An ANP Approach for Prioritizing the Agile Project Management Criteria in Industry 4.0 Transition

An ANP Approach for Prioritizing the Agile Project Management Criteria in Industry 4.0 Transition

Seda Yanık (Istanbul Technical University, Turkey) and Erkan Işıklı (Istanbul Technical University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7865-9.ch009


The Fourth Industrial Revolution requires today's companies to bring the physical and digital world together to achieve a higher efficiency and gain competitive advantage. This transformation can be made possible using advanced technologies which has interdependencies on one another and their implementation can be best achieved using project management principles. Agile principles (e.g. multiple iterations, stakeholder involvement) play an important role in executing this transformation. In this study, the authors first defined the processes and technologies required in the Industry 4.0 transition. Since the projects related to different technologies may require the prioritization of project management dimensions to cope with complexity and uncertainty, agile project management criteria are specified to prioritize them adopting a multi-criteria decision-making approach, namely the Analytical Network Process. Using the results obtained, suggestions for the creation of a framework to manage the Industry 4.0 transformation in an agile manner were presented.
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In the new global economy, agility and flexibility have become central issues for companies to respond rapidly to the increasingly individualized customer preferences while providing high quality products and/or services. Many companies have been greatly challenged in the past few decades to offer a ‘reasonable’ degree of product variety while competing in intensely competitive markets, where price fluctuations and demand volatility are typical, without suffering from economies of scale and manufacturing costs. However, not long ago an opportunity has emerged for them to adapt quickly to the changes in the market by transforming their traditional manufacturing systems into ‘smart’ ones through automation and digitalization. This paradigm shift in manufacturing has recently blossomed into a new concept called Industry 4.0 which looks quite promising in offering highly customized products with increased resource efficiency.

Following its introduction in 2011, Industry 4.0 has been attracting a lot of interest as it is believed to transform traditional factories into more intelligent, flexible, dynamic, self-organizing and optimizing ones (Lu, 2017). Equipment, tools and technologies such as collaborative robots, mobile devices and wearables, ID tags and transponders, sensors, actuators, microcomputers, and autonomous systems (Schlund and Baaij, 2018) will definitely play a vital role in the physical aspect of this transformation; however, Industry 4.0 is expected to revolutionize the entire value chains. Thus, not only the manufacturing systems of companies will go through a metamorphosis, but also their organizational culture and management practices will be profoundly changed. This is why this relatively new concept is also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Schwab, 2017).

Some argue that Industry 4.0 have already begun. As reported in Xu et al. (2018), a doctor can nowadays effortlessly check her patient’s heart rates and blood pressures whenever necessary, owing to a common medical device and the Internet or a food manufacturer can collect instant food deterioration data via bio-sensors. Jose and Paola (2018, citing Berg et al., 2017) stressed that 3D design and virtual prototyping, digital printing, RFID, and automated manufacturing will have a remarkable effect on the fashion industry over the next 5 years. Roblek et al. (2016, citing Baunsgaard and Clegg, 2015) mentioned about smart phone applications that could remotely control the door locks, adjust the thermostat, and control the supply of food in the refrigerator at home. Even though Industry 4.0 is said to have contributed more in areas such as technology management and just-in-time manufacturing so far (Fettermann et al., 2018), other industries are also believed to adopt its technologies quickly and efficiently with the help of current Information Technology (IT) infrastructure (Saucedo-Martínez et al., 2018).

Nevertheless, a dominant feature of the implementation process during this revolution will be computer-aided programs. Software development or improvement projects will be executed and launched more than ever in the next few years. Ghobakhloo (2018) asserted that software developers had recently inclined towards positioning their products and services on Industry 4.0 projects. Specifically, dynamic industries that are usually unpredictable (e.g., consumer electronics, biotechnology, medical devices) have been the first to start their digital transformation. On the other hand, Paasivaara et al. (2018, citing Freudenberg and Sharp, 2010) reported that practitioners at the XP conference in 2010 had listed the topic “agile and large projects” as the number one top burning research question. With the introduction of Industry 4.0, large companies that maintain their operations mostly in environments where uncertainty is high (e.g., countries with a lack of necessary standards), will need to execute large and interdependent projects. Arnold et al. (2018) indicated that such environments could negatively affect a company’s Industry 4.0 adoption. The agile approach, which was originated in the field of IT, can significantly assist companies, especially when executing large-scale projects, throughout their digital transformation as it plays a crucial role in providing responsiveness and faster decision-making in case of uncertainty.

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