Industry 4.0 and Swedish SMEs: An assessment of current maturity level and challenges

University essay from Lunds universitet/Produktionsekonomi

Abstract: Background In a world where the rate of technological change is constantly accelerating, it is getting more and more important for companies to adopt new technologies and processes to stay competitive. Most recently, the concept of Industry 4.0 has emerged as the newest technological paradigm within industrial management and has its roots in the German government’s technological strategy. On a high level, Industry 4.0 is the industrial usage of new technologies, like big data analysis, autonomous robots, cyber-physical infrastructure, simulation, cloud computing, augmented reality and internet of things (IoT) (Ceikcan and Ustundag, 2018). This is enabling machine-to-machine and human-machine interactions and, when implemented successfully, great value creation potential. Despite that Industry 4.0 is rather new, plenty of papers and consulting reports have been published on the topic. Some of these have indicated that the SME are not quite as well-informed, trained and prepared for this shift in paradigm. Purpose The purpose of this project is to assess the current level and challenges for Industry 4.0 adoption among Swedish SMEs by using an Industry 4.0 maturity framework to enable further development of the paradigm in Sweden. Research questions The thesis has two main research questions: 1. What is the current level of Industry 4.0 maturity among Swedish SMEs? 2. What challenges are Swedish SMEs experiencing when implementing Industry 4.0? Methodology The research methodology can be divided into three steps. Firstly, an Industry 4.0 maturity assessment model was chosen from already existing ones, based on three criteria: comprehensiveness, practicality and proven track-record. The Impuls Industry 4.0 assessment model were chosen, which is survey-based. Secondly, the survey was sent out to companies and the responses were collected. Lastly, the results were analyzed and discussed based on previous research on the topic. Conclusions The main conclusion related to RQ 1 is that the maturity level of Swedish SMEs is low, with an average maturity level of 1,17 on a scale from 0 to 5. No strong relationship was found between maturity level and size or revenue. The main conclusion related to RQ 2 is that the lack of financial resources, business and customer incompatibility together with technological, knowledge and know how issues are the biggest challenges faced by Swedish SMEs when implementing Industry 4.0. Furthermore, the lack of financial resources is SME specific and had not been identified as a main challenge in previous studies. Keywords Industry 4.0, Fourth industrial revolution, Automation, Cyber-physical systems, Smart factory Maturity assessment, SME

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