Heidi Mattison never doubted where her professional path would lead her.
“I was an automotive baby,” Mattison says. “My father was a forty-two-year General Motors employee, so I grew up with the automotive industry in my blood. I always knew that’s where I was headed.”
True to her prediction, Mattison has approached the industry from all angles over the course of her career. Today, as chief information officer (CIO) at Superior Industries, a top manufacturer of aluminum wheels, she uses technology to support business growth in the face of industry-wide challenges. At the same time, she leads transformational change across her team of information technology (IT) professionals by embracing continuous improvement and foregrounding Superior’s vision for the future.
Mattison received her formal introduction to the automotive industry at luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz, where she worked as a packaging and process engineer. From Mercedes, she moved to Tier 1 supplier Robert Bosch, operating in a supply chain and production scheduling capacity. She then consulted at Accenture, helping clients implement enterprise resource planning (ERP) and business process harmonization.
After further stints at Stellantis and ZF Group, Mattison joined Superior in March 2021. “I’ve been on both sides of the coin in the automotive world—the original equipment manufacturer [OEM] and the supplier—and I’ve lived on the shop floor and in the administrative offices,” she says of her industry experience. “No matter what part of the industry I seem to be in, I’m equally fascinated and ignited by the goals and the mission.”
Mattison’s passion for the industry—not to mention her ability to understand and empathize with teams spanning diverse functional areas—opens doors for building strong partnerships at Superior.
“First and foremost, my role is to enable our talented employees, engineers, and operations teams to produce world-class wheels for our OEM and Aftermarket customers,” she says. “I see the business come together like layers on a painting, and my team has the opportunity to provide technology as the canvas.”
In her day-to-day work as CIO, Mattison strives to maintain 100 percent uptime at each of Superior’s manufacturing locations around the world, and to provide an exemplary end-user experience across the board. She also supports her team’s projects around application development, infrastructure, network, digitalization, and data analytics.
Mattison makes certain that her team’s work aligns with Superior’s broader organizational goals, from making data-driven decisions to reaching environmental health and safety benchmarks. “I’m incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by senior leaders who value technology. They believe we are the backbone of innovation and we’re critical to enabling growth at the scale and speed at which the automotive industry moves,” she says.
It has been particularly critical for Mattison to have a seat at the table amid Superior’s ongoing acquisition of UNIWHEELS, a fellow wheel manufacturer. “Our ERP initiative is certainly one of the most critical components,” she explains. “Having a harmonized and adaptive next-generation ERP will be a big leap in giving our executive team real-time data at their fingertips. I also want to create a multilayered IT architecture that will provide a solid foundation for bringing our company together post-acquisition.”
As Superior evolves, Mattison reinforces the company’s vision among her team—and emphasizes the part that each member plays. “We have a lot on our plate, so keeping our eye on the mission of the company and understanding that we play a vital role is really important,” she confirms. “For instance, providing a secure network enables our employees to stay home and stay healthy. It allows us to gather data from our manufacturing equipment and turn it into advancements in digital manufacturing processes and procedures.”
A firm proponent of continuous improvement, Mattison encourages her team to explore emerging technologies and engage with new trends. In addition, she sponsors team members who wish to pursue certification in Lean Six Sigma. Two members achieved their Green Belt in 2021, and one went on to obtain a Black Belt.
“Continuous improvement enables us to move forward more efficiently,” she says. “We’re starting to develop our own vernacular and our own patterns of working together within this mindset. It’s going to merge all functional areas into one very cohesive team.”
Mattison believes that a unified problem-solving perspective will give Superior an edge in tackling technological advances and industry curveballs alike. “It’s fascinating how the worlds of technology and business are colliding and merging,” she says. “The role of a technology professional and a CIO has certainly transitioned over the past decade, and it’s exciting to see where it’s going.”
Wherever that may be, Mattison is right where she belongs.
Thoughts from Guest Editor Christine Vanderpool
“The combination of a passion for not only what you do but also the industry you are in is key to having a successful career, which is the map Heidi Mattison has followed to become a truly inspirational leader.”
For 26 years, Thirdware has been delivering transformational solutions at the intersection of business and technology. We are a trusted advisor to numerous organizations like Superior Industries in the areas of IIoT, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA).