The 4th Annual National MBE Manufacturers Summit Incorporates Technology to Enhance Supply Chain and Scale

Because Industry 4.0 is not about disrupting business, it’s about disrupting you  

How are you creating the next intelligent reality for your company? A body of minority business enterprises (MBEs), suppliers, engineers, corporations, and thought leaders gathered in Atlanta, Georgia from August 11 through August 13 to explore answers to that question. The Atlanta Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Advanced Manufacturing Center at Georgia Tech organized the 4th Annual National MBE Manufacturers Summit 2019 to introduce the disruptive technologies and ideas driving the future of manufacturing.

Nearly 200 attendees participated in the three-day event. The Summit opened with a networking reception and ended with a manufacturing technology tour at the Kia Manufacturing Motor Georgia plant, all strategically driven around building partnerships and establishing sustainable business deals with a goal to help MBEs scale their companies. 

“The National MBE Manufacturers Summit has grown tremendously these past four years as we strive to help minority business enterprises implement the latest technologies,” said Donna Ennis, Atlanta MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center director.

“As the must-attend event of the year for MBEs, the Summit is the opportunity for them to fully have an immersive experience in technology and innovation, network to expand and learn, and to do business with international conglomerates.”

Creating the NEXT: Intelligent Manufacturing Reality, the Summit’s theme, aimed to challenge dated practices by developing smarter procedures and technologies to enhance operations. It also focused on implementing innovative techniques to drive production with a goal of scaling and propelling business.

Speakers Josh Ghaim, Johnson & Johnson’s chief technology officer; Amir Ghannad, leadership development specialist and culture transformation catalyst of The Ghannad Group, LLC; the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency’s National Director Henry Childs II, and Christopher Hall, deputy director of the Office of Small Business Programs for the Defense Logistics Agency led compelling discussions around innovation, the prominent trends that are transforming the manufacturing industry, and the importance of introducing the Internet of Things (IoT) into factories today.

Industry 4.0 is not about industrialized labor,” Childs said. “It’s about industrialized intelligence. It’s transforming the business world. Every single thing you think you know about business, or business development, will be completely transformed in the next decade, because the future will be full of thinking, creating, adapting, and learning machines.”

Corporations and government agencies including the BMW Group, Siemens, the Defense Logistics Agency, Ingersoll Rand, The Home Depot, and Grady Health Systems participated in Fast Pitch sessions. These sessions gave the MBEs opportunities to give 15-minute pitches on how they could solve the firms’ challenges. More than 60 MBE manufacturers and 18 corporations participated, resulting in 138 fast pitch meetings.

“The opportunities afforded to attendees have been invaluable,” said Joe Lewis, CEO of Flentek Solutions, an Atlanta MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center client and Summit participant. “All these people in one place, one meeting — I am able to build connections with all of them at one time.”

Launched in 2016, the National MBE Manufacturers Summit offers educational workshops and one-on-one meetings with large corporations, showcases innovation, and brings visibility to MBE manufacturers.

“The National MBE Manufacturers Summit is a voice for the voiceless in the manufacturing industry in our region. Many of us need this support to succeed in the future,” said Rony Delgarde, CEO of Global Paint for Charity.