5 Critical Positions in an Expanding Manufacturing C-Suite
Like most industries, manufacturing is undergoing a transformation, and while challenging, these periods historically inspire forward-thinking companies to lean into innovation and change. Decisions to pivot or evolve typically come from the top, and the first inklings of transformative change often take shape in the C-suite. So, many manufacturers are pursuing change by adding new expertise to their executive ranks.
Of these new, in demand positions, adaptive manufacturing companies will focus on the following five as likely stewards of change when adaptivity is integral to future success.
Chief technology officer (CTO)
CTOs direct a company’s technological approach, as well as its research and development. While a CTO’s responsibilities vary depending on a company’s needs and implementation roadmap, they usually include ensuring the efficient use of technology, implementing new technologies, supervising system infrastructure, and safeguarding network security.
With new technology constantly reshaping the trajectory of the manufacturing industry — including an expanding industrial internet of things (IIoT), robotics and human-machine interfaces, automation technologies, and more — it’s critical to have knowledgeable executive leadership to supervise the development, acquisition, and execution of new tech.
Chief sustainability officer (CSO)
Sustainable manufacturing involves reducing the environmental impact of production by conserving energy and natural resources. The CSO addresses a company’s approach to sustainability and creates a strategy for minimizing negative environmental effects. CSOs are instrumental in working with managers, employees, shareholders, and customers to create a comprehensive strategy for long-term, meaningful sustainability.
Environmental consciousness is increasingly essential in industry, and sustainable manufacturing also helps reduce costs and increase efficiency.
Chief supply chain officer (CSCO)
The past few years have been a never-ending series of supply chain setbacks and struggles, making the CSCO position mission critical. CSCOs lead a company’s supply chain operations by creating strategies to improve transparency, reliability, efficiency, and flexibility. In the current environment, CSCOs are helming significant projects like supply chain restructuring, reshoring, diversification, and more. Ultimately, it’s the CSCO’s responsibility to ensure supply chain resilience by anticipating and managing disruption and reducing the cost of doing business on a global level.
Chief relationship officer (CRO)
It’s not uncommon for employees to butt heads with one another, especially in periods of change and uncertainty. These issues often affect production and create a negative work environment. A CRO focuses on workplace relationships and develops strategies for improving them, which may include facilitating group meetings, ensuring employees maintain healthy boundaries, and leading discussions about current conflicts. An investment in a CRO is a reinvestment in workplace harmony and a positive company culture, which is crucial to attracting and retaining talent, fostering positive engagement, and enabling success at the individual and team levels.
Chief compliance officer (CCO)
The CCO’s main responsibility is ensuring all employees and processes follow company policies and procedures. This includes organizing and hosting staff training courses, conducting compliance audits, and managing compliance issues. CCOs also review current policies and update them, as necessary. As manufacturing reels from years of policy uncertainty and the evolution of workplace standards, compliance executives are an essential governing force for keeping companies on the right side of OSHA, unions, and other regulatory compliance monitoring organizations.
Hire with an eye toward positive change
Not every manufacturer needs to rush out and add all five of these positions to its C-suite. That said, now’s the time to think about the direction of your company and the type of leadership necessary for keeping it on the path to prosperity. What type of growth is in your future? Long-term sustainability initiatives? A focus on compliance and safety? Restructuring supply chains? Whatever your way forward, solid leadership starts at the top.