Companies are adopting several new technologies that form the pillars of Industry 4.0 production framework, of which Digital Manufacturing (DM) stands out by combining conventional manufacturing technologies with digital techniques. These are used to assist in the design and analysis of the product and manufacturing processes. The adoption of digital manufacturing is partly about technological change, but it also entails significant organizational issues, which often are overlooked by managers. The purpose of this study is to identify the key factors that enable or prevent DM implementation, considering the production paradigm of Industry 4.0. Based on a literature review that identified a preliminary list of key factors, the appropriateness of these factors is empirically tested and refined in a two-fold approach: an in-depth pilot case in a multinational automotive company that is adopting DM technologies, and a survey of 113 users, managers, implementers and researchers working on digital manufacturing and Industry 4.0. The study identified 24 key factors to be considered when firms implement DM. These are categorized into technical, organizational, project based and external factors. The findings also indicate how each factor should be considered, and that they cannot be generalized due to cultural differences inherent to each individual company. As such, this research contributes to the current research debate by identifying the critical factors to be considered when conceiving and applying models for planning and executing DM implementation.
In Pursuit of Digital Manufacturing
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