PhD defense by Michele Colli

Designing the transformation towards a digital supply chain How to match the Industry 4.0 agenda to contextual needs and translate it into value By Michele Colli


10.12.2020 kl. 10.00 - 13.00


The weakening of Western economies caused by the offshoring phenomenon generated, in the early 2010s, the need for a new competitiveness lever that could bring back manufacturing as one of their core contributors. This led to what has been labelled as the “fourth industrial revolution” or, more synthetically, Industry 4.0. This technology-driven agenda is founded on transparency - or the availability of data across the supply chain - and used to take advantage of new (and old) digital technologies for generating value, either with the purpose of improving existing processes or enabling new ones. 

However, large manufacturers in the forefront of such industrial digital transformation – such as the ones we have been collaborating with - are still trying to understand how to tackle this transformation successfully and how to translate it into actual business value.

The aim of this research was to provide them with knowledge and frameworks for guiding the formulation of digital transformation strategies and for translating the enabling of transparency into operational performance improvement.

To do so and to contribute to extant literature, this research builds on two pillars:

  • The constant attention on linking the transformation to the context, adopting a contingency theory perspective and focusing on the learning activities necessary for understanding its characteristics
  • The continuous search for a match between exploration efforts, such as the adoption of new technologies and concepts, and their exploitation from a business point of view.

The project is part of the MADE Digital program and has been sponsored by the innovation fund.

Assessment Committee      

Associate Professor Atanu Chaudhuri (chairman)
Department of Materials and Production Aalborg University,Denmark

Associate Professor Sergio Terzi
Department of Engineering, Economics and Industrial Engineeringbil Politecnico di Milano, Italy

Associate Professor Arne Bilberg
Mads Clausen Institute Southern University of Denmark

Professor mso Brian Vejrum Wæhrens
Department of Materials and Production, Aalborg University

Professor Ole Madsen
Department of Materials and Production, Aalborg University

Practical details

The PhD defense will be hosted by Moderator Cheng Yang. The lecture constitutes a 45 minutes presentation by Michele Colli followed by a short break and a discussion session with questions from the opponents and the auditorium.

MS Teams link to the event



Cheng Yang


FIB 16, room 1.208 or virtuel by MS Teams

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