In the context of the pandemic, the importance of the manufacturing sector has become apparent as the services sector contracted. The manufacturing sector ensured continued state revenue by generating over 20% GDP and a stable income of over 20% of the working population. The EU and Lithuania seek to promote the pace of digital transformation to ensure that manufacturing companies are not relocated to other regions or countries. Despite the emphasis on digitalization at the national and EU level, the digitalization processes of small and medium-sized manufacturing companies, which account for more than 98% of the population of manufacturing companies, are slow. The CEOs of manufacturing SMEs lack guidance on digital transformation. The digitalization maturity models and Industry 4.0 Readiness models identifying good digitization practices are static, based on unrealistic assumptions of universality, as they do not consider either sector specifics or company size. Managers of small and medium-sized manufacturing companies are in dire need of individualized digitalization guidelines that would allow them to intelligently manage digital transformation processes using real-time scenario modelling and a step-by-step digital transformation model. Such a tool would allow manufacturing companies to self-assess and manage digital transformation processes, the risks associated with them and prepare individualized digital transformation roadmaps according to the strategic goals and the pace of industry integration into international value chains. Therefore, the aim of this project to create and test a prototype application for the generation of individualized real-time digitalization roadmaps for small and medium-sized manufacturing companies enabled by machine learning algorithms. The project contributes to the digitization processes in small and medium-sized enterprises, increases the resilience of enterprises to crises and creates preconditions for the realization of the priority of smart specialization of “ Flexible technological systems for product development and fabrication ”.
This research project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund according to the 2014–2020 Operational Programme for the European Union Funds’ Investments, under measure’s No. 13.1.1-LMT-K-718 activity “Research Projects Implemented by World-class Researcher Groups to develop R&D activities relevant to economic sectors, which could later be commercialized”. Funded as part of the European Union’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic
The main result of the project – the prototype (online web application) for AI-enabled generated, real-time individualized digitalization roadmaps for manufacturing SMEs. The prototype (online web application) will generate real-time individualized digitalization roadmap based on the questionnaire about the company filled by the company representative, taking into account the initial database of 500 primary production companies data and other secondary data describing the Lithuanian digitalization context. Based on the accumulated (expected ever-increasing) database, customized scenarios will be generated considering company size and industry (initially, scenarios will be generated for engineering companies, later functionality will be developed for furniture and wood, food and beverage, and apparel and textiles companies). Scenarios will include visualization of the gap between the digitalization dimensions of the company and the best companies in the sector, identification of the dimensions of digitalization to be developed, recommendation on the order of elimination of digitalization gaps based on the empirical database, other aspects to be realized based on the collected digitalization information database and developed methodology of AI-driven real-time digitalization roadmaps for upgrading of small and medium manufacturing enterprises.
Period of project implementation: 2021-11-03 - 2023-09-01
Project coordinator: Kaunas University of Technology