The impact of Industry 4.0 on the competitiveness of SMEs

  • 1 Institute of International Management – University of Applied Sciences FH JOANNEUM, Austria
  • 2 European Center for Quality Ltd., Bulgaria
  • 3 Institute of Industrial Management – University of Applied Sciences FH JOANNEUM, Austria


The small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are the foundation of the growth of most European economies. Although increasing of their competitiveness is high on the agendas of the policy makers, the business support organisations, and the entrepreneurs and managers themselves, there is still lack of relevant discussion regarding the SMEs’ development through implementation of Industry 4.0 principles. The conducted analysis has also noted a difference in the relevant literature for the definition of the I4.0 and its scope. Based on this we find it necessary to propose definition which clearly explains the objectives of I4.0 and defines its scope. Furthermore, this paper presents potential opportunities for and implemented impact of I4.0 on SMEs with insight in the developments in Bulgaria. The analysis presents the benefits from and the obstacles for implementation of Industry 4.0. Such transformation raises critical discussion for the influence over the workers’ education and skills, and the product lifecycles. This paper also examines the role of the governments as enabler of SMEs in the implementation process.



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