What is the acatech „Industrie 4.0 Maturity Index“?

The scientific framework of the ‘Industrie 4.0 Maturity Center’ is the ‘Industrie 4.0 Maturity Index’ developed as part of an acatech initiative. After more than a year of research by various research institutes and industrial companies, the index was presented to the Academy of Engineering Sciences in May 2017 as an acatech study. The consortium combined the necessary scientific competence with the necessary flexibility and pragmatism from a business perspective at an internationally recognized level of quality. This idea is to be consistently pursued within the framework of the ‘Industrie 4.0 Maturity Center’.

Why do you need a maturity model?

The maturity model provides a description of the skills and principles required to develop a company into an agile, learning organization. Thus “a company that can adapt to changing conditions through the use of appropriate technologies and organizational learning”. The model is moreover also suitable as a tool for evaluating the structural and process organisation of manufacturing companies from the point of view of digital transformation.

The achieved holistic view of the company ensures on the one hand the measurability, on the other hand the chosen high level of detail enables the reproducibility and comparability of the results. The publication of the model furthermore provides new impulses for designers and decision-makers in manufacturing companies who want to deal seriously with the issues of digital transformation.

How is the model built?

The maturity model is based on six discrete, consecutive and benefit-oriented maturity levels, which are applied to both the so-called design fields and the typical functional areas of manufacturing companies. The following figure provides an overview.

To determine the degree of maturity, the company is divided into four so-called design fields. These are subdivided into the essential fields of action for the development of an industrial enterprise: resources (primarily employees, machines and plants as well as the factory itself), information systems, culture and organizational structure.

Six maturity levels have been developed which describe the development of an ideal Industrie 4.0 company. The use of discrete stages ensures the manageability of the transformation process, which often extends over several years. The model thus serves both to define realistic stages and to develop a long-term mission statement.

As a regulatory framework for the processes within the company, a distinction is made between five different functional areas. These follow the value chain from development and production through logistics and service to marketing and sales. The business processes examined can be assigned to the functional areas with the aid of appropriate regulatory frameworks.

Maturity Levels

“Computerization” comprises the use of information technologies for all processes running in a company. This includes the processing as well as the documentation of planning, organizational and operative tasks. Data and information are stored centrally and are available for analysis.
“Connectivity” describes the state in which the various resources and processes are linked via interfaces. Isolated recording and processing of data and information only takes place in exceptional cases. This avoids media breaks and the associated loss of information.
“Visibility” enables the first benefit actually propagated by Industrie 4.0, namely the attainment of information and decision transparency in operational processes. All actions within the company are fully documented and can be observed in real time.
“Transparency” expands the “what” by the “how” and “why”. The extended understanding can be used to build a comprehensive expert system.
“Predictability” as the fifth stage transforms this expert knowledge into forecasts. Future system conditions are derived from corresponding models and mechanisms for decision support are provided. The robustness and speed of the decision processes continues to increase.
“Adaptability” describes the autonomization of these decision-making processes. To a certain extent, action alternatives are not only automatically generated, but also automatically evaluated and finally the one that appears most suitable is implemented.

How is the model operated?

The “Industrie 4.0 Maturity Index” not only allows the assessment of the status quo, but is also suitable for deriving concrete goals on the path of digital transformation. It should be emphasized that the model is not based on the premise that the highest degree of maturity must be a company’s short or medium-term goal. Rather, the strategic considerations of management and the business model result in an individual, homogeneous target image for digital transformation. Combined with the respective business processes under consideration, the degree of maturity can thus be determined in detail on the level of individual processes from various points of view. To evaluate a company, the fulfilment of these capabilities is checked, aggregated and condensed into a statement at the level of the functional areas or the company as a whole. Subsequently, detailed analyses can be carried out at process level. Concrete recommendations for action can be derived from the identified deficits, taking into account the strategic goals of the company, and transferred into a project roadmap.

How does the model develope?

The ‘Industrie 4.0 Maturity Center’ will deepen the ‘Industrie 4.0 Maturity Index’ by collecting and evaluating project data from the application in industrial companies for specific sectors and topics. A performance database will be developed and used for this purpose. It is the Single Source of Truth for the “Industrie 4.0 Maturity Index”. It provides the latest version of the model and supports data collection. New findings are published in studies and are thus available to the general public.