Sustainable Business Models and Structures for Industry 4.0
Volume 5, Issue 2 (2015), pp. 159–169
Pub. online: 30 December 2015 Type: Article Open Access
30 December 2015
30 December 2015
EU industry accounts for 15% of European value added and the industrial sector plays the role of a key driver for research, innovation, productivity, job creation and exports. One important measure in order to stop the decline of Europe’s global industrial position is represented by Industry 4.0 aiming for the implementation of smart production and logistics. Industry 4.0 touches the entire supply chain comprising product design and development, operations management and logistics and by doing so new business models and structures are required.
Currently, companies start to practice first steps in 3D printing, production in networks and smart logistics and begin to develop new organisational structures and business models to benefit more from the opportunities that the new technology offers. Empirical evidences of successful companies reveals that the new business models are oriented rather on service design, open innovation and network approaches than on the traditional concepts of industrial enterprises. Consequently, traditional industrial companies have to rethink and to renew their business structures and models in parallel with the ongoing implementation of Industry 4.0 to use the new opportunities.
The main focus of Industry 4.0 is laid on the fusion of the virtual and the physical world so that also new concepts are required for managing information and business administration tasks in the context of Industry 4.0. One big step towards the implementation of such a concept is embodied by the Estonian concept of “e-Residency”, which might be an appropriate e-business approach especially when taking into account the needs of internationally operating entrepreneurs and SME’s.
The paper addresses the research question of how new and sustainable business models and structures for Industry 4.0 might look like and in which direction existing traditional business concepts have to be developed to deploy a strong business impact of Industry 4.0. By focussing on the needs of entrepreneurs and SME sector the paper also discusses why e-residency might be the appropriate concept in the context of Industry 4.0.