Industry 4.0 for the Marche Region: Opportunities and challenges
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Industry 4.0, recognized as the fourth industrial revolution, is characterized by the increasing digitalization of the industrial production. The new technological paradigm is linked to the concept of the Smart Factory, which underlines the increasing connections between products, processes and workers through the flow of data. After presenting a review on the different definitions of Industry 4.0, the paper highlights which are the main opportunities and challenges of this industrial revolution by investigating the case of the Marche Region. A multiple case study based on four regional firms is carried out to explore (1) which are the 4.0 technologies adopted and in which areas of the company; (2) the existence of 4.0 strategy; (3) the adoption of specific metrics to evaluate the performance of the new technologies and that of employees. The multiple case study confirms the central role of data in improving both the efficiency of the production and the relationships with clients and suppliers. The experience of the firms also reveals the need to continue investing in training to capture the potential of Industry 4.0 from a collaborative perspective. Regardless of the negative results registered in the latest statistics, the Region has introduced a regional law with a focus on Industry 4.0. This means that it becomes necessary to identify suitable instruments to assess the effectiveness of policy measures, considering the impact of regional and national plans on the
strategic decisions of companies.