The continuing evolution of the Global Lighthouse Network

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The Global Lighthouse Network is a World Economic Forum initiative in collaboration with McKinsey. It examines the future of operations and considers how Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies are shaping production. This growing community of organizations is setting the trends of the future with their use of digital and analytics tools across the value chain to drive growth and productivity, improve resilience, and deliver environmental sustainability.

January 2023—The scaling imperative continues

The second chapter of the Fourth Industrial Revolution continues amid global disruption, marked by the increasing impact of climate change, inflation, soaring energy prices, supply chain volatility, and talent shortages. Confronting these challenges successfully requires manufacturers to meet a new scaling imperative not only within their own networks but also in collaboration up and down the entire value chain.

It’s known that for any production network to succeed economically and sustainably, it must succeed both locally and globally. Members of the Global Lighthouse Network have crystallized how 4IR technology and working models can help companies succeed at both levels while being more resilient to a future reshuffling of production networks.

The newest members of the Global Lighthouse Network—bringing the total to more than 130—are engaging in transformation at scale, building and maintaining momentum.


October 2022—Opening the second chapter of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The newest members of the Global Lighthouse Network—11 new sites and four new sustainability lighthouses—are the embodiment of the success of this approach to deliver scaling as a new chapter of the Fourth Industrial Revolution begins.

Their stories reflect dramatic performance and sustainability improvements that reflect not only shrewd deployments of technology, but also a consistent focus on developing people’s skills and building the strategy and governance to support scalability. The following are among the highlights:

  • Reducing resource use by more than one-third while more than tripling factory throughput
  • Raising efficiency by more than 10 percent, cutting greenhouse-gas emissions in half, raising and at the same time improving quality—and in so doing, becoming the transformation template for a network of more than three dozen plants
  • Raising quality by 300 percent while reducing cost by more than 20 percent and emissions by more than one-quarter—for increased resilience in the face of inflationary pressure on inputs and erosion of pricing leverage
  • Increasing customer satisfaction and employee engagement while reducing material losses by more than three-quarters—and establishing a 4IR-enabled circular economy for electronic waste, enhancing long-term competitiveness

These breakthroughs illustrate that even at the Global Lighthouse Network, the opportunity and urgency for manufacturers to take action is growing even more quickly. The 114 Lighthouses provide a starting point for others to follow.

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