Managing resources and innovation inside the industry (Industrial) 4.0 Revolution: The role of Supply Chain

  • Niccolò Fiorini
  • Matteo Devigili
  • Tommaso Pucci
  • Lorenzo Zanni
Keywords: industry 4.0; supply chain; innovation; technological resources; business model


Purpose of the paper: On the lights of Resource Based View (RBV), this research aims to analyse the impact of resources on Process Innovation (PI) in the context of Industry 4.0 (I4.0), thus proposing stimuli coming from Supply Chain (SC) as moderator of this relationship.

Methodology: Our conceptual model was tested on a sample of 115 Italian firms and data were collected through a structured survey submitted to purchasing and buyer agents/managers.

Results: The econometric analysis shows a positive impact of resources 4.0 on PI, and horizontal stimuli coming from SC (Competitors, Universities, Consultants, and Technology Transfer Offices) were found to positively moderate this relationship. Moreover, post-hoc analysis shows that firms can obtain higher PI outcomes combining the exploitation of horizontal 4.0 stimuli with changes on BM.

Research limitations: This research presents three main limitations: (i) geographic location, all firms are Italian; (ii) timing, it assesses I4.0 in an early stage for the Italian entrepreneurial ecosystem; (iii) moderate sample size.

Practical implications: This study contributes to the understanding of both academic and practitioners of the impact of I4.0 on SC, trying to grasp not only the effect of internal resources but also of external stimuli.

Originality of the paper: To the best of our knowledge this paper is the first one analysing the impact of I4.0 stimuli on SC. Moreover, the survey involved a relevant number of on-field experts in comparison to similar studies on Supply Chain and I4.0 effects.


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