Industry 4.0: Support to acquire I4.0 audit services
About this good practice
The initiator is the Tuscany Region, which aims to encourage (through vouchers) the acquisition of "Audit and assessment services of the I4.0 potential" by SMEs. The core objective of the call is to support the implementation of the Regional Strategy on Industry 4.0. The call contributes to:
- promote the technological, organisational and socio-economic contents of the new Industry 4.0 paradigm, also through the granting of subsidies in the form of capital contribution, normally paid in the form of a voucher;
- introduce digital technologies in enterprises, with particular reference to SMEs, to the relationship between the buyer / supply chain and regional specialised production chains;
- identify the specialised skills, technical training and professional, higher education needed by Industry 4.0;
- examine the impact of Industry 4.0 on the organisation of work.
These are capital grants and disbursed, as a rule, in the form of a voucher, with specific parameters relating to the eligible expenditure, the intensity of the subsidy and the maximum duration of the projects. The GP is implemented through the constitution of a Regional Business Support Platform. The main beneficiaries are SMEs in single or associated forms, networks of companies with legal personality, consortia of companies.
The call for tenders has a 2018-2020 financial budget of 1,5 M EUR and is co-financed by the ERDF ROP 2014-2020, Axis A action 1.1.2 A.
SMEs are funded through capital grants in the form of vouchers to acquire I4.0 audit services from a certified catalogue of services of the Tuscany Region.
Evidence of success
This good practice provides an in-depth knowledge to analyse and diagnose the status of I4.0 in the region and provides the basis to draft the necessary support policies and actions for its development. The analysis of I4.0 Audits shows that companies, although trying to adapt to the new scenario, tend to maintain traditional working methods. They are investing in management software and new professional profiles, but need to work more on culture, organisation and training.
Potential for learning or transfer
The practice can be of interest for many regions as it provides a practical roadmap to assess the level of technological readiness, absorption capacity and innovative potential of the productive actors (particularly SMEs). It also provides diagnostic tools to gauge the effectiveness of the functioning of the regional innovation ecosystem.
To mobilise different kinds of stakeholders (knowledge and service providers, academic experts and innovation practitioners, public and private institutions, etc) to favour the adoption of the Industry 4.0 paradigm, approach and solutions by regional SMEs, it helps to promote technological, organisational and socio-economic aspects of I4.0; introduce digital technologies to enterprises; identify I4.0-related specialised skills; and examine the impact that I4.0 has on work organisation.