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Engineering Management Journal

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Strategic configuration of industry 4.0 with environmental and social sustainability to achieve operational excellence

Manuscript deadline
30 September 2023

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Special Issue Editor(s)

Mahender Singh Kaswan, Lovely Professional University, India
[email protected]

Jose Arturo Garza Reyes, University of Derby, UK
[email protected]

Jiju Antony, Khalifa University, UAE
[email protected]

Michael Sony, University of Witwatersrand
[email protected]

Rajeev Rathi, National Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra, India
[email protected]

Anil Kumar, London Metropolitan University, UK
[email protected]

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Strategic configuration of industry 4.0 with environmental and social sustainability to achieve operational excellence

High demand for customized products, intense competition, immediate service response, and increased concern towards sustainability aspects are all directing industries toward digital transformation (Shokri and Li, 2020).  Industry 4.0 (I4.0) is about recognizing digital transformation by connecting machines to plants, fleets, and persons through sensors to create smart networks, factories, and smart manufacturing systems (Han and Trimi, 2022). Digital technologies of I4.0 are interconnected to provide an authentic set of data to companies to conduct analyses that facilitate quick-decision making and rapid change implementation (Katoozian and Zanjani, 2022). I4.0 fosters smart connectivity within industrial organizations, assists in environmental footprint mitigation methods, and supports social sustainability pursuits to achieve operational excellence (García-Muiña et al., 2021; Tang, etla, 2022).  Although I4.0 support all dimensions of sustainability, improvement in economic dimensions through enhancement in production efficacy and improved business model have been observed as immediate output in the improvement of economic aspects (Ghobakhloo, 2020). This means improvement in social and environmental metrics comes as a 2nd function due to improvement in production and economic aspects.  It is very difficult to predict environmental footprint due to the vast set of data and a slew of activities in industries within transition for environmental footprint assessment tools like lifecycle assessment (Rathi et al., 2022). Industry 4.0 technologies like big data coupled with the internet of things (IoT) provide a systematic paradigm to grab and analyse data for the assessment of carbon footprint (Shet et al., 2021). Further to improve social aspects of sustainability within organizations, the adoption of industry 4.0 methods supports health work ambiance, assists in capacity building, and improves technological advancement through the learning of new practices (Toktaş-Palut, 2021). So, it is evident from the literature I4.0 technologies support that organizational pursuits to improve economic, environmental, and social aspects of sustainability.  But scant research in the literature exists that comprehends the strategic relationship between industry 4.0 technologies with environmental and social sustainability to achieve operational excellence. There is a need to recognize technologies of industry 4.0 and their integration with other sets of operational excellence approaches that support organizational pursuits to estimate and improve social and environmental sustainability.

Despite continuous research on Industry 4.0, research on the aspects to improve social and environmental aspects, together with the integration of operational excellence methods with Industry 4.0 for improving sustainability dynamics have still not been explored to the full extent. Thus, the fourth industrial revolution urges manufacturing industries to revisit their current OPEX strategies and review whether their forgoing OPEX strategy must be adapted or re-examined with Industry 4.0 technologies.

An indicative list of anticipated themes

  • Integration of Industry 4.0 technologies with operational excellence methods (Lean manufacturing, Six Sigma, TQM, Green technology, etc.) from the perspective of improvement in environmental and social aspects of sustainability.
  • Benefits/challenges to integrate environmental and social sustainability improvement methods with I 4.0 technologies
  • Implementation frameworks for integrating operational excellence methods with I4.0
  • Integration of quality aspects with Industry 4.0 to improve societal performance
  • Sustainable production and consumption coupled with digital technologies
  • Integration of environmental sustainability, green technologies, Green Lean six Sigma with Digital technologies
  • Practical case studies on operational excellence methods coupled with digital technologies in different sub-sectors (Aviation, Automotive, Mining and Metals, food products, rubber and petrochemicals, chemicals, electrical machinery, etc)
  • Smart manufacturing and productivity improvement
  • Human-centric solution coupled with industry 4.0 for improvement in social and environmental dynamics

Submission Instructions

In preparing manuscripts, authors are expected to follow the Engineering Management Journal author guidelines. All submissions are to be made via the Engineering Management Journal submission portal.

All papers should be submitted in English. Non-native English speakers are urged to have their manuscripts proofread before submission. Manuscripts should not have been previously published or be under consideration by other journals. All submissions will be screened by the guest editors, and if they fit the topics and have sufficient quality, they will be sent out to a team of reviewers to undergo the usual double-blind peer review process.

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