Industry 4.0: The World of Smart Factories: The Dynamics of the Digitalization and its implications for companies’ future Enterprise Risk Management systems and organizational structures

Fabian Schlötzer

Student thesis: Master thesis


We have seen from past events that every of the first three Industrial Revolutions was highly disruptive and got triggered by either evolutionary or revolutionary inventions. Yet today, more than 200 years after the First Industrial Revolution we are at the edge of the Fourth One, called Industry 4.0. And we can be sure that this one will change our working lives again. A central role within Industry 4.0 will be played by Smart Factories, highly automated, connected, flexible and adjustable, but still capable of mass production, manufacturing enterprises. But those highly automated factories will not need many human workers for operations anymore. And some experts and researchers even suggest that Smart Factories will not need any human worker at all. But these opposing opinions truly have different implications how we have to design, implement, organize and manage Smart Factories. By using a questionnaire and contacting experts in the fields of Industry 4.0/ Smart Factories, production/ manufacturing in general, Digitalization and Enterprise Risk Management via the professional networks LinkedIn and Xing, we will see that no matter how far automation will be implemented in manufacturing enterprises, we will always need human workers within manufacturing processes. However, there will only be a small group of employees with high IT-knowledge left who runs the factories. Furthermore, new job categories will evolve, hierarchies will get flatter and new core competencies will arise, supply chain & production network management will become increasingly important and ERM must become dynamic and highly flexible and adaptive to the new working environment of Smart Factories. However, the question who should be responsible for the digitalization process of manufacturing facilities itself and the ERM execution remains unclear and needs further research. Last but not least, the social impact of dehumanized factories will be of interest as well in future research projects about Smart Factories.

EducationsMSc in Business, Language and Culture, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages124