Informations and abstract
Keywords: Industry 4.0, Local Productive Systems, smes, Alternative Models of Technological and Organizational Change, Manufacturing Renaissance
A growing debate in academic fields and in broader contexts concerns nowadays the impending fourth industrial revolution, and the emergence of digitally augmented productive processes and product-service systems. Often grouped under the umbrella-title of Industry 4.0 (I4.0), the industrial applications of digital technologies raise great challenges for manufacturing systems localised in advanced economies. Windows of opportunity for a «manufacturing renaissance» seem to open up. However, in some territories these challenges relate to loss of old skilled jobs and crisis of small traditional firms that could be substituted just by low quality activities subservient to I4.0 systems led by big-tech monopolies. This paper illustrates reflections and cases on the possible relations between technological change and a manufacturing renaissance, focusing specifically to local productive systems of small and medium sized firms in economically advanced regions (lps). Referring to an approach that has been labelled «Industry 4.0 Plus» (I4.0+), the paper maintains that new technologies should embed in organizational and social innovations at local and trans-local levels, helping lps reroute to models alternative to big-tech polarising solutions. Drivers and barriers to implement such models are conceptualised and discussed. Specifically, we offer a framework based on: the new interdependencies within manufacturing; the role of labour between displacement and new makers; territorial servitization; and related approaches to place-leadership and participation. The alternative models could trigger renewed bases for local manufacturing specialisations, cross over sectoral boundaries, and address societal and environmental problems.