a continuous improvement and learning journey, not what we have in the network. You see in older companies would clear the most straight impact. And we have some companies which might fall.

Francisco: (19:02)

I mean, the definition of is needs. So with the talent in one, but we even have companies who may fall into the DSME category and what able to, to transform themselves by using, for example, commercial technology. We have a great example of a company using commercial smart watches that they have receptive to monitor for the, for the bright toes and the shop for engineers to monitor operations in real time and get, you know, alerts and, and sign certain signals. So, eh, I think that district conclude, I think it's that you're not, it's not a technology plate only. You're not, you need to work on all the neighbors and have a company brought strategy. That's what all the houses have done. It's an ecosystem playing as well, collaborating with local testbeds capability centers and universities, working with your network of suppliers and customers in an integrated way. I mean, that's essential as well. It is an ecosystem blade. And then finally being aware that it doesn't matter whether you are a large company with a lot of funding for development or for a small company with limited resources, there may be technologies and solutions that are affordable at all levels. This is all about taking your digital transformation to the next level, to improve a productivity efficiency, reduce scores, while enabling workforce transformation and sustainability

Radu: (20:27)

And on the topic of mindset, which is usually the biggest impediment to change his own mindset. So I'd like to double click a little bit and focus on that and zero in and ask you from what you have observed, and maybe from the companies that might move a little bit slower. What are some of the main shifts in the mindset of their, whether they're at the CEO level, those your chief supply chain officer level, the two things still need to be made in order for this change to be accelerated.

Francisco: (20:56)

Absolutely. And, and what we can observe is that those companies were really ahead of the curve and ahead of the game, work on that mindset change and three levels, you know, CEOs and CFOs and CTOs were convinced, but they weren't convinced because they run the right analysis and they saw the potential return on investment, right? So there was a strong business case for making this happen. And this is when this connects back to the business model conversation, you know, that there were convinced about the cases because they saw that, that the digital transformation of their facilities and supply systems will not only help them optimize production and the delivery of kids, but also setting the foundations for new business cases and new business models to be developed and implemented. So let's say that the, let's say the reset mindset change that is required and that we have seen taking place.

Francisco: (21:53)

Most of these lighthouse companies that did at the top level. And if there is not aggregated that if there is not convention, that this is something we should be investing in from the top plants will not, would not fly. Then the second tier of which has been often the most challenging one is, is the middle management. And that's where at least some of the companies acknowledge that there was a lot of resistances, whether whether that was from the, the head of it, who raised the concern on cybersecurity or your boss experience managers, who, what do you do to drive the operations in a certain weight? And that we were not four years for a thing to be obsessed by and look at at cost reduction. And we are now coming out with new approaches to, to achieve that. And then finally the shop floor in 10 years, that operation, I think that for that serve tier, what we saw being extremely successful was companies who had, for example, their research and development teams working in close collaboration with the shop floor operators.

Francisco: (22:52)

And that created almost a pulling effect, right? That we saw companies who got new devices that made the life of the shop floor operators much easier. You know, they brought them in for a pilot and was impossible instead of taking them away because workers saw how better and how easier their tasks were made and facilitated with those devices. So I think that'd be important piece to drive and have this mindset change and also those three levels. But I believe that ultimately, you know, once you have the convince the conviction at the top, once your middle management is ready to embrace change and think about transformation, you wait, I think it's the engagement of your workforce. That automated makes the difference. I visited, not all, but most of the 44 counties, but also many of the other sounds and facilities that we assess and what we've through down the identification process. And it's fascinating when you go to the shop floor and you see, you know, our shop floor operators explaining the use-case is committed to taking them to the next level. I think that that's what, once again, people make the real difference here.

Radu: (23:59)

No, absolutely not. I could not agree more. And on the people front and give them the level of automation and robotics, where you have machine learning. We have a lot of technology that is expanding it, the cost space, and also taking a lot of the human tasks away. You know, a lot of them are repetitive. Every that shouldn't be taken away so that humans can focus on higher yield and more analytical tasks. But it's a very tricky question. And I don't know anybody on the planet, if anybody has the answer to this, but how do you see also the challenges that will occur from technology developing so fast? And at the same time we as humans might have a leg, right? In terms of adapting, learning, reskilling, upskilling, you know, how do you see this moving in the future? And what are some of the things that companies can practically do to constantly upgrade, I guess, this stuff.

Francisco: (24:48)

Absolutely. And, and if we look at rather, if we look at the, you know, it's very interesting how you're formulating the question. So if you look at the evolution of technology as a curve and the number of investments that were made on upskilling and reskilling across industry sector, and even at company level, you know, there's clearly a gap, right? And technology is developing exponentially at an incredible pace while it's not always possible to, you know, to upgrade skills in some way. I think that the main challenge is that with ready to rethink the way in which we approach skilling and upskilling and the way in which we have been, that, that until today, even in a very successful way to in countries like Germany, France, Italy, but also Singapore and other countries, you know, it may not be the way to do it in the new context.

Francisco: (25:35)

You know what I mean? The advanced manufacturing industry 4.2 intelligent factual context. My belief is that companies are more and more moving into frameworks of continues on the job training, which means that probably as a shop floor operators, you know, we will see programs that will run throughout the year and forever through which we'll be looking at new technologies. We will be getting people more familiar. It's important also to understand that let's say a generation that has to be, and it's probably not the younger generation, but it's the generations that are not digital natives who required some basic digital literacy to be able to then understand what an AI driven application means and looks like, sort of, I think it's working on digital literacy and using that as the foundation to move from a one off, into continuous on the job training for shop floor engineer, someone could imagine, you know, engineers going back and forth in between in the company job and universities are creating a cloth constant float and the different ways in which universities into the realities will be interacting with companies.

Francisco: (26:43)

Why not? I think what is important in this workforce transformation story is to say that 70%. And we have observed that through some process, 70% of staff risk in manufacturing remain human driven on manual, right? So manufacturing is still primarily a human driven activity. Yes, we are seeing out automation and robots taking off at speed, but the sort of automation is not new. It's, it's over a hundred D of sword, right? It's part of the cost efficiency and continuous improvement journey. What is important to note is that too, they don't information is mainly helping facilitate what was before a repetitive than generous or even boring tasks, but still we are seeing in many cases, you know, technology helping out meant workers capabilities I mentioned before. So I think that the automation trend will continue, but that doesn't mean that we won't need workers anymore. And also the other, the other important point is that, you know, we do need to take a step back and look at the automation equation with the product lens, because it's only when you look at the entire value chain, then you can identify those notes and pockets in which technology may have a negative impact on the workforce, but it will also be what's in the defy.

Francisco: (28:00)

Those focus on areas in which technology will help increase the number of workers that are needed. Think about the research and development side of CS design, post manufacturing services. We are likely going to see major job increases in those say, I think that finally, the question is not, how do we manage that transition in a fair and just way, especially for those segments of the workforce who are probably most exposed. And for that one back to the initial point, I think that's new ways of approaching upskilling and reskilling them moving into continuous on the job. Learning is going to be the trend going forward.

Radu: (28:37)

Final question. And I, wouldn't be curious to get your perspective on this because our day job being executive search and head hunting, and we are sometimes tasked by companies through their supply chain to bring talent that comes perhaps from a lateral field or left field. So we worked on a CTO position for a manufacturing company, and we wanted somebody to come from a gaming industry. There's a lot of requirements right now, or a skills, everything related to analytics, to data science or algorithms where basically a manufacturing company would find for the same talent pool as cooker, then Facebook and the tech giants of the world. What do you see as most needed for the manufacturing is for the supply chains of the world in terms of bringing the people from perhaps left field or a different industry best be creative and come up with new solutions.

Francisco: (29:27)

Good question. My sense is that if I look at it again, in order, we are in daily contact with many executives who comes from different backgrounds and often not just engineering, but I think that, you know, there's always be a degree of technical knowledge that will be required for people to justify operations, right? You need to understand how the facility functions and, and grant. However, what I believe is going to be needed more than going forward is people would come with the 360 degrees view that understand that to succeed in the future landscape cost competitiveness, and looking at ways on how to reduce, go through technology is not going to be enough anymore. That sustainability is ones who played a major role that you need to engage with your people in new and different ways that you need to embrace change management. So I think it's, it's, we're going to probably see a tendency in which we'll see more and more executive who may be half in new balance when it comes to technical knowledge and that's 360 degrees view.

Francisco: (30:20)

And by the way, what we are doing at the forum and through the framework of our platform on the future of manufacturing and production is bringing executive from across multiple industry sectors together to engage in these type of conversations that help them broader view and vision sort of, again, I think that, you know, we will need more, have more people with ambition and not just with the strategy, but then people with a vision who can then turn that vision into a practical strategy. And that can embrace what we have seen are going to be the major pillars of resilience, successful operations, but also the enablement of new business models, which is technology people and sustainability.

Radu: (31:03)

Thank you very much. Uh, Francisco, this has been very insightful and practical much appreciate all the sharing and all the case studies and continue to inspire us with the work of the forum and continue to put out great reports that I can not stress enough. And I have shared it with a lot of people that I want to share with our audience to look it up on the world economic forum website, and it's all publicly available. A lot of it is publicly available. So do find inspiration, hopefully there. So once again, thanks for joining us today. And it's been a pleasure to have you,