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Implementation and acceleration of Industry 4.0

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

Deadline for the submission: 1st of September 2018

Guest Editor: Roland Ortt (
Co-guest editor: Claire Stolwijk (
Co-guest editor: Matthijs Punter ( )

The manufacturing industry Europe has to withstand an increasing global competition on product costs and quality. Manufacturing firms have recognized that customers are not willing to pay high prices for incremental quality improvements (Brettel et al., 2014). As a consequence, many firms from the European manufacturing industry adjust their production processes focusing on customized products, improving quality of both the production process and the product to save costs and to realize a fast time to market by heavily investing in Industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 has been introduced as a term to describe the trend towards digitization and automation of the manufacturing environment (Oesterreich and Teuteberg, 2016). Nowadays, the visionary idea of Industry 4.0 or other synonyms like Smart Manufacturing, Smart Production or Smart Industry, to name a few, have been promoted steadily by different actors to describe the trend towards digitization, automation and the increasing use of ICT in the manufacturing sector (Oesterreich and Teuteberg, 2016). Industry 4.0 involves a structural change of the technology basis of the industry, allowing flexibility in terms of production needs (e.g. specifications, quality, design), production volume, production timing, more efficient use of resources and cost optimization. It helps to ensure that customers are better served and that optimization takes place through the entire value chain. This can strengthen the industry’s position as an engine for growth and as a source of innovation. It requires new skills and will result in new types of jobs. Industry 4.0 drives towards creating new concepts, business models and ways to create synergy.

Various European countries such as Germany, France, UK and the Netherlands have introduced action agenda’s in recent years to implement Industry 4.0. The uniqueness and aim of this special issue is to address the following fundamental questions:

  1. How to implement Industry 4.0?
  2. What is the current status of the implementation of Industry 4.0?
  3. How to accelerate the implementation of Industry 4.0?

Currently, the notion of industry 4.0 is an upcoming literature stream and seems still mainly conceptually. Several publications have outlined what industry 4.0 entails and what it may look like. This issue builds on the contemporary literature by focusing on how to implement industry 4.0. What are the current successful implementations of the concept? Are there niche applications only or do we witness increased activity and large-scale implementation? This is why we pose the question of the current status of implementation. Finally we raise the issue of how to accelerate the speed of implementation. Are particular factors, be it institutions or network formation activities important to increase the speed of implementation?

In addressing these three fundamental questions, authors can address the following underlying topics (but are not limited to):

  • The orchestration of the confluence of various technologies like new production technologies like multilayer 3D printing, flexible manufacturing lines using new tools and machinery, networked and interconnected systems and processes, big data analytics technology to analyze consumer data and the supply chain and sensors/equipment in the production line.
  • New forms of cooperation in the supply chain using new technologies for semantic interoperability and data sharing.
  • New business models to accelerate the digitization of the industry.
  • New roles in the value chain, such as new intermediaries and multi-sided business platforms.
  • New ways to accelerate and implement innovations that are required for the digitization of the industry.
  • Characteristics that are relevant for a successful impact of Digital Innovation Hubs and other related concepts.
  • The impact of new (digital) technologies.

Articles should be based on empirical data, and because of the nature of the topic of this special issue we especially welcome (multiple) case studies, or other relevant examples of (accelerating) implementation of industry 4.0 or related concepts in practice. Articles will be evaluated by a team of guest editors both in terms of fit with the topic and quality. Articles will go through the usual peer-review process that is typical for JMTM.

Manuscript submission:

In preparing of manuscripts, authors are asked to carefully follow the JMTM Author Guidelines as posted on the journal website:

All articles should be submitted in English. We strongly suggest that non-native English speakers have their manuscripts proofread prior to submission. The following link provides another possibility to ensure proper English:

All papers should be submitted by September 1, 2018. Authors should ensure that the Digitizing the industry Special Issue option is selected. All appropriate papers will go through the normal journal review process.


  • Brettel M., Friederichsen N., Keller M., Rosenberg  M., 2014, How Virtualization, Decentralization and Network Building Change the Manufacturing Landscape: An Industry 4.0 Perspective, International Journal of Information and Communication Engineering, Vol:8, No:1

  • Oesterreich T.D., Teuteberg F., 2016, Understanding the implications of digitisation and automation in the context of Industry 4.0: A triangulation approach and elements of a research agenda for the construction industry Computers in Industry 83, 121–139