Sustainable Industrial Value Creation: Benefits and Challenges of Industry 4.0 [rewarded with ISPIM Best Student Paper Award]
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) poses several implications on manufacturers in terms of economic, ecological, and social aspects referring to the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) of sustainable value creation. Due to its technical core, current research focused on its technical fundamentals, whereas the economic discussion is still in its infancy. This article aims at painting a comprehensive and structured picture of IIoT-related economic, ecological, and social benefits and challenges. For this purpose, we employ an exploratory multiple case study approach based on semi-structured expert interviews in 46 manufacturing companies from three leading German industries. Our study contributes to the sparse body of scientific IIoT literature by analyzing the IIoT’s implications according to the TBL. We show that, in order to qualify for sustainable industrial value creation, the IIoT requires an extension of the established TBL by three further dimensions, i.e., technical integration, data and information, and public context.