Mark has spent 30 years of design-thinking and practical experimentation with hundreds of factory teams in a quest to find and codify the common traits of best performing teams and small groups.
In 1991, age 26, he started his first software company, MVI Technology, collaborating with teamwork experts from Coca Cola, Kimberly Clark, J&J and Gillette, as a reseller of Maintenance Management Software. He quickly saw a problem; the focus of enterprise software was on planners and managers, but excluded frontline workers. This made no sense to Sutcliffe; far from improving things, the maintenance teams’ work became harder when the software arrived. To solve the problem he designed self-service touch screens for the tradespeople, hired coders to turn the design into software, and fortune 500 firms (including Gillette) applied it throughout their plant networks.
He sold MVI to CDC Software (NASDAQ) in 2006, relocating to Miami, Florida as President & Chief Change Officer. Once there his team rolled out plant measurement technology for Toyota and Ford plants across the nation and he was invited to serve on the board of an industrial enterprise software trade body. Here he saw what seemed like a dirty industry-wide secret. Productivity wasn’t changing much with these automation products, but yet again workers were getting more disengaged and faster.
He left CDC to plan a new company and in 2013 started Redzone Production Systems, persuading Richard Tester and Jon Clement to become co-founders of Redzone so they could bring a new vision to life.
With a lifetime spent studying teams and human behavior, Mark had become fascinated by the expert performance work of K. Anders Ericsson (of 10,000-hour rule fame), and the science of Complex Adaptive Systems when the idea for the solution struck like a lightning-bolt. The idea that social media and mobile technology designs could connect teams and carry new frontline worker problem solving recipes. He was certain the productivity and workforce engagement problem would be solved simultaneously, were inseparable and indeed could only be solved together; and so it has proved with Redzone increasing productivity and employee engagement at over 860 plants and for 429,000 workers to date.
In 2021, Mark became Executive Chairman of Redzone in order to focus on design thinking for long range company and product strategy and works with data scientists specializing in the science of Complex Adaptive Systems to study the effects of the Redzone Community’s productivity recipes. He has co-published a paper in the journal of complexity and runs a Customer Think Tank of intellectually curious business owners and executives to collaborate on new research initiatives.
Believing the obsession with automation to replace workers a fundamentally flawed idea unsupported by evidence; his obsession remains…to change the management of industrial work, by augmenting people with automation technology instead or trying to replace them. He believes in returning dignity to workers, and society at large, and returning profitability to domestic manufacturing. It keeps him busy. It’s exciting stuff.
One over-riding goal unites the whole team; to grow Redzone Production Systems into one of few software companies to top $1B in revenues as world leader in frontline manufacturing team engagement and productivity.