Smart Production and Industry 4.0: current and future design-science research supporting the (Danish) Manufacturing Industry

Call for papers for: Journal of Global Operations and Strategic Sourcing

Guest Editors (listed in alphabetical order):

Marco Busi

Astrid Heidemann Lassen

Charles Møller

Brian Vejrum Wæhrens


Submission deadline: December 31st 2020


Going through what has been termed the Fourth Industrial Revolution, most societies and economies around the world are facing an increasingly rapid digital transformation of trade, industry and society itself. As the now commonly used word “transformation” suggests, there is a consensus around the magnitude of change that has already started and that will affect all aspects of our society in the not so distant future. Though, a shared understanding of the details around what such change actually entails and a shared vision for the future of industries, education systems and the organisation of societies has not yet emerged.

The digital transformation and new business models enabled by emerging technologies may be the key to increase productivity and growth and create a basis for our shared future prosperity[1]. The complexity of and speed at which new-technology-enabled business and operations models are emerging are creating several valuable lessons whilst at the same time posing new research questions that need to be further investigated. At the same time, the distributed nature of today’s global knowledge creation, means that it is ever more important to create opportunities to share widely such lessons and learn globally from local experience.

It is exactly with this in mind, that we have created this special issue of the Journal of Global Operations and Strategic Sourcing, aiming to investigate the broad theme of Smart Production and Industry 4.0 by presenting and disseminating current and future design-science based research supporting the Danish Manufacturing Industry.

This SI is going to report the latest activities and lessons learned from several research projects undergoing at the University of Aalborg (AAU), Faculty of Engineering and Science, Department of Materials and Production, under the MADE (Manufacturing of Denmark Academy) programme.

“Aalborg University has recently risen from No. 18 to an impressive eighth place among the world’s top universities for engineering. In this leap, AAU has overtaken both Stanford University and Georgia Tech. This ranks AAU as the best European university for engineering”[2]. In addition, with its 324 trillion USD gross domestic product (GDP), Denmark has the 39th largest national economy in the world (as measured by GDP)[3], created by a rich community of small, medium and large enterprises from both the manufacturing and service sectors. Recognising the undeniable opportunities created by emerging technologies, the Danish Government has defined a vision “for Denmark to be a digital frontrunner, with all Danes gaining from the digitalisation” and presented its “Strategy for Denmark’s Digital Growth”, in which it sets the direction as to how Denmark can seize the opportunities inherent in digital transformation, while creating jobs and improving growth and prosperity in Denmark.

Hence, the presentation and discussion of the work currently shaping the future of the Danish manufacturing industry is inevitably going to offer insight that is both relevant and transferrable to manufacturing sectors in other regions, where the emergent paradigm of smart and digital production systems, also commonly referred to more broadly as Industry 4.0, is being studied and experimented with.

This SI is going to address the following topics:

  1. Setting the scene:
    1. Topical perspective:
      1. Industry 4.0: a global view on current and future industry and research agendas
    2. Methodological perspective:
      1. The design-science research methodology
  2. Learn through experimentation: the learning factory (industry) and experimental lab (academia)
  3. Technology readiness (general) and digital maturity assessment
  4. Smart production systems
  5. Virtual factories
  6. Big data analytics in SC
  7. Smart SCM through interoperational business intelligence
  8. Industrial transformation roadmap
  9. Labour 4.0: skills and competences for the future of manufacturing
  10. Engineering Education for the future

By covering the above listed topics, this SI is going to primarily build upon and add to the Operations Management and Organisational Design bodies of knowledge.

Submission guidelines

In preparing manuscripts, authors are asked to follow the Author Guidelines available on the journal homepage at

Submission deadline: December 31st 2020



[1] Strategy for Denmark’s Digital Growth, Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs

[2], visited on September 15, 2018

[3]  visited on September 15, 2018