An Exploratory Investigation into the Adoption of Industry 4.0 Practices Within the Agri-Food Supply Chain Management
The fourth industrial revolution describes a world where the rapid diffusion of technological advancements shapes our contemporary business management ecosystems. The evidence of the dramatic changes is omnipresent, leaving even its most adamant evaders in hesitation. While Industry 4.0 is still evolving and its full potential remains unmapped, companies and entire countries are already investing in breakthrough technologies that explore new and previously unimaginable production abilities. Systematic production control, business efficiency and sustainability are just a few of the previously identified areas which present a great potential for methodical improvement, potentially undoing the damage of previous industrial revolutions. Building on topical literature for context and industry expert interviews for in-depth knowledge, this research identifies the most important factors of Industry 4.0 and derives the most relevant aspects for the agri-food SCM. The author qualitatively studies ten semi-structured interviews with leading industry professionals including IT specialists, innovation executives, data analysts and operations managers. Driving forces and barriers for faster integration are derived and connections between their meanings are established to underline managerial implications caused by the integration. Analysing expert insights, this dissertation also identifies the potential bridges to overcome some of the barriers, and the benefits presented to those who succeed.