Adapting to supply chain 4.0: an explorative study of multinational companies

Dimitrios Makris, Zaza Nadja Lee Hansen, Omera Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The aim of this paper is to examine how multinational companies from five industries can adapt to what we call Supply Chain 4.0; the supply chain created as a result of the new digital era brought forth by the fourth industrial revolution. The focus is limited to three key emerging trends this development is seeing; Big Data, cloud computing and 3D printing. This study is carried out through a literature review and empirical findings from a series of interviews, and an explorative survey. The literature review identified a substantial difference in compatibility between industry level and the digital transformation Supply Chain 4.0 implies. Empirical findings showed that among the investigated trends, 3D printing was considered to have a major impact on Supply Chain 4.0. Its use though has been limited due to uncertainty among the supply chain stakeholders about its true added value in a cost/benefit perspective. Moreover, multinationals showed a strong preference for Big Data implementations, but only had limited focus on cloud computing applications. This paper presents a graphical framework meant to give practitioners a better description and understanding of the issues that have been debated concerning Supply Chain 4.0, their adaptability and their strengths and challenges.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSupply Chain Forum: an International Journal
Number of pages16
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Industry 4.0
  • supply chain 4.0
  • emerging trends
  • impacts
  • multinational companies


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