As organizations learn from last year and prepare to capitalize on increased opportunity in the new year and beyond, Edwin Bosso, Founder and CEO of Myrtle Consulting Group, now part of Accenture, shares his reflections and advice.

Manufacturing in 2021: Creativity. Empowerment. Growth
Manufacturing in 2021: Creativity. Empowerment. Growth

Edwin Bosso, Founder & CEO | Myrtle Consulting Group


Even after exceptional disruption to organizations around the globe, the manufacturing sector closed out 2020 with its highest growth since 2018. The Institute for Supply Management’s Semi-annual Economic Forecast projects 2021 will bring economic improvement in manufacturing and services.   With the pandemic far from over and the economy still recovering from last year’s challenges, why is there hope for a brighter manufacturing future?

Sector growth in the last quarter of 2020, along with advancements in manufacturing technology, COVID vaccines and lessons learned by manufacturers all play a part in this optimistic outlook.

As organizations learn from last year and prepare to capitalize on increased opportunity in the new year and beyond, Edwin Bosso, Founder and CEO of Myrtle Consulting Group, now part of Accenture, shares his reflections and advice. 


What can the lessons manufacturers learned in 2020 propel their success in 2021?

While there were many lessons learned, three key themes were empowerment, agility and technology – all of which will be critical in setting the stage for 2021. We saw that manufacturing organizations need to empower employees in new ways to get products out the door without the same level of hands-on involvement from leadership. We also observed that agility in everything, from suppliers and logistics to staffing and shifts, made the difference between survival and failure. Finally, the pandemic helped organizations see the potential benefits of new technology and increased automation, forcing many to take a closer look at their legacy systems. While established manufacturers see these investments as capital-intensive and often lengthy in implementation, they are also beginning to take a long-range view of costs and benefits rather than weighing only the immediate ROI. It is necessary to see technology as an evolution that will take time to unfold, well beyond 2021. Yet, this is still one of the most exciting times in manufacturing.  


What key characteristics will define successful leaders in 2021?

The top attributes of successful leaders in 2021 will be creativity and risk taking. When the pandemic hit last year, there was a fear of the unknown and many leaders pressed the pause button, waiting for things to return to normal. While this approach was acceptable initially, it caused organizations to lose momentum as the crisis persisted. 

In the new year, the expectation will be for people to adapt and evolve constantly in order to be successful. Leaders will need to interact, invest and innovate much more than in the past. And, all these things will have to be done in an environment that continues to be very dynamic, in which the rules change on a regular basis. As a result, leaders will need to communicate frequently and empower their employees to be more creative and adaptable. Their workforces will need to know that, although 2021 will be unpredictable and transitionary in nature, they will thrive by taking calculated risks. 


How can manufacturing leaders become more agile and creative without causing chaos amid change?

Global turmoil over the last year provided leaders with a justification and platform for being bold. As boldness and innovation continue, leaders need to be anchored to a strong foundation. Organizations must be grounded in a clear vision, values and ethics, as well as sound management systems to guide them as they make strategic pivots. With the right bearings and “north star,” the focus stays on where the organization is going, and the assessment of near-term decisions fit into that overarching plan. When unexpected change happens, it won’t be as disruptive to an organization with a strong foundation in place to help leaders and employees adapt quickly. What makes an organization stable and agile is an internal link between ethics, values and management systems, and new opportunities.  


What do you see for the manufacturing industry in 2021? 

Increased consumption. Where 2020 was a year of staying in place for most consumers and making the inside of their homes look as good as the outside, the latter part of 2021 will be one of rediscovery and reconnection. People want to live full lives again, travel and reconnect with friends and family and consume. This need and desire to consume will have a positive influence on manufacturing.





About Edwin Bosso​
Edwin Bosso ( is the ForbesBooks author of “6,000 Dreams: The Leader’s Guide To A Successful Business Transformation Journey.” Bosso is also the founder and CEO of Myrtle Consulting Group, now part of Accenture. Bosso specializes in operations improvement and change management, and his project history includes work for major brands such as Heineken, Texas Petrochemicals, T-Mobile, Anheuser-Busch, Rohm and Haas, Campbells Soup, Kellogg’s and Morton Salt. A wide range of assignments has taken him to Asia, Europe and North America. He completed his undergraduate education at The Hague Polytechnic in the Netherlands and earned an MBA from Rice University in Houston.


The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of ManufacturingTomorrow

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