Industry 4.0 and the circular economy: a proposed research agenda and original roadmap for sustainable operations
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This work makes a case for the integration of the increasingly popular and largely separate topics of Industry 4.0 and the circular economy (CE). The paper extends the state-of-the-art literature by proposing a pioneering roadmap to enhance the application of CE principles in organisations by means of Industry 4.0 approaches. Advanced and digital manufacturing technologies are able to unlock the circularity of resources within supply chains; however, the connection between CE and Industry 4.0 has not so far been explored. This article therefore contributes to the literature by unveiling how different Industry 4.0 technologies could underpin CE strategies, and to organisations by addressing those technologies as a basis for sustainable operations management decision-making. The main results of this work are: (a) a discussion on the mutually beneficial relationship between Industry 4.0 and the CE; (b) an in-depth understanding of the potential contributions of smart production technologies to the ReSOLVE model of CE business models; (c) a research agenda for future studies on the integration between Industry 4.0 and CE principles based on the most relevant management theories.
KeywordsSmart manufacturing Circular economy Digital manufacturing ReSOLVE framework Internet of things Sustainable operations
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