Industry 4.0 technologies and manufacturing back-shoring: a European perspective

Luciano Fratocchi, Cristina Di Stefano

Abstract


Over the last two decades, companies have increasingly been re-evaluating their off-shoring strategies and implementing decisions on relocations of second degree (RSD). In some cases, the RSD decision has been implemented through back-shoring. The topic has attracted the attention of several scholars, some of whom have specifically investigated the role of Industry 4.0 technologies in the back-shoring decision-making process. This paper aims to shed new light on the role that Industry 4.0 technologies play as a driver or an enabling factor for companies that are evaluating RSD alternatives. A two-step explorative approach has been used for this research. In the first step, a theoretical approach has been followed by developing a structured literature review based on 115 Scopus-indexed journal articles. The second step of the methodology is based on the empirical evidence of European countries using the UnivAQ manufacturing reshoring dataset. The collected data provides evidence of the growing interest of scholars in this issue; however, attention has mainly been focused on two single technologies, production automation and additive manufacturing. The empirical data offers interesting findings in terms of industry and geographic characterisation.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21014/acta_imeko.v9i4.721