In this research, the emphasis is multifold. First objective is to study differences amongst India's Make-in-India, Germany's Industry 4.0 and China's Made-in-China 2025 on a macro level. Second objective is to identify where does individual industry segment out of the five broad segments (prioritized by Make-in-India initiative) represented by ten firms in India stand in terms of adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies. Third objective is to identify key barriers for each of these five industry segments. Finally, socio-technical interventions are also proposed aimed at faster adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies.
A mixed methodological approach is followed to achieve the research objectives. First, for the macro-level comparison of three pertinent countries, extant research and industry literature have been relied upon. Thereafter, at a micro level, inputs from experts belonging to focal sectors are included in this study to ascertain the current level of readiness of adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies and the barriers to adoption. Finally, the authors argue for and propose some socio-technical interventions that are aimed at mitigation of barriers for adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies.
It has been ascertained that amongst the ten firms (two each from given focal sectors) considered in the study, the automotive and the software firm are perhaps best placed to adopt the Industry 4.0 technology, while the infrastructure project management firm is least ready for Industry 4.0 technologies. The common barriers to adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies, as elaborated by experts belonging to each of the ten firms, are also identified. These three commons barriers are resistance to change, unclear economic benefits and problems related to coordination and collaboration.
The study is one of first attempts to understand the nuances related to technology readiness across focal industries pertaining to the Make-in-India initiative and Industry 4.0. The study furthers the extant understanding of common and distinct barriers across industries. Employing the soft-systems methodology, the study advocates for a number of socio-technical interventions pertaining to establishment of e-skill ecosystem, community learning clusters and sector-focussed skill acquisition and augmentation. Since the study considers only two firms corresponding to each of the five focal sectors, including more firms across industries could have resulted in further validation of study as well.
Contrasting the initiatives of the three countries results in identification of different thematic focus of the respective initiatives. While India's Make-in-India initiative has a strong social dimension, Germany's Industry 4.0 and Made-in-China 2025 have key objective related to integration of cyber-physical systems and to graduate to innovation-driven country, respectively. Further, analysis on the technology readiness for adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies based on the respective experts' assessment results in understanding of the underlying barriers.
Adopting the soft-systems perspective linking nuances of stakeholders, socio-technical systems and socio-economic characteristics results in several propositions to further the social objectives of India's Make-in-India initiative. These propositions advocate for pathways in which extant strengths in terms of technology, people and existing socio-technical structures can be brought together to cater to the requirements related to employability and skill augmentation of new as well as existing workforce.
Extant research literature is primarily focussed on certain specific topics within Industry 4.0 implementation and is mainly based on conceptual or theoretical basis. From a practitioners' perspective, only a few empirical papers could be found that too are typically focussed on single case studies resulting from pilot applications of Industry 4.0. However, such papers have not examined the broad implications of Industry 4.0 in terms of differences between key countries' manufacturing initiatives, readiness of key sectors, sectoral barriers and accompanying policy-level implications associated with implementation of Industry 4.0. Thus, the objective of this research is to abridge these research gaps.
The authors acknowledge the support provided by IMPRESS project, Indian Council of Social Sciences Research (ICSSR), MHRD. The project has been funded and supported by IMPRESS's grant no- IMPRESS/P898/27/18-19/ICSSR.
Goswami, M. and Daultani, Y. (2022), "Make-in-India and Industry 4.0: technology readiness of select firms, barriers and socio-technical implications", The TQM Journal, Vol. 34 No. 6, pp. 1485-1505. https://doi.org/10.1108/TQM-06-2021-0179
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