*Business Engineering Institute St. Gallen, Lukasstr. 4, CH-9008 St. Gallen
No. 01 / 2015
Design Principles for Industrie 4.0 Scenarios:
A Literature Review
Technische Universität Dortmund
Audi Stiftungslehrstuhl Supply Net Order Management
Abstract: Although Industrie 4.0 is currently a top priority for many companies,
research centers, and universities, a generally accepted definition of the term does
not exist. As a result, discussing the topic on an academic level is difficult, and so
is implementing Industrie 4.0 scenarios. Based on a literature review, the paper
provides a definition of Industrie 4.0 and identifies six design principles for its
implementation: interoperability, virtualization, decentralization, real-time capa-
bility, service orientation, and modularity. Taking into account these principles,
academics may be enabled to further investigate on the topic, while practitioners
may find assistance in implementing appropriate scenarios.
Industrie 4.0 is currently one of the most frequently discussed topics among prac-
titioners and academics in the German-speaking area (Dais, 2014, p. 625; Drath &
Horch, 2014, p. 56). Since the German federal government announced Industrie
4.0 as one of the key initiatives of its high-tech strategy in 2011 (Kagermann,
Wahlster, & Helbig, 2013, p. 77), numerous academic publications, practical arti-
cles, and conferences have focused on that topic (Bauernhansl, Hompel, & Vogel-
Heuser, 2014, p. V).
The fascination for Industrie 4.0 is twofold. First, for the first time an indus-
trial revolution is predicted a-priori, not observed ex-post (Drath, 2014, p. 2). This
provides various opportunities for companies and research institutes to actively
shape the future. Second, the economic impact of this industrial revolution is sup-
posed to be huge, as Industrie 4.0 promises substantially increased operational ef-
fectiveness as well as the development of entirely new business models, services,
and products (Kagermann et al., 2013, p. 16; Kagermann, 2014, p. 603; Kempf,
2014, p. 5). A recent study estimates that these benefits will have contributed as
much as 78 billion euros to the German GDP by the year 2025 (Bauer, Schlund,
Marrenbach, & Ganschar, 2014, p. 5).
With Industrie 4.0 becoming a top priority for many research centers, univer-
sities, and companies within the past three years, the manifold contributions from
academics and practitioners have made the meaning of the term more blurry than
concrete (Bauernhansl et al., 2014, p. V). Even the key promoters of the idea, the
“Industrie 4.0 Working Group” and the “Plattform Industrie 4.0”, only describe
the vision, the basic technologies the idea aims at, and selected scenarios (compare
Kagermann et al., 2013, p. 5; Plattform Industrie 4.0, 2014), but do not provide a
clear definition. As a result, a generally accepted definition of Industrie 4.0 has not
been published so far (Bauer et al., 2014, p. 18).
According to (Jasperneite, 2012, p. 27), scientific research is always impeded
if clear definitions are lacking, as any theoretical study requires a sound conceptu-
al and terminological foundation. Companies also face difficulties when trying to
develop ideas or take action, but are not sure what exactly for. “Even though In-
dustrie 4.0 is one of the most frequently discussed topics these days, I could not
explain to my son what it really means”, a production site manager with automo-
tive manufacturer Audi puts it. This quote underlines the findings of a recent study
revealing that “most companies in Germany do not have a clear understanding of
what Industrie 4.0 is and what it will look like” (eco, 2014)1.
As the term itself is also unclear, companies are struggling when it comes to
identifying and implementing Industrie 4.0 scenarios. Design principles explicitly
address this issue by providing a “systemization of knowledge” (Gregor, 2009,
p. 7) and describing the constituents of a phenomenon. Therefore, design princi-
ples support practitioners in developing appropriate solutions. From an academic
perspective, design principles are the foundation of design theory (Gregor, 2002,
p. 11). Regarding Industrie 4.0, however, the authors of this paper could not find
any explicitly stated Industrie 4.0 design principles during their literature research.
The paper aims at closing this gap in research. Based on a literature review,
the authors provide a definition of Industrie 4.0 and identify six design principles,
which companies should take into account when implementing Industrie 4.0 solu-
The paper is structured as follows: Chapter 2 gives a short overview of how
the idea of Industrie 4.0 came into being, what its vision and basic goals are, and
what similar concepts can be found in the Anglo-Saxon world. Chapter 3 outlines
the research process and the research method used. Chapter 4 illustrates four com-
ponents which are closely related to the idea of Industrie 4.0, and provides a defi-
nition of Industrie 4.0 on the basis of these four components. Based on that defini-
tion, Chapter 5 introduces six design principles for identifying and implementing
Industrie 4.0 scenarios. Finally, Chapter 6 outlines the contribution of the paper to
both the scientific body of knowledge and the practical world, mentions limita-
tions of the research conducted, and proposes paths for further investigation of the
The term “Industrie 4.0” is used for the next industrial revolution - which is about
to take place right now. This industrial revolution has been preceded by three oth-
1 Original source: „Fachleute sind der festen Überzeugung, dass die meisten Unternehmen
in Deutschland keine klare Vorstellung davon haben, was Industrie 4.0 eigentlich ist und wie sie
er industrial revolutions in the history of mankind. The first industrial revolution
was the introduction of mechanical production facilities starting in the second half
of the 18th century and being intensified throughout the entire 19th century. From
the 1870s on, electrification and the division of labor (i.e. Taylorism) led to the
second industrial revolution. The third industrial revolution, also called “the digi-
tal revolution”, set in around the 1970s, when advanced electronics and infor-
mation technology developed further the automation of production processes.
The term “Industrie 4.0” became publicly known in 2011, when an initiative
named “Industrie 4.0” - an association of representatives from business, politics,
and academia - promoted the idea as an approach to strengthening the competi-
tiveness of the German manufacturing industry (Kagermann, Lukas, & Wahlster,
2011). The German federal government supported the idea by announcing that In-
dustrie 4.0 will be an integral part of its “High-Tech Strategy 2020 for Germany”
initiative, aiming at technological innovation leadership. The subsequently formed
“Industrie 4.0 Working Group” then developed first recommendations for imple-
mentation, which were published in April 2013 (Kagermann et al., 2013, p. 77). In
this publication, Kagermann et al. (2013) describe their vision of Industrie 4.0 as
“In the future, businesses will establish global networks that incorporate their
machinery, warehousing systems and production facilities in the shape of Cyber-
Physical Systems (CPS). In the manufacturing environment, these Cyber-Physical
Systems comprise smart machines, storage systems and production facilities capa-
ble of autonomously exchanging information, triggering actions and controlling
each other independently. This facilitates fundamental improvements to the indus-
trial processes involved in manufacturing, engineering, material usage and supply
chain and life cycle management. The Smart Factories that are already beginning
to appear employ a completely new approach to production. Smart products are
uniquely identifiable, may be located at all times and know their own history, cur-
rent status and alternative routes to achieving their target state. The embedded
manufacturing systems are vertically networked with business processes within
factories and enterprises and horizontally connected to dispersed value networks
that can be managed in real time – from the moment an order is placed right
through to outbound logistics. In addition, they both enable and require end-to-end
engineering across the entire value chain.” (p. 5)
Based on that vision, the “Plattform Industrie 4.0” developed further recom-
mendations on how to implement the vision (Kagermann et al., 2013, p. 77). It
understands Industrie 4.0 as “a new level of value chain organization and man-
agement across the lifecycle of products” (Plattform Industrie 4.0, 2014).2
As the term “Industrie 4.0” is not well-known outside the German-speaking
area (Lasi, Fettke, Kemper, Feld, & Hoffmann, 2014, p. 261), it is worth to look at
comparable ideas from a global perspective. General Electric promotes a similar
idea under the name Industrial Internet (Bungart, 2014; Evans & Annunziata,
2012). It is defined as “the integration of complex physical machinery and devices
with networked sensors and software, used to predict, control and plan for better
business and societal outcomes” (Industrial Internet Consortium, 2013). The US
government supports research and development activities in the area of the Indus-
trial Internet with a 2 billion dollar fund for Advanced Manufacturing (President’s
Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, 2014, p. 46). Further similar ide-
as can be found under the terms Integrated Industry (Bürger & Tragl, 2014,
p. 560) and Smart Industry or Smart Manufacturing (Dais, 2014, p. 628; Davis,
Edgar, Porter, Bernaden, & Sarli, 2012, p. 145; Wiesmüller, 2014, p. 1).
3 Research Process and Research Method
For the overall research design, the authors of the paper followed the recommen-
dations of vom Brocke et al. (2009). To cover relevant publications in the fields of
engineering, production, and management from both academia and business, the
authors took advantage of five publication databases (CiteSeerX, ACM, AISeL,
EBSCOhost, Emerald Insight) and Google Scholar. The literature review aimed at
identifying central aspects of Industrie 4.0 in order to be able to derive a definition
of this term that is accepted by both researchers and practitioners (Cooper, 1988,
p. 109). To conceptualize Industrie 4.0 and identify key terms, a preliminary lit-
erature review was conducted (vom Brocke et al., 2009, p. 10) by searching for the
terms “Industrie 4.0” and “Industry 4.0” in Google Scholar. The two different no-
tations were applied in order to cover both German and English publications, as
the term is mostly written with “ie” in German and with a “y” in English publica-
tions. The titles, abstracts, and keywords of the first 100 results for each search
term (i.e. 200 publications in total) were analyzed by two researchers independent-
ly of each other, in order to ensure reliability of the review process (Randolph,
2009, p. 6). Each of the two researchers then assigned keywords to each publica-
tion analyzed. For example, Kagermann et al.’s vision of Industrie 4.0 (2013, p.
5), which is quoted in the previous chapter of this paper, received the keywords
2 Original source: “Der Begriff Industrie 4.0 steht für die vierte industrielle Revolution, ei-
ner neuen Stufe der Organisation und Steuerung der gesamten Wertschöpfungskette über den
Lebenszyklus von Produkten.”
CPS, Smart Factory and Smart Product, as these terms are explicitly used in the
text, and Internet of Things, as this term is implicitly mentioned in the phrase “ver-
tically networked with business processes within factories and enterprises and hor-
izontally connected to dispersed value networks”. The two researchers then aggre-
gated the keywords assigned and discussed those cases in which discrepancies had
occurred. The final list included 15 (German and English) keywords (see “Key-
words 2” in Figure 1).
Keyword 1 Keyword 2
CPS, Internet of Things,
Internet der Dinge, Internet of
Services, Internet der Dienste,
Smart Factory, intelligente
Fabrik, Smart Product,
intelligentes Produkt, Big
Data, Cloud, M2M, Machine-
Figure 1: Keywords
After that, a search combining the keywords and “Industrie 4.0” or “Industry
4.0” was conducted in the five databases (see Figure 1). As this search resulted in
only a few hits, Google Scholar was included into the search process. Following
the recommendations of Webster and Watson (2002, p. xvi), the results were
complemented by a backward and forward search. Of these results, only the publi-
cations which had a clear reference to “Industrie 4.0” in their title, abstract, or
keywords were considered as relevant. This procedure led to 51 publications
which were analyzed completely by the two researchers and then tagged with the
respective keywords. Again, the results were aggregated and discussed in order to
eliminate discrepancies. The keywords were then ranked according to their fre-
quency of occurrence. The four most relevant keywords are presented as the basic
components of Industrie 4.0 in the following chapter. In accordance with vom
Brocke et al.’s (2009) last step in the literature search process, the paper outlines
further possible research activities based on the literature review’s results in Chap-
Based on the four basic components identified, the authors provide a defini-
tion of “Industrie 4.0”. This definition adheres to Aristotle’s rules of genus proxi-
mum and differentia specifica. While the first rule requires a definition to name the
term’s genus (i.e the superordinate concept or species the term belongs to), the lat-
ter demands a definition to specify the distinct features which distinguish the term
from other terms within the concept or species (Aristotle, 350 BC; Westermann,
In a final step, the authors derive Industrie 4.0 design principles based on the
introduced definitions of the Industrie 4.0 components and the given examples. In
order to ensure the reliability of the process, two researcher derived Industrie 4.0
design principles independently. The design principles found where combined and
grouped. In total, six groups where found. Each group is represented by a generic
term. According to Gregor (2002), these principles guide practitioners and scien-
tists on “how to do” (p. 11) Industrie 4.0.
4 Literature Review Results
The literature review identified four key components of Industrie 4.0: Cyber-
Physical Systems, Internet of Things, Internet of Services, and Smart Factory (see
Table 1). Machine-to-machine (M2M) communication and Smart Products are not
considered as independent Industrie 4.0 components by the authors of the paper,
as M2M is an enabler of the Internet of Things, and Smart Products are a sub-
component of Cyber-Physical Systems (see Chapter 4.1.1 and 4.1.2 for further de-
tails). Likewise, and in line with Kagermann (2014, p. 605-606), the authors of the
paper view big data and cloud computing as data services which utilize the data
generated in Industrie 4.0 implementations, but not as independent Industrie 4.0
In the following, the four basic Industrie 4.0 components will be described
by providing the most often cited definition, explaining each component’s link to
Industrie 4.0, and giving an application example. Afterwards, the authors provide
a new definition of Industrie 4.0, which is based on these components.
Table 1: Industrie 4.0 components (as identified in the 51 publications under analysis)
Search Term (Group) Number of Publications in Which
Search Term (Group) Occured
Cyber-Physical Systems, Cyber-Physikalische Systeme, CPS 46
Internet of Things, Internet der Dinge 36
Smart Factory, intelligente Fabrik 24
Internet of Services, Internet der Dienste 19
Smart Product, intelligentes Produkt 10
M2M, Machine-to-Machine 8
Big Data 7
4.1 Industrie 4.0 Components
4.1.1 Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS)
An important component of Industrie 4.0 is the fusion of the physical and the vir-
tual world (Kagermann, 2014, p. 603). This fusion is made possible by Cyber-
Physical Systems (CPS). CPS are “integrations of computation and physical pro-
cesses. Embedded computers and networks monitor and control the physical pro-
cesses, usually with feedback loops where physical processes affect computations
and vice versa.” (Lee, 2008, p. 363). The development of CPS is characterized by
three phases. The first generation of CPS includes identification technologies like
RFID tags, which allow unique identification. Storage and analytics have to be
provided as a centralized service. The second generation of CPS are equipped with
sensors and actuators with a limited range of functions. CPS of the third genera-
tion can store and analyze data, are equipped with multiple sensors and actuators,
and are network compatible (Bauernhansl, 2014, pp. 16–17). One example of a
CPS is the intelligent bin (iBin) by Würth. It contains a built-in infrared camera
module for C-parts management, which determines the amount of C-parts within
the iBin. If the quantity falls below the safety stock, the iBin automatically orders
new parts via RFID. This allows consumption based C-parts management in real-
time (Günthner, Klenk, & Tenerowicz-Wirth, 2014, p. 307).
4.1.2 Internet of Things
According to Kagermann, the integration of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the
Internet of Services (IoS) in the manufacturing process has initiated the fourth in-
dustrial revolution (Kagermann et al., 2013, p. 5). The IoT allows “’things’ and
‘objects’, such as RFID, sensors, actuators, mobile phones, which, through unique
addressing schemas, (…) interact with each other and cooperate with their neigh-
boring ‘smart’ components, to reach common goals” (Giusto, Lera, Morabito, &
Atzori, 2010, p. V). Based on the definition of CPS given above, “things” and
“objects” can be understood as CPS. Therefore, the IoT can be defined as a net-
work in which CPS cooperate with each other through unique addressing schemas.
Application examples of the IoT are Smart Factories (see explanation below),
Smart Homes, and Smart Grids (Bauernhansl, 2014, pp. 16–17).
4.1.3 Internet of Services
The Internet of Services (IoS) enables “service vendors to offer their services via
the internet. […] The IoS consists of participants, an infrastructure for services,
business models and the services themselves. Services are offered and combined
into value-added services by various suppliers; they are communicated to users as
well as consumers and are accessed by them via various channels.” (Buxmann,
Hess, & Ruggaber, 2009, p. 341). This development allows a new way of dynamic
variation of the distribution of individual value chain activities (Plattform
Industrie 4.0, 2013, p. 4). It is conceivable that this concept will be transferred
from single factories to entire value added networks in the future. Factories may
go one step further and offer special production technologies instead of just
production types. These production technologies will be offered over the IoS and
can be used to manufacture products or compensate production capacities (Scheer,
2013, p. 2). The idea of the IoS has been implemented in a project named SMART
FACE under the “Autonomics for Industrie 4.0” program initiated by the Federal
Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. It develops a new distributed
production control for the automotive industry. The project is based on a service-
oriented architecture. This allows the use of modular assembly stations that can be
flexibly modified or expanded. The transportation between the assembly stations
is ensured by automated guided vehicles. Both, assembly stations and automated
guided vehicles offer their services through the IoS. The vehicle bodies know their
customer specific configuration and can decide autonomously which working
steps are needed. Therefore, they can individually compose the required processes
through the IoS and autonomously navigate through the production (Fraunhofer
4.1.4 Smart Factory
“Smart factories constitute a key feature of Industrie 4.0.” (Kagermann et al.,
2013, p. 19). “The Smart Factory is defined as a factory that context-aware assists
people and machines in execution of their tasks. This is achieved by systems
working in background, so-called Calm-systems and context aware means that the
system can take into consideration context information like the position and status
of an object. These systems accomplish their tasks based on information coming
from physical and virtual world. Information of the physical world is e.g. position
or condition of a tool, in contrast to information of the virtual world like electronic
documents, drawings and simulation models. […] Calm systems are referring in
this context to the hardware of a Smart Factory. The main difference between
calm and other types of systems is the ability to communicate and interact with its
environment.” (Lucke, Constantinescu, & Westkämper, 2008, p. 115). Based on
the definitions given for CPS and the IoT, the Smart Factory can be defined as a
factory where CPS communicate over the IoT and assist people and machines in
the execution of their tasks. An example of a Smart Factory is the WITTENSTEIN
bastian’ production facility in Fellbach, Germany, which is organized according
to the principles of lean production. For the implementation of a demand driven
milk run, intelligent work piece carriers are used. They report when a work piece
is ready to be picked up and allow to initiate the milk run only if there is a de-
mand. This helps reduce the number of milk runs and relieve employees from un-
necessary work (Schlick, Stephan, Loskyll, & Lappe, 2014, p. 66).
4.2 Definition of Industrie 4.0
Based on the findings from the literature review, we define Industrie 4.0 as
follows: Industrie 4.0 is a collective term for technologies and concepts of value
chain organization. Within the modular structured Smart Factories of Industrie
4.0, CPS monitor physical processes, create a virtual copy of the physical world
and make decentralized decisions. Over the IoT, CPS communicate and cooperate
with each other and humans in real time. Via the IoS, both internal and cross-
organizational services are offered and utilized by participants of the value chain.
5 Industrie 4.0 Design Principles
The implications of the above presented results are now used to derive design
principles for Industrie 4.0 scenarios. These design principles support companies
in identifying possible Industrie 4.0 pilots, which then can be implemented. In to-
tal, six design principles can be derived from the Industrie 4.0 components (see
Table 2: Design principles of each Industrie 4.0 component
Interoperability X X X X
Virtualization X - - X
Decentralization X - - X
Real-Time Capability - - - X
Service Orientation - - X -
Modularity - - X -
The design principles are explained in the following by using the example of the
key finder plant of SmartFactoryKL. SmartFactoryKL is a vendor independent tech-
nology initiative settled at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence.
The demonstration plant was built in the course of the RES-COM project. It pro-
cesses parts for key finders and assembles them. The housing of the key finders is
equipped with a RFID tag that provides all production relevant data (Schlick et al.,
2014, pp. 74-75).
Interoperability is a very important enabler of Industrie 4.0. In Industrie 4.0 com-
panies, CPS and humans are connected over the IoT and the IoS. Standards will be
a key success factor for communication between CPS of various manufacturers.
The German Commission for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies
of DIN and VDE has recognized this need and published the “German Standardi-
zation Roadmap” in 2013. In the context of the SmartFactoryKL plant, interopera-
bility means that all CPS within the plant (workpiece carriers, assembly station,
and products) are able to communicate with each other “through open nets and
semantic descriptions” (SmartFactoryKL, 2014).
Virtualization means that CPS are able to monitor physical processes. These sen-
sor data are linked to virtual plant models and simulation models. Thus, a virtual
copy of the physical world is created. In the SmartFactoryKL plant the virtual mod-
el includes the condition of all CPS. In case of failure a human can be notified. In
addition, all necessary information, like next working steps or safety arrange-
ments, are provided (Gorecky, Schmitt & Loskyll, 2014, p. 535). Hereby, humans
are supported in handling the rising technical complexity (SmartFactoryKL, 2014).
The rising demand for individual products makes it increasingly difficult to con-
trol systems centrally. Embedded computers enable CPS to make decisions on
their own. Only in cases of failure tasks are delegated to a higher level (ten
Hompel, Otto, 2014, p. 6). Nevertheless, for quality assurance and traceability it is
necessary to keep track of the whole system at any time. In the context of the
SmartFactoryKL plant decentralization means that the RFID tags “tell” machines
which working steps are necessary. Therefore, central planning and controlling is
no longer needed (Schlick et al., 2014, p. 75).
5.4 Real-Time Capability
For organizational tasks it is necessary that data is collected and analyzed in real
time. In the SmartFactoryKL the status of the plant is permanently tracked and ana-
lyzed. Thus, the plant can react to the failure of a machine and reroute products to
another machine (Schlick et al., 2014, p. 75).
5.5 Service Orientation
The services of companies, CPS, and humans are available over the IoS and can
be utilized by other participants. They can be offered both internally and across
company borders. The SmartFactoryKL plant is based on a service oriented archi-
tecture. All CPS offer their functionalities as an encapsulated web service (Smart-
FactoryKL, 2014). As a result, the product specific process operation can be com-
posed based on the customer specific requirements provided by the RFID tag
(Schlick et al., 2014, p. 75).
Modular systems are able to flexibly adapt to changing requirements by replacing
or expanding individual modules. Therefore, modular systems can be easily ad-
justed in case of seasonal fluctuations or changed product characteristics. In the
SmartFactoryKL plant, new modules can be added using the Plug&Play principle.
Based on standardized software and hardware interfaces (Schlick et al., 2014, p.
75), new modules are identified automatically and can be utilized immediately via
the IoS (SmartFactoryKL, 2014).
The paper contributes to the ongoing discussion centering around Industrie 4.0
within both the scientific and the practitioners’ community.
By providing a definition of Industrie 4.0, the paper creates a common
understanding of the term, which is needed for a reasonable scientific discussion
on the topic. The design principles derived from four basic Industrie 4.0 compo-
nents support academics in identifying, describing, and selecting Industrie 4.0
scenarios in the context of further investigations.
The paper’s practical contributions are twofold: First, the definition given
for Industrie 4.0 helps clarify the basic understanding of the term “Industrie 4.0”
among practitioners. Second, the six design principles can be used for implement-
ing Industrie 4.0 scenarios in companies. They help identify potential use cases
and offer guidance during implementation.
Limitations of the paper result from its scope and the research method
applied. As the focus is on German and English publications only, relevant contri-
butions in other languages might be left unnoticed. Furthermore, it is possible that
during the initial identification of search terms an important Industrie 4.0 related
topic might have been overlooked, leading to an incomplete list of keywords and,
consequently, to an imperfect definition of Industrie 4.0.
Researchers and practitioners are welcome to test the accuracy and use-
fulness of the definition given. Regarding the six design principles identified, fur-
ther research should challenge their utility by identifying, describing, and selecting
Industrie 4.0 scenarios from an academic or practical perspective. Since Drath and
Horch (2013) underline that “Industrie 4.0 is a phenomenon that will come inevi-
tably, whether we want it or not” (p. 58), both academics and practitioners are in-
vited to further enhance the paper’s contribution in order to make the idea of In-
dustrie 4.0 an integral part of future manufacturing and production processes.
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