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Tuesday 06 September 2016

Introducing the Executive Master in Manufacturing Automation & Digital Transformation (EMMA)

The world of manufacturing is undergoing what academic experts and industry leaders are already calling the "fourth industrial revolution" or "Industry 4.0" (one of many buzz-words being used to brand the phenomenon, another one being "The Factory of The Future").

The digital and automation revolution is indeed a complex phenomenon, which cannot be realised in only technological advancement; rather a systemic transformation which combines several technologies, some already mature, others truly new, with societal and macro-economic changes which are rapidly evolving the contextual conditions for the adoption of such technologies.

It is not by chance that in recent years one of the countries which bought more industrial robots is China, and that one of the leading industrial automation providers, the German Company KUKA, has been recently acquired by Chinese investors. In other words, the entire complex socio-technical system which we call manufacturing is being disrupted by technology, as well as by the new business and management model that such technologies are enabling.

It is a systemic revolution that requires a systemic view: on one hand a number of technologies have reached such a mature stage in their development which allows adoption by a critical mass of users, on the other hand, innovative business and managerial models are emerging to take full advantage of such new capabilities.


  • Robotics and Automation
  • Augmented reality
  • Virtual reality
  • 3D Printing/additive manufacturing
  • Internet of things
  • Cloud technology and cluster computing
  • Intuitive UX

These technologies together enable three fundamental capabilities: Virtualisation, human/machine collaboration, and real-time communication. These capabilities are themselves enablers of an array of managerial and business model innovations (some which are well known and for which technology will be a major accelerator) which are shifting the way products and services are designed, engineered, produced and distributed. It is an evolution of the entire end-to-end value chain, not just production. "The Factory of the Future" indeed begins outside the factory, as new technologies allow faster and smarter virtual prototyping, which allow to design better products, which are co-designed together with customers, and customised to individual specs, at the same cost of mass-production; as well as products that can communicate via sensor throughout the entire supply chain and throughout their entire life cycle.

Managerial/Business innovations:

  • Agile product development and disruptive innovation
  • Business Model Innovation
  • Lean Production
  • Synchronised supply chains
  • Mass customisation
  • Self-organising Company
  • Customer value co-creation
  • Predictive big-data analytics
  • Circular economy

The gap and the opportunity
Such systemic transformation requires people who can see the whole picture, not just a part. The factory of the future requires managers with a deep understanding of technology, and of the end-to-end value chain of manufacturing; engineers who work collaboratively and across the "siloes" which typically are created by the high degree of specialisation which technology requires. Engineers are too often forced into technical specialities, and managers often do not go beneath the surface of technology, so often the end-to-end systemic view is lost and opportunities are missed. Often, investments in technology are guided by short-termism and a myopic understanding of automation and digitalisation as merely a driver of cost saving.

The past two decades have been characterised by the emergence of a new generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders which have changed our lives beyond imagination. Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, etc. have showed the world a new role for technology experts in leading the fastest growing and most valuable companies in the world. Software Engineers have risen to lead the businesses of tomorrow within an increasingly technological world.

Now the same revolution is entering the world of manufacturing, and we believe it is an opportunity which can only be fully exploited by managers who have a systemic view and a profound understanding of technologies as well as innovative managerial models and theories. This is why we have created the Executive Master in Manufacturing Automation & Digital Transformation (EMMA).

The Programme
The EMMA is delivered in executive part-time format: five modules of one week each.

1. The modules follow the entire end-to-end value chain of innovative manufacturing: from research and development to procurement and industrialisation, to management of the factory of the future. Each module is dedicated to a particular phase of the value chain

2. Each module will have two core components: one technological and one managerial

3. Taught modules will be complemented by action-drive learning, and more specifically:

  • Project work
  • Experiential labs

A blend of pedagogical approaches as well as technical and managerial content is designed to provide participants with both hard and soft skills, in order to be true agents of change and innovation within their companies and industries.

The participants
The ideal participant is a young manager with a technical background, employed within the manufacturing value chain (either a OEM itself, or a supplier) which is willing to develop both as a technical expert, by expanding the domain of its expertise, and her/his managerial knowledge and leadership capabilities. The ideal candidate can be a professional in a variety of different roles, from production, to product and process engineering, to R&D to professional services, etc). 3-5 years of significant work experience will be considered a plus, as well as a proven academic track in a technical discipline.

Participants will be selected from a variety of industries, beyond automotive, including food, white goods, fashion, logistics etc.



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