An industry 4.0 maturity assessment model to ascertain the readiness level of manufacturers in Africa

Okam, Enyinna (2023) An industry 4.0 maturity assessment model to ascertain the readiness level of manufacturers in Africa. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


Manufacturing continues to be a critical force in both advanced and developing economies. The emergence of advanced technologies have brought changes to the sector in recent times, providing both new opportunities and challenges. Industry 4.0, also referred to as smart manufacturing, has gone beyond a future trend as organisations around the world are starting to infuse Industry 4.0 technologies and strategies into their value chains and are already benefiting greatly from their implementation (PWC, 2016). This project focuses on the development of an Industry 4.0 maturity assessment model for manufacturers in Africa and other regions of the world where there is low awareness of Industry 4.0. The model is used to assess the Industry 4.0 readiness of these manufacturers and to identify essential gaps that may hinder them from becoming digital enterprises. The novel model also serves as a tool that contributes towards promoting digital business resilience in African manufacturers. The Industry 4.0 maturity assessment model built in this project is envisaged to contribute towards improving the awareness levels of Industry 4.0 technologies and strategies in Africa, whilst adding to the discourse on the implementation of Industry 4.0 in the region to ensure that organisations are leveraging the opportunities that the fourth industrial revolution brings. The author sought to establish the need for a new Industry 4.0 assessment model by investigating multiple existing assessment models and identifying gaps in these models. The model developed in this research was based on the model created by the Warwick University’s, Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG). The gaps identified in the existing models investigated in this research were addressed to expand the assessment criteria of the novel model to make it more robust and suitable for the target regions. The novel model was tested and validated using real-world data from four Nigerian manufacturers. The results generated by the assessment model established that half the participating manufacturers were at Level 0 (outsider) Industry 4.0 readiness, whilst the other half achieved Level 1 (beginner) readiness. The author collaborated with one of the participating manufacturers to design a bespoke five-year digital strategy for them. After which, the impact of the digital strategy was tested using the Industry 4.0 maturity assessment model developed in this research. It was forecast that the manufacturer would go from outsider (Level 0) to experienced (Level 3) status by implementing the five-year digital strategy. Lastly, the manufacturer endorsed the novel model, attesting to the model’s ability to contribute towards the digitalisation of their value chain, whilst serving as a tool that can promote digital business resilience to see them become competitive in the age of advanced manufacturing.

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