Labour 4.0: Developing competences for Smart Production

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Abstrakt

Purpose – the purpose of this paper is to study how companies develop and acquire competences to capture the benefits of I4.0 technologies. We argue that this is a fundamental and often overlooked prerequisite for industrial transformation.
Design/methodology/approach – In this study we report a process study of 33 small and medium sized companies engaged in the manufacturing industry transformation from different perspectives as either manufacturers or manufacturing solution providers.
Findings – Key findings reported identify a strong link between the specific competence development approach, the specific intricacies of the application domain, and the process outcomes. On this basis a competence development framework is proposed.
Research limitations/implications – The conclusions are drawn from a Danish population of companies in the manufacturing industry and are as such based on particular contingencies such as low volume/high mix, high skill, low tech and high cost. However, the findings are believed to be applicable across different sets of contingencies where the need to combine legacy and emerging technologies is present and where the human factor is central to leverage technology beyond predefined supplier specifications.
Practical implications – In a time of extraordinary investments in manufacturing technologies in support of digital transformation, the development of strategic and operational competences to support these investments are lacking behind. The paper develops a conceptual outset for closing this gap.
Originality/value – The research is based on the fundamental argument that in order to efficiently apply new technology, a strategic approach to the acquisition of new knowledge and skills is also required. The empirical research demonstrates that new skills and knowledge are often assumed to follow automatically from the use of new technologies. However, we demonstrate that this perspective in fact limits the ability to capture the potential benefits ascribed to I4.0 technologies. We propose that the competence strategy needs to be expansive and cover not only the technological competences, but also organizational and individual level competences. This results adds to our understanding of how the digital transformation of manufacturing companies unfolds.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftJournal of Global Operations and Strategic Sourcing
Antal sider19
ISSN1753-8297
StatusAccepteret/In press - 2021

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