192: Leading with Productivity to Drive Sustainability Featuring Lauren Dunford, CEO of Guidewheel

192: Leading with Productivity to Drive Sustainability Featuring Lauren Dunford, CEO of Guidewheel

Improve productivity or work on sustainability? Why not both?

In this episode, we sit down with Lauren Dunford, CEO of Guidewheel and a member of the Executive Committee for the US Center for Advanced Manufacturing within the World Economic Forum, for a fascinating chat about productivity, sustainability, and innovation in manufacturing. Lauren shares how Guidewheel evolved from an energy management system to a full-fledged factory ops platform.

We kick things off with Lauren’s path to manufacturing, including her experience at Stanford’s MBA program and how it’s proven invaluable as Guidewheel scales globally. She offers a refreshing perspective on the value of education combined with practical experience in the startup world.

Lauren reveals the pivotal moment that reshaped Guidewheel’s approach. It’s a classic tale of listening to your customers – in this case, two power users who unlocked a 20% productivity boost using Guidewheel in ways the team hadn’t anticipated.

We dive deep into the connection between productivity and sustainability, exploring how data-driven decisions and operational effectiveness naturally lead to more sustainable practices. The role of AI in manufacturing naturally comes up and we discuss how it’s simplifying complex processes and enabling real-time decision-making on the factory floor.


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3 Quick Things from this Episode

  1. Aside from the important lessons an MBA can teach you, the connections that you make with others further along in their business journey can help early founders navigate challenges and overcome them.
  2. Sustainability is a big topic in manufacturing, but it’s not just about saving the planet. There’s a real business case for sustainability because often, the things that can improve it are the same as improving operational efficiency.
  3. AI-powered software can help to gather predictions and pinpoint problems on the plant floor. But the human worker will still play an important role on the plant floor and with the development of plant floor software.

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Tweetable Quotes

  • “Once you start bringing data into those decisions, sustainability is the natural direction because “do more with less” results in more productive and efficient operations.”
  • “Being able to use data to pinpoint the areas where you can grow in addition to the areas where you can be more efficient, from an investor standpoint, is just absolute gold.”
  • “AI-powered is one of the new things we’ve really leaned in to, getting more and more predictive and ahead of breakdowns or problems.”

Please Scroll Down for Recommended Resources from this Episode

Do you want to connect with other leaders that are moving the needle in manufacturing everyday? Then make sure to join us in the Manufacturing Happy Hour Industry Community on LinkedIn.

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EPLAN provides software and service solutions in the fields of electrical engineering, automation, and mechatronics engineering. They’ve developed one of the world’s leading design software solutions for machine, plant, and panel builders, providing data-driven panel design capabilities to manufacturers. Click here to listen to our full interview with EPLAN’s International Solutions Architect Sean Mulherrin.

What We Discuss with Lauren

  • Lauren shares how she became involved with the World Economic Forum and her experience so far
  • We hear about Lauren’s early career, starting with Stanford
  • What led to Lauren starting Guidewheel and where she saw a gap in the market
  • How the MBA and five years of work experience paved the way for Lauren to build her career
  • Lauren’s mission for sustainable solutions and how she came up with the idea behind Guidewheel
  • The moment Lauren realized she needed Guidewheel to pivot
  • The most important aspects of measuring sustainability and the tangible impact on business
  • The benefits of using data-driven decisions on the factory floor and why it should be brought into existing routines
  • The investor perspective on using data to drive decision-making
  • How AI can help technology solutions provide insights and predictive analyses
  • How manufacturers think about productivity and sustainability today
  • How has Guidewheel has evolved as technology advances
  • What a “factory ops champion” is and Guidewheel’s approach to tapping into those champions
  • Why manufacturing is probably the coolest industry to work in today

Recommended Resources

  • Guidewheel, the plug-and-play FactoryOps platform

Connect with Lauren and Guidewheel

Lauren Dunford | LinkedIn