Forum Institutional

The Global Lighthouse network: how your company can benefit

The Global Lighthouse Network is a program of operational improvement and certification that now numbers 114 factories or integrated supply chains across the globe.

The Global Lighthouse Network is a program of operational improvement and certification that now numbers 114 factories or integrated supply chains across the globe. Image: Artem Dulub for Pexels

Enno de Boer
Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company
Yves Giraud
Senior Expert, Geneva office, McKinsey
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This article is part of: World Economic Forum Annual Meeting

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  • The Global Lighthouse Network is designed to help businesses transform their manufacturing operations, and more.
  • The network has created a playbook on how to best approach and execute operational transformation.
  • Joining the network will benefit any company wanting to make the right investments, at the right time.

Transforming manufacturing operations is something that causes many business decision-makers to lose sleep. That is hardly surprising: changing processes which may have been in place for decades carries a range of risks, which can include disrupting production, regulatory issues, breaking service-level agreements and alienating workforces.

The Global Lighthouse Network, a World Economic Forum initiative in collaboration with McKinsey & Company, is designed to help. This program of operational improvement and certification started as 16 production sites in 2018 and now numbers 114 factories or integrated supply chains across the globe. It features almost every sector you can think of, with consumer packaged goods, healthcare, automotive, process industries, and electronics production networks from Boston to Hyderabad.

Have you read?

The Global Lighthouse Network members have contributed to a playbook on how to best approach and execute operational transformation, taking risk out of the process. We have the data, the examples, the know-how and expertise to help organizations become fit to thrive in the next phase of the digital age. Manufacturing operations is a great place to start and can be a prime beneficiary.

Approaching change

The Lighthouse playbook is full of actions that businesses may already be contemplating or scoping. Building digital twins, for example, or bringing engineering and production closer together. Or perhaps you’re looking at improving energy efficiency or using data to get ahead of changes in customer demand. Joining the Lighthouse network delivers access to success stories and expertise as well as to benchmarking that helps assess maturity and global recognition. And that recognition matters, as it attracts the skills and talent you’re going to need to continue your transformation.

Beyond manufacturing operations, the value of the Global Lighthouse Network playbook applies to other areas of business too: procurement and sustainability efforts, for example. It provides a solid and credible path to full organizational transformation. The Lighthouse network approach is not about putting revenues at risk because of operational transformation, but safeguarding revenues and profits through operational transformation.

People and scale

One of the biggest inhibitors to success in the Fourth Industrial Revolution is that ideas, or even successful tests, languish in “pilot purgatory,” failing to scale across the wider organization. Those who can’t achieve scale, often through digitization across the value chain, will certainly get left behind. The right technology choices and investments at the right time are a big part of this equation, but people – their skills, support, and engagement – are even more central to success.


How is the World Economic Forum contributing to build resilient supply chains?

The playbook will guide you on this journey. No matter where you’re starting, being a part of the Global Lighthouse Network will help you climb the ladder, rung by rung, to the next level of success. We have learned that successful organizations don’t just see digital transformation as another initiative. It has rather become the wrapper to drive transformational change as a whole.

Join us: scaling the Global Lighthouse Network

We are immensely proud of the Global Lighthouse Network and all it has achieved, especially through the difficult COVID-19 years that followed its inception. But, with over 10 million manufacturing sites on the planet, we know that 114 Lighthouses are not enough to have the impact we need. To do that, the Network needs to become wider and deeper.

So join us. The WEF Global Lighthouse Network will bring you the support and guidance of a leading international network of businesses – and every company can benefit from that.

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