Evidences from the German speaking area: what to expect from Industry 4.0 technologies implementation?
Since a few years, Industry 4.0 (I4.0) is one of the major topics both in Operations Management research and practice. Many firms made large investments in order to start their journey towards I4.0 technologies implementation. Undoubtedly, companies need to be supported in gaining a better understanding on how to focus their investments. Therefore, this research aims to provide some implications on what to expect from the implementation of I4.0 technologies. The current literature tends to focus on I4.0 as a whole, lacking for empirical analyses that can provide recommendations on the implementation of specific technologies. This study seeks to obtain evidence for three key technologies of Industry 4.0: Big Data Analytics, Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and Robotics. These technologies can be considered as important to secure competitiveness of manufacturing companies. The empirical analyses are based on a survey with 116 respondents from manufacturing firms mainly located in the German speaking area (Austria, Germany and Switzerland). Three research hypotheses are derived from a literature-based model that links internal enablers (or antecedents), technology implementation, performance and organisational structure. The main results provided by the study are: i) I4.0 technologies mediate the relationship between internal enablers and performance; ii) the three technologies have distinct, partially unexpected performance effects; iii) the organisational structure supporting the technology implementation plays no significant role in achieving a higher maturity or readiness for the technology implementation; iv) instead, the organisational structure directly influence the performance improvements in specific areas. The research provides both practical and scientific contributions. First, the specific insights derived for the three technologies can provide managers guidance in their implementation journeys. Second, having found different results for three specific technologies, the research underlines that each considered on its own instead of taking I4.0 as a whole.
contribution to scientific community
HSG Profile Area
SoM - Business Innovation
50th Annual Conference of the Decision Sciences Institute
November 22-25, 2019