Drivers and Barriers for Industry 4.0 Readiness and Practice: A SME Perspective with Empirical Evidence

AbstractThe technological development is moving rapidly enabling manufacturing companies with new possibilities for digital transformations to offer products and services to current and new markets at competitive costs. Such modern technologies are, among others, discussed under the umbrella term Industry 4.0. This paper reports on the results of a questionnaire-survey of 308 small and medium-sized manufacturers about their readiness for digitalized manufacturing and their actual practice in this area. The paper provides empirical evidence for that perceived drivers for Industry 4.0 lead to increased Industry 4.0 readiness, which, in turn, leads to a higher degree of practicing Industry 4.0. The paper also finds that barriers make companies less Industry 4.0 ready but this apparently does not have any significant impact on Industry 4.0 practice. The results are of importance for companies in planning transformation processes towards digitalized processes.

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