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Getting Ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Innovation in Small and Medium Sized Companies

Abstract : Companies are currently preparing for the fourth industrial revolution, which is envisioned to radically change manufacturing processes, logistics and business models in global manufacturing networks. Previous research have emphasized the need to respond to the changing landscape of the digital economy in dynamic and innovative ways. This study aims at exploring how small and medium-sized companies are prepared to meet this opportunity and challenge. In order to do this we have applied insights from innovation theories and empirical findings from eight companies that are part of two industrial clusters. The findings in this study indicate that even though most of the case companies have ambitions to position themselves in a new digital landscape, they prepare themselves differently. We see that organizations that has progressed furthest in implementing Industry 4.0 related concepts are the ones that make actively use of their external network in cooperation and sharing knowledge. These companies also have managed the balance between exploration and exploitation internally, where employees are both engaged in efficient manufacturing of existing products and product development. Consequently, we claim that both openness and organizational ambidexterity is vital for successful implementation of Industry 4.0.
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Lise Halse, Eli Ullern. Getting Ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Innovation in Small and Medium Sized Companies. IFIP International Conference on Advances in Production Management Systems (APMS), Sep 2017, Hamburg, Germany. pp.247-254, ⟨10.1007/978-3-319-66923-6_29⟩. ⟨hal-01666192⟩

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