DOI: 10.3390/su151612559 ISSN:

A Socio-Technical Study of Industry 4.0 and SMEs: Recent Insights from the Upper Midwest

Katherine Roth, Kambiz Farahmand
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction

The implementation of Industry 4.0 is becoming increasingly prevalent in the manufacturing industry since its inception. The purposeful joint optimization of social and technical factors of organizations is imperative to the successful adoption of these newer technologies. This paper shares the outcomes of a survey conducted among a group of small, medium, and large manufacturers in Minnesota and North Dakota. The survey posed questions based on a socio-technical theory framework, Industry 4.0, and productivity outcomes. Insights were provided into how regional manufacturers were utilizing the socio-technical design framework to both integrate Industry 4.0 into the organizational design and extract value, such as increased productivity. This research identifies potential challenges, as well as advantages in the current socio-economic landscape for manufacturers that may be both impeding and encouraging the development of a competitive and sustainable manufacturing business.

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