To read this content please select one of the options below:

Narrowing the barriers to Industry 4.0 practices through PCA-Fuzzy AHP-K means

Shailendra Kumar (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India) (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Meerut Institute of Engineering and Technology, Meerut, India)
Mohd. Suhaib (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India)
Mohammad Asjad (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India)

Journal of Advances in Management Research

ISSN: 0972-7981

Article publication date: 31 August 2020

Issue publication date: 27 April 2021




The study aims to analyze the barriers in the adoption of Industry 4.0 (I4.0) practices in terms of prioritization, cluster formation and clustering of empirical responses, and then narrowing them with identification of the most influential barriers for further managerial implications in the adoption of I4.0 practices by developing an enhanced understanding of I4.0.


For the survey-based empirical research, barriers to I.40 are synthesized from the review of relevant literature and further discussions with academician and industry persons. Three widely acclaimed statistical techniques, viz. principal component analysis (PCA), fuzzy analytical hierarchical process (fuzzy AHP) and K-means clustering are applied.


The novel integrated approach shows that lack of transparent cost-benefit analysis with clear comprehension about benefits is the major barrier for the adoption of I4.0, followed by “IT infrastructure,” “Missing standards,” “Lack of properly skilled manpower,” “Fitness of present machines/equipment in the new regime” and “Concern to data security” which are other prominent barriers in adoption of I4.0 practices. The availability of funds, transparent cost-benefit analysis and clear comprehension about benefits will motivate the business owners to adopt it, overcoming the other barriers.

Research limitations/implications

The present study brings out the new fundamental insights from the barriers to I4.0. The new insights developed here will be helpful for managers and policymakers to understand the concept and barriers hindering its smooth implementation. The factors identified are the major thrust areas for a manager to focus on for the smooth implementation of I4.0 practices. The removal of these barriers will act as a booster in the way of implementing I4.0. Real-world testing of findings is not available yet, and this will be the new direction for further research.

Practical implications

The new production paradigm is highly complex and evolving. The study will act as a handy tool for the implementing manager for what to push first and what to push later while implementing the I4.0 practices. It will also empower a manager to assess the implementation capabilities of the industry in advance.


PCA, fuzzy AHP and K means are deployed for identifying the significant barriers to I4.0 first time. The paper is the result of the original conceptual work of integrating the three techniques in the domain of prioritizing and narrowing the barriers from 16 to 6.



Authors are grateful to the editor, anonymous reviewers and entire editorial team for their valuable suggestions for the improvement of the manuscript, without their support it would not be possible to bring out the manuscript in its present form. Authors are feeling indebted and express thanks to them.


Kumar, S., Suhaib, M. and Asjad, M. (2021), "Narrowing the barriers to Industry 4.0 practices through PCA-Fuzzy AHP-K means", Journal of Advances in Management Research, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 200-226.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles