Fields of Expertise

Competitiveness through Digitisation, Smart Production and Service Engineering


Industry 4.0 is expected to bring greater efficiency, flexibility and new (digital) business models. Service engineering is designed to strengthen regional competitiveness by allowing businesses with distinctive, hybrid products – product-service systems – to generate greater revenues and profits.

The experts at the Institute of Industrial Management support Austrian businesses in developing their individual strategies and procedures, help them devise innovative business models and publish the resulting scientific findings.

Working together with leading enterprises, the Institute of Industrial Management takes a practical approach to researching business challenges, procedures and tools by asking four key questions:

  • What digitisation strategies are appropriate?
  • How can an enterprise be vertically integrated so that it creates benefits for the company? This means linking IT systems from the shop floor to the top floor, using ERP systems, MES, process control levels, PLC and machines or robots with the aim of seamless, two-way data exchange.
  • How can customers and suppliers be horizontally integrated into a company’s supply chain processes?
  • What role do people play in each of these areas?

The Institute and a leading Austrian manufacturing enterprise are answering these questions in order to develop an Industry 4.0 roadmap which will also support medium-sized businesses on their way towards digital transformation. The Institute’s Industry 4.0 Laboratory features an automated micro-production facility and a manual assembly line for research purposes. They are used to test typical vertical IT integration and new technological approaches for linking machines and IT systems via RFID and the Internet of Things (IoT) using Arduino and Raspberry Pi, thereby demonstrating the potential for business.

Practical projects, (scientific) lectures and publications are used to disseminate the project results.

Austrian industry needs to generate additional revenue in order to strengthen competitiveness in general, and growth in particular. Optimising the production and supply chains often only results in marginal revenue rises. New technical products and services are more promising. Special hybrid products, i.e. a combination of product and service, increase differentiation and help businesses stand out from their competitors.

The Institute’s service engineering experts focus on questions such as:

  • What is the prevalent attitude to new services in companies?
  • Which services could be combined with (industrial) products?
  • Which combinations are currently successful in practice? And which aren’t?
  • How does one create a hybrid product?

Working on an applied R&D project together with practitioners at renowned Austrian businesses and the Logistikum in Steyr, the Institute of Industrial Management and the VNL (Association for Network Logistics) are developing methods and practical procedures and monitoring their applicability. In addition, good and best practice examples are identified and presented. The results are published and provide valuable input for future projects carried out in cooperation with companies.