Dossier «Revolution 4.0: progress or precariousness?» coordinated by Josep LladósISSUE 12 (NOV 2019)
VALUE GENERATION PROCESSES

Industry 4.0 and firm performance in Spain: a first scan

Abstract

This article analyses the relationship between the uses of Industry 4.0 technologies (I4.0), the value generation and firm results. Based on a sample of 1,525 Spanish industrial firms for 2014, the uses of four basic I4.0 technologies are identified: 1) computer-aided industrial design (CAD); 2) robotics; 3) flexible production systems; and 4) the activity’s numerical control machinery and software, an additional indicator is constructed and the statistical association with the value generation and firm results are studied. The research has obtained three main results. First of all, it is worth noting its incipience. 72.5% of Spanish industrial firms either do not use or use very moderately the I4.0 technologies. Despite of this and secondly, it should be noted that the uses of these technologies are associated with a value generating process in industrial firms which is more intensive in R&D and human capital, more innovative, more digital and more sustainable. And, thirdly, the research also concludes that firms with more intensive uses of I4.0 technologies have better results in terms of sales, value added, exports and gross operating margin. Productivity and employment results are especially relevant. I4.0 intensive industrial firms are 30% more efficient than firms that do not use these technologies. They are also able to take on a much larger number of employees (twice the industrial average) and to pay them much better (12.4% above the industrial average). Finally, the article also discusses the role that I4.0 could play as a new general purpose technology.

industry 4.0;  digitization;  robotics;  smart manufacturing;  industrial firm;  productivity;  Spain; 
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