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  • Author: Luis Miguel Fonseca x
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Industry 4.0 and the digital society: concepts, dimensions and envisioned benefits

Abstract

There is a considerable amount of interest in Industry 4.0, the so-called 4fh industrial revolution, however, the concept is not clear in the literature. This research by performing a literature review on Industry 4.0, aims to present an overview of the several industrial revolutions with emphasis on Industry 4.0 and its underlined dimensions. Industry 4.0 is characterized by the advanced digitalization and integration of industrial manufacturing and logistics processes, and the use of internet and “smart” objects (machines and products) and merging the physical and the virtual worlds by the adoption of information and communications technology (ICT). Industry 4.0 fosters novel human and production organization systems and new organizational business models, impacting the overall value chain, society and the environment. Contributions for such new business models that can support Industry 4.0 are proposed with envisioned potential benefits such as shorter operations cycle times, quick delivery times, faster time to market of new products and services, improved quality, and product/service customization, stronger consumer involvement and loyalty. Industry 4.0 can help organizations to address new and emerging markets by a differentiation strategy, or even create new disruptive business models. However, it is still in the early stages for most companies and the digital transformation will require a strong leadership, the right human competences and to overcome several barriers, for its successful implementation. And while this will lead to a significant improvement in job creation, there will be also considerable job losses for Employees with low skill levels. Considering that in 2015, only 14% of Small and Medium Enterprises were using internet channel and 40% of the European Union companies still had not adopted any of the new advanced digital technologies, there is a great need to further research Industry 4.0 drivers and success factors.

Open access
How to succeed in the digital age? Monitor the organizational context, identify risks and opportunities, and manage change effectively

Abstract

Due to the dynamic and inter-connected internal and external environments of the present digital age, organizations are faced with increased challenges to achieve enduring success. After reviewing the major management theories with an organizational focus, and the changes brought with the new ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems International Standard Edition, the hypotheses that to succeed in the digital age organizations must monitor the organizational context, identify risks and opportunities, and manage change effectively, are presented. A worldwide survey was carried out among IRCA registered auditors concerning ISO 9001:2015 certified organizations, and by using a quantitative methodology (sample normality was confirmed through Kolmogorov-Smirnov test and the hypothesis were tested by using Pearson correlation coefficient). The results of this research highlight the need to properly monitor the organizational (internal and external) context and identify the key issues that affect the organizations ability to deliver quality products and satisfy their customers and key stakeholders, and to plan, design, implement and control change in an effective and timely manner. These results support the notion that organizations should adopt appropriate organizational models for the present digital age, with emphasis on knowledge management and horizontal customer perspectives, willing to scan the environment, identify risk and opportunities and take timely and suitable actions.

Open access
Listen to ISO 9001:2015 for organizational competitiveness: Correlation between change management and improvement

Abstract

In their quest to achieve superior performance and business results, organizations have extensively adopted models such as ISO 9001 Quality Managements Standards. Research supports that Quality Management System brings significant benefits for organizations competitiveness and success and more than 1 million organizations of all activity sectors worldwide have implemented ISO 9001. In a world of increasingly complexity and interconnection, the revised ISO 9001:2015 International Standard aims to ensure that Quality Management Systems are flexible while remaining reliable. The concept of Change Management was introduced in the standard and Improvement can be achieved both in a continual/incremental mode (already present in the ISO 9001:2008 edition) and in a breakthrough change/disruptive mode (new in ISO 9001:2015). ISO 9001:2015 is now closer to Business Excellence Models, such as the EFQM, that highlight the need for agility and flexibility for enduring success. To access if organizations that have already implemented ISO 9001:2015 are indeed managing change and achieving improvement, and if there is a relationship between these two variables, a survey was held with IRCA ISO 9001 Registered Auditors on a worldwide basis. Sample normality was confirmed trough Kolmogorov-Smirnov Test and the hypothesis was tested by using Pearson Correlation coefficient. The findings show that the auditee organizations have positively implemented ISO 9001:2015 requirements on change management and improvement. There is also a strong positive correlation between change management and improvement, suggesting that the organizations that properly manage change by planning, designing, implementing, and controlling change in an effective and efficient way, demonstrate a higher level of performance and results improvement. These conclusions have significant implications for the Quality/Organizational Excellence Management Body of Knowledge, requiring a new way of thinking for 21st-century organizations and reinforced attention to change management processes and the skills needed by the Quality/Organizational Excellence Managers professionals, for their successful use.

Open access
Mapping higher education for sustainable development in Portugal

Abstract

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) addresses sustainable development issues, in the economic, environmental, and social dimensions. The positive role of higher education institutions (HEIs), such as Universities and Polytechnic Institutes, in educating decision makers and leaders, and therefore contributing to progress and the public good, has been widely acknowledged. This investigation aims to map the BSc and MSc courses offered by Portuguese HEIs that address Sustainability (or Social Responsibility, or Ethics) in their curricula with the aim of proving their graduates with the right knowledge and competencies to overcome the Sustainable Development challenges. A systematic review utilizing a structured approach was used to analyze Portuguese HEIs BSc and MSc courses and the content analysis of their curricular units. The conclusions show that Sustainability (or Social Responsibility, or Ethics) is covered in most Social Sciences, Engineering, and Management, BSc and MSc courses, offered by the top 8 Portuguese Higher Education Institutions. However, ESD is fragmented by different approaches, issues, methodologies, and implications, lacking a consistent body of knowledge. Some courses focus more on the Social dimension, while others are more directed to the Environment or the Economic one. Sometimes the chosen approach is more normative (do what is right to do; the ethical way) and in other cases is more instrumental (do what is good for the business; the business case). Social Sciences, Engineering and Science, and Management and Economics are the three top clusters that address Sustainability related syllabus in their curricula, with 49 hours teaching hours in average for the curricular units covering Sustainability (with considerable variation). Universities have more curricular units addressing the topic while Polytechnic Institutes show a higher number of hours per curricular unit and most are of compulsory nature (while in Universities more than 50% of the curricular units are of optional nature). As the collected information was in some cases of generic nature, additional research should be used to confirm and detail these results and evaluate the effectiveness of this education to empower students to act as change agents for Sustainable Development. Benchmarking with other countries (e.g., from the European Union) is also an interesting avenue to pursue this investigation.

Open access
Adoption of Circular Economy concepts and practices by Portuguese Citizens and Companies

Abstract

The concept of Circular Economy is an emerging topic and the European Union has established a European Circular Economy Strategy in 2015. Although this concept originates from Europe, there is also an increased attention to the Circular Economy in China and the country has implemented regulatory controls in that regard. The scientific interest on this issue has been increasing and a great deal of research articles has been published in the soundest scientific journals recently. The concept of Circular Economy aims to address the need to pursue economic growth, while protecting the environment (including existing resource limitations and pollution prevention), and paying attention to societal and people needs and expectations. The adoption of Circular Economy can generate considerable tangible and intangible benefits such as new opportunities for co-operation, access to markets and innovation of products and services and, simultaneously, improving the environmental performance and mitigating the risks of resource scarcity. This creates value for the companies and their stakeholders and contributes to enduring success. To assess if the Portuguese citizens and companies support and adopt a “Circular Economy behavior”, an online survey was carried out amongst ISEP - P. Porto population, yielding more than 200 valid responses (65% of the total responses were provided by students). Based on the survey outputs (assessment supported in a 5 point Likert type scale), the following conclusions can be drawn: Most respondents agree that it is beneficial both for the environment and the economy the adoption of production systems based on used products and parts reuse and recycling; There is also agreement that the selective collection of waste should be the base to develop new products and there is significant support for a “zero waste economy” in which all used products or materials are reused or recycled. However, the respondents consider that the Portuguese citizens do not always segregate and deposit their waste in the appropriate waste containers and the same applies to companies that do not segregate and manage their waste adopting a systematically environmentally responsible approach. Moreover, they consider that the Portuguese legislation only mildly supports the adoption, both from citizens and companies, of environmental friendly practices. These conclusions reinforce the need to strengthen Circular Economy concepts and approaches within the Portuguese government, citizens, and companies.

Open access