Project Dissemination through Publication by Dr Javaid Butt, Associate Professor in Digital Manufacturing at the Anglia Ruskin University

18 January 2021 - Published by Marijke Van Gysegem
3 papers about key themes in Industry 4.0 : additive manufacturing, new process chains and integrated business process management

COVID-19 has created worldwide panic and has adversely affected every facet of life. The pandemic has presented extreme challenges and forced humanity to rethink our choices. Everything has changed, from the way we live our lives to the way industries operate. Global supply chains and economies have been crippled by COVID-19. However, challenges also present opportunities to develop innovative and collaborative ideas that have helped to alleviate the issues caused by the pandemic. Two things have come to the forefront, the need for digitalisation and global collaborations. The fourth industrial revolution (termed as Industry 4.0) is capable of meeting these demands and organizations have accelerated their efforts toward digital transformation to capitalise on the benefits. Industry 4.0 is characterised by cyber-physical systems and digital manufacturing is a key theme that is becoming popular due to the capabilities of Industry 4.0 technologies. One such technology is additive manufacturing (AM). It has emerged as a supply chain enabler amongst this worldwide pandemic chaos. The collaborative efforts of AM designers as well as manufacturers have supported the supply chains, governments and the healthcare systems by providing products in mass quantities; ranging from PPE (e.g., face masks), medical device components (e.g., ventilator valves) and ecosystem components (e.g., hands-free door openers). Based on the contributions made by AM, there should be a proactive campaign to develop a global digital network with the goal of designing, optimising and manufacturing medical grade devices. Dr Javaid Butt has proposed such a digital thread integrating AM and Industry 4.0 technologies in his paper titled ‘Exploring the interrelationship between additive manufacturing and Industry 4.0’ [1]. The conceptualisation of this digital thread was supported by Dr Butt’s work on the GrowIn 4.0 project and his expertise in the area of AM. He identified a gap in the global supply chain that was made evident due to the shortage of PPE and medical devices to treat COVID-19 patients. In his paper, the GrowIn 4.0 project has been used as an example of funded projects researching different facets of Industry 4.0. This publication was also chosen to feature as the Issue Cover Page of the Journal of Designs, Volume 4, Issue 2 in June 2020 [2].

The surge in Industry 4.0 initiatives also pose challenges as it is a research intensive area with limited standardisation protocols for its implementation. To support the manufacturing industry in their digital transformation, Dr Javaid Butt published two papers that propose two different strategies based on principles that are known to the manufacturers to reduce their resistance to change. The first paper is titled ‘A strategic roadmap for the manufacturing industry to implement Industry 4.0’ [3] and discusses the design for six sigma approach for the development of a new process chain, followed by a continuous improvement plan. This strategic roadmap can offer a holistic view of phases that manufacturers should undertake and the challenges they might face in their journey toward Industry 4.0 transition. This paper also uses the GrowIn 4.0 project as an example of a funded project focused on Industry 4.0 An excerpt from the paper is as follows:

‘A project funded by the European Union entitled ‘Growing into Industry 4.0—Accelerate growth in manufacturing SMEs’ aims to identify barriers to the uptake of Industry 4.0 in SMEs and propose different management related tools for ease of transformation’ [2].

The third paper published by Dr Javaid Butt in this series of Industry 4.0 related publications is titled ‘A conceptual framework to support digital transformation in manufacturing using an integrated business process management approach’ [4]. This publication has benefited significantly from Dr Butt’s work on the GrowIn 4.0 project. An excerpt from the paper is as follows:

‘The framework was built by considering the aspects that are often overlooked in Industry 4.0 transition, and their impact on the digital transformation of an organization, such as skills gap analysis, risk management, contingency planning, change management, and cost-benefit analysis. These factors have been identified by the author through his work on a European funded project, Growing into Industry 4.0, while working with several manufacturing companies [4].’

The framework presented in this paper is deeply rooted in business process management that can minimize resistance toward its adoption and can give the confidence to expedite the move toward Industry 4.0. In the absence of standardized protocols for Industry 4.0 implementation, these frameworks proposed by Dr Javaid Butt (with support from his work on the GrowIn 4.0 project) can help organizations understand the pertinent factors that require attention during digital transformation to ensure a successful outcome. 


  1.  Butt, J., 2020. Exploring the interrelationship between additive manufacturing and Industry 4.0. Designs4(2), p.13.
  3.  Butt, J., 2020. A strategic roadmap for the manufacturing industry to implement Industry 4.0. Designs4(2), p.11.
  4.  Butt, J., 2020. A conceptual framework to support digital transformation in manufacturing using an integrated business process management approach. Designs4(3), p.17.