The impact.

Ahead of its 50th Annual Meeting in 2020, the World Economic Forum has welcomed 18 new factories to its Global Lighthouse Network of advanced manufacturers that are showing leadership in applying the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to drive operational and environmental impact.

Our Platform for Shaping the Future of Advanced Manufacturing and Production pioneered the Global Lighthouse Network, which brings together the most advanced factories in the world for a cross-company learning journey. They serve as beacons to guide others in overcoming challenges in upgrading systems and applying cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data analytics and 3D printing.

Members of the Lighthouse Network share use-cases and insights through real and virtual factory visits, incubating new partnerships to accelerate technology adoption and dissemination in manufacturing, and transforming the business models by which they operate.

What’s the challenge?

The global production industry is lagging in its adoption of Fourth Industrial Revolution manufacturing technologies, with more than 70 per cent of companies stuck in pilot-phases.

The Forum’s Platform for Shaping the Future of Advanced Manufacturing and Production identified the need for a neutral learning platform to showcase top-use cases, roadmaps and organizational approaches to adopting and scaling technologies from which other companies globally could benefit.

The global Lighthouse Network offers an unrivalled opportunity not only to highlight the transformational efforts of the world’s most advanced manufacturers but also, more importantly, to create a shared learning journey that will help manufacturers around the world, across value chains and of all sizes to access and capitalize on the positive potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Francisco Betti, Head of Advanced Manufacturing Industry, World Economic Forum

Our approach.

Now with 44 total factories, the network, established in 2018, serves as a platform to develop, replicate and scale innovations, creating opportunities for cross-company learning and collaboration and for setting new benchmarks for the global manufacturing community.

The 18 new lighthouses are:


Baoshan Iron & Steel (Shanghai, China): This 40-year-old factory adopted digitization early. Its extensive implementation of artificial intelligence and advanced analytics has allowed it to maintain its industrial competitiveness in the digital era, creating value for $50 million.

Foton Cummins (Beijing, China): Foton Cummins self-deployed IoT and artificial intelligence across its end-to-end product life cycle throughout design, production and after service. By doing so, it has improved product quality and customer satisfaction by 40%.

GE Healthcare (Hino, Japan): This GE factory, with more than 30 years of lean manufacturing, used Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies to transform into digital lean manufacturing. This has resulted in achieving the next level of performance – for example, cutting costs by 30% and reducing cycle times by 46%.

Haier (Shenyang, China): The Haier Shenyang refrigerator factory is an example of a user-centric mass customization model. Achieved by deploying a scalable digital platform that connects end-to-end with suppliers and users, it has improved direct labour productivity by 28%.

Hitachi (Hitachi, Japan): By leveraging a range of IIoT technologies and data analytics in engineering, production and maintenance operations, Hitachi Omika Works has reduced the lead time of core products by 50% without impacting quality.

Infineon (Singapore): Enabled by a digital backbone and people development, Infineon has used data, advanced analytics and automation in its manufacturing plant and supply chain network to reduce direct labour costs by 30% and improve capital efficiency by 15%.

Johnson & Johnson DePuy Synthes (Suzhou, China): This site has scaled standardized digital solutions developed in other J&J sites to drive performance improvements, including increasing productivity by 15%.

Micron (Singapore): This semiconductor fabrication facility has integrated big data infrastructure and IIoT to implement artificial intelligence and data science solutions, raising product quality standards and doubling the speed at which new products are ramped.

Procter & Gamble (Taicang, China): This young site leveraged Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies to build the first lights-off operation in P&G Asia and connect its E2E supply chain. It increased productivity by 2.5x, boosted its production agility enabling e-commerce growth and improved employee satisfaction.

Weichai (Weifang, China): Weichai launched a digital transformation across its end-to-end value chain to accurately understand customer needs and reduce costs. Powered by artificial intelligence and internet of vehicles, it shortened its R&D cycle by 20% and improved operating costs by 35%.


AGCO (Marktoberdorf, Germany): By combining digital solutions with intelligent line design, AGCO/Fendt can manufacture nine series of tractors – ranging from 72 to 500 horsepower – on a single assembly line with a batch size of one. This has increased productivity by 24% and reduced cycle time by 60%.

GSK (Ware, UK): This pharmaceutical site has applied Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies across its manufacturing operation, exploiting advanced analytics and neural networks to use existing datasets. It has improved line speed by 21%, reduced downtime and increased yield, delivering an OEE improvement of 10%.

Henkel (Düsseldorf, Germany): Henkel has developed a unique cloud-based data platform that connects 30+ sites and 10+ distribution centres in real time. This helps to meet growing customer and consumer expectations on service and sustainability, while achieving double-digit cost and inventory reductions.

Latin America

Groupe Renault (Curitiba, Brazil): Renault Curitiba approached Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies with a focus on improving employee accountability and E2E connectivity, engaging its workforce and developing a connected ecosystem across value-chain players including dealers, customers and workers. Results include improving its productivity by 18%, without major capital deployment.

MODEC (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil): Leveraging advanced analytics for predictive maintenance, a digital twin of its process plant, and a proprietary data platform to accelerate development and enable exponential scale-up of new algorithms across oil production vessels, this offshore facility has reduced downtime by 65%, making it a leader in the industry.

Middle East

Petkim (Izmir, Turkey): This 35-year-old petrochemical facility embarked on a digital journey to drive value creation. Self-developed artificial intelligence algorithms optimize process and product pricing by analysing billions of production scenarios, resulting in EBIT improvement of more than 20%.

Unilever (Dubai, UAE): In a drive to improve cost competitiveness, a local entrepreneurial team established a factory data lake and developed and deployed at scale Fourth Industrial Revolution use cases. With limited investment and in a short time period it achieved a cost reduction of more than 25%.

North America

Johnson & Johnson Vision Care (Jacksonville, USA): Vision Care has digitally connected its value chain end-to-end from suppliers to consumers, as well as implementing reconfigurable manufacturing, to achieve double-digit cost reduction and sales growth.

The 44 Lighthouses are trailblazers in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This year, we believe the Global Lighthouse Network has found the secret sauce to overcome pilot purgatory and generate impact at scale. Moreover, by now the frontrunners have two to three years’ head start compared to their peers. That should set off alarm bells for all manufacturers that are still busy trying to prove technology’s value instead of using technology to change the way they work. Enno de Boer, Partner and Head of McKinsey & Company’s Global Manufacturing Practice

How can you get involved?

The 18 new factories bring increased diversity to the network, with new countries, including Singapore, Japan and Brazil, as well as new industries, including semiconductors and agricultural equipment. Almost half of the new lighthouses are end-to-end factories, driving value outside the four walls of the factory to have impacts across their value chains.

Lighthouses are resetting industry benchmarks for the manufacturing sector as they are all taking operational and financial impact to new levels. Efficiency gains can reach up to 30% and are leading the broader manufacturing community to accelerate its transformation.

The Lighthouse programme has been conducted in collaboration with McKinsey & Company. Read the newest white paper, Global Lighthouse Network: Insights from the Forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, outlining some of the main findings and impacts to date.