Industry 4.0: adoption challenges and benefits for SMEs

Tariq Masood, Paul Sonntag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

338 Citations (Scopus)
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Future industrial systems have been popularised in recent years through buzzwords such as Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things (IoT), and Cyber Physical Systems (CPS). Whilst the technologies of Industry 4.0 and likes have many conceivable benefits to manufacturing, the majority of these technologies are developed for, or by, large firms. Much of the contemporary work is therefore disconnected from the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), despite the fact they represent 90 % of registered companies in Europe. This study approaches the disconnect through an industrial survey of UK SMEs (n = 271, KMO = 0.701), which is the first in the UK that used to collect opinions, reinforcing the current literature on the most reported Industry 4.0 technologies (n = 20), benefits, and challenges to implementation. Flexibility, cost, efficiency, quality and competitive advantage are found to be the key benefits to Industry 4.0 adoption in SMEs. Whilst many SMEs show a desire to implement Industry 4.0 technologies for these reasons, financial and knowledge constraints are found to be key challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103261
JournalComputers in Industry
Early online date23 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2020


  • adoption
  • benefits
  • challenges
  • characteristics
  • CPS
  • cyber physical systems
  • future industrial systems
  • industrial survey
  • industry 4.0
  • internet of things
  • IoT
  • small and medium sized enterprise
  • SME
  • urvey


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