MRO Magazine

2017 Manufacturing Leadership Awards honour top talent in industry transformation, Industry 4.0 and technology

June 28, 2017 | By Rehana Begg

Santa Clara, Calif. – The 13th Annual Manufacturing Leadership (ML) Awards Gala, produced by Frost & Sullivan’s Manufacturing Leadership Council, presented top honours to Industry 4.0 founding father Dr. Detlef Zühlke who was named Manufacturing Leader of the Year. The Dow Chemical Company took home the Manufacturer of the Year, Large Enterprise Award.

Winners of the 2017 ML Awards gathered at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa, on June 14, where they were recognized for their outstanding achievements. The program’s distinguished panel of expert judges selected Dr. Zühlke as the Manufacturing Leader of the Year from among the other 91 winners. Dr. Zühlke was honoured for his founding and ongoing leadership of the SmartFactory initiative, which, in cooperation with the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence, has become known as the birthplace of the Industry 4.0 paradigm of intelligent, modular and digitized production.

The Dow Chemical Company was selected as Manufacturer of the Year in the Large Enterprise category. Dow, now a two-time winner of the Manufacturer of the Year Award, was recognized for three outstanding initiatives that, together, represent a transformation tour de force. They included a massive, $4 billion new Gulf Coast plant that has become the largest propylene plant in the U.S., deployment of an ambitious operational improvement system that saved hundreds of millions of dollars, and a unique talent management initiative that helped to engage and inspire Dow’s workforce.

Manufacturer of the Year, Small/Medium Enterprise was non-other than nanotechnology start-up Pixelligent Technologies. Pixelligent’s breakthrough PixClear nanocrystals technology and PixClearProcess manufacturing platform promise to transform the already rapidly expanding market for LED lighting and displays and the devices that use them.


“The ML Awards’ top winners in 2017 are shining examples of the current era of digital transformation now coursing through the manufacturing industry,” said David R. Brousell, Co-Founder of Frost & Sullivan’s Manufacturing Leadership Council. “I congratulate these manufacturers and the leadership teams that made their achievements possible.”

Also honoured at the Manufacturing Leadership Awards Gala was Leo Reddy, founder, chairman and chief executive officer, Manufacturing Skills Standards Council, who was presented with the Manufacturing Leadership Lifetime Achievement Award. As founder of the MSSC, Reddy has been a powerful force in addressing one of manufacturing’s top challenges: the need to develop a next-generation workforce.

Twelve recipients of ML High Achiever Awards were also announced. The High Achiever Awards are presented to a select group of ML Award-winning projects. These ML Award winners received the most votes from the judges in each of the 12 ML Award project categories. Winners of the High Achiever Awards were:

  • VirTex Enterprises LP in the Big Data and Advanced Analytics Leadership Category for its Project Tandem Initiative;
  • IBM Corp. in the Collaborative Innovation Leadership Category for its Resolution Rooms Project;
  • Peterbilt Motor Co. in the Customer Value Leadership Category for its Dynamic Truck Test Project;
  • Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in the Engineering and Production Technology Leadership Category for its Mold-In-Place Inlet Coatings Project;
  • Ball Aerospace and Technologies, Inc. in the Enterprise Technology Leadership Category for its Design through Delivery Scheduling System Project;
  • Lexmark International, Inc. in the Internet of Things in Manufacturing Leadership for its Predictive Service Project;
  • CommScope, Inc. in the Mobility in Manufacturing Leadership Category for its  PickAndPack Mobile Project;
  • Keysight Technologies, Inc. in the Operational Excellence Leadership Category for its Lean Transformation Project;
  • ARCA in the Smart Product Leadership Category for its ARCA Care Project;
  • IBM Corp. in the Supply Chain Leadership Category for its Five Pillars of Supply Chain Operational Excellence Project;
  • People Against Dirty in the Sustainability Leadership Category for its South Side Soapbox Project;
  • Northeast Wisconsin (NEW) Manufacturing Alliance in the Talent Management Leadership Category for its Manufacturing Careers Awareness Initiatives.

Winners of the Manufacturing Leadership Partner Awards were also recognized. These technology providers played key roles in helping many ML Award winners achieve outstanding performance.

Winners of the Manufacturing Leadership Partner Award include:

Autodesk, Inc.; Demand Management, Inc.; iBASEt, Inc.; Exact, Macola Division; Leading2Lean; Logility, Inc.; NextLabs, Inc.; Paper-Less LLC; Parsec Automation Corp.; Smartware Group, Inc.; Tata Consultancy Services; Tech Mahindra; Teradata Corp. Nominations for the 2018 Manufacturing Leadership Summit will open in August 2017 at

About the Manufacturing Leadership Council

The Manufacturing Leadership Council, Frost & Sullivan, is the world’s first member-driven, global business leadership network dedicated to senior executives in the manufacturing industry. For more information, visit



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