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Validation and Ranking of Challenges in Digital Transformation towards Industry 4.0

A multi-case study in Swedish manufacturing SMEs

Written by A. Aminzoui, J. Knapp

Paper category

Master Thesis


Business Administration>Management




Master Thesis: The challenge of digitalization and the challenge of I4.02.2.1 verification and ranking The starting point of the analysis in the paper by Zangiacomi et al. (2020) are three very important dimensions from a management perspective in the digital transformation to I4.0. In addition, they identified five challenges for each of the dimensions shown in Figure 1. All challenges propose suggestions and practices to deal with these challenges, but these are not shown or explained in this article. Regarding these three dimensions, they need to be regarded as interrelated and must be considered in an integrated manner in order to move towards I4.0 through a digital transformation path. The first dimension "investment in I4.0 technology" is of great significance. The impact on the other two dimensions, in fact, these dimensions are part of the "I4.0 technology investment". The first four challenges in the first dimension "investing in I4.0 technology" are indeed derived from the logic of the theme, but for the last challenge "adopting lean management methods before investing in I4.0" seems confusing at first glance , But it makes sense as Zanjacomi et al. (2020) Discuss how lean management methods become the best practices in all stages of the implementation of new technologies. The second dimension "the ability to perceive the path of digital transformation" pays more attention to pre-awareness and understanding of potential impacts. In order to successfully carry out digital transformation, these potential impacts must be dealt with systematically. The third dimension "knowledge sharing" involves the collaboration and development of internal and external knowledge sources. Knowledge sharing is also a key dimension in other areas, for example for innovation purposes, but in this case it focuses on partnerships and skills transfer related to the implementation of I4.0 technology. For supplementary reasons for many other purposes, cooperation is required (ibid.). 2.2.2 Comparison of challenges discussed in other studies The 15 challenges identified by Zangiacomi et al. (2020) is the result of an analysis of the company's internal documents and many in-depth interviews with CEOs, R&D managers and operations managers of Italian companies of different sizes and business sectors. There are several reasons for choosing these special challenges in this article; this research was recently completed and published in 2020, which is highly relevant. The authors also admit that their research lacks particularity because they consider large and small companies from different business sectors, which means that further research on manufacturing SME Zangiacomi et al. is needed. (2020) Research is based on three key dimensions, involving soft issues (knowledge, training, understanding, etc.) and hard issues (investment, strategy, etc.). 2.3 Industry 4.0 2.3.1 Basic concepts and concepts I4.0 is a concept in the manufacturing industry, covering many activities from the design stage to logistics activities (Zheng et al., 2018). The required digital transformation is undergoing a comprehensive supply chain (Kilimis Et al., 2019). The adoption of I4.0 has led to technological advancements in customized products, increased resource productivity, and improved information sharing (Zangiacomi et al., 2020). I4.0 is a concept that combines the production process with information technology and technology (Nowotarski and Pasławski, 2017) to add value to the entire product life cycle (Frank et al., 2019) and promote communication (Lu, 2017). Manufacturing I4.0 consists of information exchange and production units and machine intelligence work (Qinet al., 2016). Hirman, Benesova, Steiner & Tupa (2019) demonstrated nine technical fields that transform production from standard production to automated production, including robotics, simulation, big data, horizontal and vertical system integration, additive manufacturing and augmented reality, physical Internet of Things (IoT), network security, cloud computing. Zhong et al. (2017) proposed the last three technical areas, all nine technologies are summarized in Figure 3, Rüßmann et al. (2015). Nevertheless, many companies are not aware of the I4.0 challenges and consequences they will face in the implementation process (Alonso et al., 2019). The idea of ​​I4.0 is to improve quality and production and increase manufacturing flexibility, and allow the industry to provide customized products in a short time (Zhong et al., 2017). According to Rüßmann et al. (2015), I4.0 will improve productivity and logistics efficiency among many factors, and strengthen the cooperation between people and machines. In addition, the author claims that significant changes must take place in business models, organizational structures, partnerships, and standardization. I4.0 has great potential in providing a wide range of advantages for the manufacturing industry; flexibility, resource efficiency, operational efficiency, and productivity are expected to bring higher revenue and competitiveness to the company (Fatorachian & Kazemi, 2018). It also reduces lead time and costs (Lu, 2017). Industry 4.0 also helps to build sustainable companies because products, water and energy can be used efficiently (Stock & Stiger, 2016). Mejtoft (2011) showed that the Internet of Things can create value in different areas of a company, such as in manufacturing, where all items can be tracked and customized throughout the supply chain. In addition, the Internet of Things can collect data that is valuable to customers and industries, thereby creating more value, and the Internet of Things helps to create together through collaboration. The Internet of Things is combining global influence and capabilities to manage, coordinate and control physical industries and their products. Read Less