Are Industry 4.0 technologies enablers of lean? Evidence from manufacturing industries

Narula, Sanjiv, Puppala, Harish, Kumar, Anil, Luthra, Sunil, Dwivedy, Maheshwar, Prakash, Surya and Talwar, Vishal (2022) Are Industry 4.0 technologies enablers of lean? Evidence from manufacturing industries. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, 14 (3). pp. 115-138. ISSN 2040-4166


The study aims to propose a conceptual model indicating the impact of Industry 4.0 (I4.0) technologies on lean tools. Additionally, it prioritizes I4.0 technologies for the digital transformation of lean plants.

The authors conducted a questionnaire-based survey to capture the perception of 115 experts of manufacturing industries from Germany, India, Taiwan, and China. The impact of I4.0 on lean tools, using analysis of variance (ANOVA). Further, we drew a prioritization map of I4.0 on the employment of lean tools in manufacturing, using the Best-Worst Method (BWM).

The findings indicate that cloud manufacturing, simulation, industrial internet of things, horizontal and vertical integration impact 100% of the lean tools, while both cyber-security. Big data analytics impact 93% of the lean tools, and advanced robotics impact 74% of the lean tools. On the other hand, it is observed that augmented reality and additive manufacturing will impact 21% and 14% of the lean tools, respectively.

Originality and value:
Studies exploring the influence of I4.0 on lean manufacturing lack comprehensiveness, testing, and validation. Importantly, no studies in the recent past have explored mapping and prioritizing I4.0 technologies in the ‘lean’ context. This study thereby attempts to establish a conceptual model, indicating the influence of I4.0 technologies on lean tools and presents the hierarchy of all digital technologies.

Practical implications:
The results of this study would help practitioners draw up a strategic plan and roadmap for implementing lean 4.0. The amalgamation of lean with I4.0 technologies in the right combination would enhance speed productivity and facilitate autonomous operations.

Revised Manuscript.docx - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0.

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