The international partnership of the Interreg North Sea Region (NSR) GrowIn 4.0 project convened from the 20th to 23rd of January for a virtual Steering Group Meeting. The main purpose of the meeting was to present all tools and methods developed and tested within the GrowIn 4.0 project, and to make a final selection of the suite of tools and methods to be available for the support of SMEs after the project end.

In the North Sea region, the manufacturing industry is of great importance in driving regional development. Many companies are therefore digitizing their production processes (Industry 4.0) so that they can continue to keep pace with structural change. For this reason, there is a great need for experience-based, intelligent and efficient methods to support SMEs on their way to Industry 4.0.

This is where the GrowIn 4.0 project comes in by identifying approaches to imparting digital know-how. By pooling knowledge about the manufacturing industry and Industry 4.0, innovative methods, tools and concepts will be developed. Thanks to this close collaboration with local SMEs, they benefit from newly acquired competencies and solution approaches on their way to digital transformation.

The project has already developed various tools and tested them for their practical use even after the project end. atene KOM has supported the transnational partnership in the development of such tools, including “Human Resources Management (HRM) Industry 4.0” and “Industry 4.0 Return on Investment (ROI)”.

One example of such tools currently being developed within the GrowIn 4.0 project is the Human Resources Mananment (HRM) Industry 4.0 Tool, which aims to provide a comprehensive overview of SMEs’ Industry 4.0 readiness in terms of Human Resources (i.e. how prepared all levels of staff are in terms of Industry 4.0). The idea behind this tool – the development of which is supported by atene KOM – is to access the competencies of employees to ensure they are equipped with the ‘skills of tomorrow’, and to identify skills gaps and weaknesses to be addressed to adapt to change.

A tool that has already been developed and tested within the GrowIn 4.0 project is the Industry 4.0 return on investment (ROI) tool. The ROI Tool provides a good starting point for companies new to the concept of Industry 4.0 and support others in visualising the financial impact of introducing Industry 4.0 into the company. The ROI tool is available online, which makes it easy to access and the responders receive a detailed report based on their answers with graphical representations of return on investment, benefits to cost ratio, and payback period. Integrated into the ROI Tool are real-world examples of pre-defined common issues faced by SMEs with Industry 4.0 related solutions.The current list of available tools and methods developed and tested within GrowIn 4.0 are available on the Interreg NSR project page. More tools and methods are to come.

Background

If the manufacturing industry in the NSR is to remain competitive, we need to capture the potential for productivity and growth that Industry 4.0 offers. The Interreg North Sea Region (NSR) GrowIn 4.0 project aims to build strong competences and tools in the participating regions for the benefit of manufacturing SMEs. The approach is to establish a strong partnership which pools knowledge on the manufacturing industry and Industry 4.0.

atene KOM supports the partnership in identifying tools and methods to help accelerate SMEs, as well as developing new business models and strategies for Industry 4.0 technologies in manufacturing industries. atene KOM supports mainly the delivery of the Work Package on training, education and recruitment of Industry 4.0 qualified staff, which entails a report on Industry 4.0 skills and knowledge, as well as testing developed methods related to human resources and tools to enhance Industry 4.0 skills and knowledge on 15-20 SMEs.

More information about GrowIn 4.0 can also be found on the project website: www.northsearegion.eu/growin4