Document Type : Research Paper


1 Doctoral student of Industrial Management, Yazd University, Yazd, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Department of Industrial Management, Yazd University, Yazd, Iran

3 Professor, Department of Industrial Management, Yazd University, Yazd, Iran


Circular economy and Industry 4.0 are concepts that have garnered significant attention from businesses and universities in recent years. They are currently being promoted by many governments worldwide. The synergy between these two concepts offers the potential to move towards a more sustainable society and address the environmental and economic challenges related to managing organizational operations. This research aims to analyze the factors enabling the implementation of circular economy and Industry 4.0 in the supply chain of Yazd glass factories. In the initial phase of the research, a review of various articles was conducted using the meta-synthesis method to identify and categorize relevant enablers. This process resulted in the identification of 15 enablers categorized into four dimensions: economic, human resources, organizational management, and infrastructure. In the subsequent step, the Fuzzy DEMATEL technique was employed to examine the cause-and-effect relationships. The findings indicate that, within the economic dimension, the most influential enablers are "budget allocation for the implementation of circular economy and Industry 4.0" and "stimulation of demand for circular products." In the human resources dimension, "training and development of employees" and "organizational culture" play crucial roles. In the organizational-management dimension, "support and commitment of senior management" and "cooperation and networking with supply chain partners (industrial coexistence)" are highly significant. Lastly, within the infrastructure dimension, "development of information technology standards and infrastructures" and "security and protection of intellectual property rights" are considered the most effective enablers for the implementation of circular economy and Industry 4.0 in the Yazd glass factories. The results indicate that the Ardakan glass factories of Yazd should prioritize attention to economic and infrastructural enablers when implementing circular economy and Industry 4.0.
The concept of the circular economy can be regarded as a solution to reduce production costs within a sustainable supply chain. In this context, the integration of cyber-physical systems, big data, data mining, data analytics, the Internet of Things, and novel business models can offer significant opportunities for the creation of sustainable industrial value, value capture, and the promotion of the circular economy (Antikainen et al., 2018). Industry 4.0, often referred to as the future of supply chains, can have numerous implications for sustainability, including the optimal utilization of resources and technology (Quezada et al., 2017). Based on the sustainability axis, the concept of Industry 4.0 aids industrial managers in encompassing not only environmental protection and control initiatives but also aspects of process safety, such as resource efficiency, human resource and societal well-being, and the development of smarter and more flexible supply chain processes (Luthra & Mangla, 2018). Numerous studies have explored the factors that impact the implementation of circular economy and Industry 4.0, and these factors have been broadly classified into categories such as barriers, challenges, drivers, and enablers (Fedotkina et al., 2019). Identifying the enablers that are effective in implementation is a crucial step in enhancing the performance of a circular and intelligent supply chain. Until these enablers are identified, it is impossible to determine their relative importance. Following their identification, industry practitioners and policymakers can develop appropriate strategies for their implementation. As such, this current research aims to identify, categorize, and analyze the effective enablers for implementing circular economy and Industry 4.0 at the Ardakan Glass Factory in Yazd, which is the largest glass factory in West Asia. To achieve this, both a qualitative method for enabler identification and the technical Dimtel method using fuzzy logic for establishing cause-and-effect relationships between enablers are employed. What sets this research apart from others is its focus on identifying the combined enablers for implementing the circular economy and Industry 4.0 at the Ardakan Glass Factory Group of Yazd, as well as the network approach that examines the relationships and interactions between these enablers. Given these key elements, this research aims to address the following questions:
-What are the effective enablers for implementing the circular economy and Industry 4.0 at the Ardakan glass factories in Yazd?
-What is the effectiveness and influence, including cause-and-effect relationships, of these enablers?
Materials and Methods
This research is categorized as applied-developmental research in terms of its purpose and is classified as a field-library study in terms of its methodology. Its objective is to formulate a novel scientific model of enablers for implementing circular economy and Industry 4.0 within organizational supply chains. Given the significant number of qualitative articles that have explored the enablers of Industry 4.0 and the circular economy across various industries and the need to establish a shared understanding of these enablers, the first stage of this research involved identifying effective enablers using the meta-synthesis qualitative method. Their validity was assessed through content validity, which involved obtaining opinions from 15 organizational experts. In the second phase of the research, the researchers evaluated the effectiveness and impact of these enablers using the Fuzzy DEMATEL method. The statistical population for the first stage of the research comprised all studies published in the Scopus database, the largest text database, related to the enablers that influence the implementation of circular economy and Industry 4.0 within organizational supply chains up until the commencement of this research. In the second stage of the research, the statistical population included all professors and managers with expertise in sustainability, familiar with circular economy, and knowledgeable about Industry 4.0 technologies at Ardakan Glass Factories in Yazd. For this phase, a purposeful sampling method was used to select ten participants.
Discussion and Results
The purpose of the current research is to analyze the enablers that are effective in implementing the circular economy and Industry 4.0 within the supply chain of Ardakan Glass Factories in Yazd. In the first stage of the research, various articles were reviewed, and the meta-combination method was employed to identify and categorize relevant enablers. This process led to the identification of 15 enablers across four dimensions: economic, human resources, organizational management, and infrastructure. In the second stage, the Fuzzy DEMATEL technique was utilized to investigate the cause-and-effect relationships between these enablers. The research results revealed that the economic and infrastructural enablers are considered influential dimensions that affect human resources and organizational management dimensions. Within the economic dimension, "budget allocation for the implementation of the circular economy and Industry 4.0" and "stimulation of demand for circular products" emerged as the most effective enablers. Additionally, in the infrastructure dimension, "development of IT standards and infrastructure" was identified as the most influential enabler for the implementation of the circular economy and Industry 4.0 within the supply chain. In the organizational management dimension, "the support and commitment of senior management" was recognized as the most influential enabler.
While the enablers mentioned are considered among the most effective ones in implementing circular economy and Industry 4.0 in the Ardakan Glass Factories of Yazd, it's crucial for the glass industry to prioritize the most important enablers. It's essential to pay adequate attention to all identified enablers. Using specific guidelines and a checklist of effective enablers during decision-making can facilitate the decision-making process and enhance decision-making capabilities. Therefore, based on the identified enablers and their importance in this research, it's recommended to develop and provide guidelines and checklists for executive managers. Among the significant limitations of this research is the reliance on a single scientific database, Scopus, for sourcing research. It's advisable to supplement this by utilizing other databases such as Google Scholar and Web of Science. Additionally, the classification of enablers was conducted using a qualitative approach. Researchers are encouraged to name and categorize enablers using survey and quantitative methods, such as cluster analysis, to expand their research scope. Another limitation pertains to the research's statistical population, which was restricted to Ardakan Glass Factories in Yazd due to time and cost constraints. To generalize the research results, it's advisable to investigate the same research topic in other glass factories across the country. Future researchers could employ methods like fuzzy cognitive mapping and systems dynamics to examine relationships and interactions between enablers. Moreover, the enablers identified and analyzed in this research were primarily based on international studies. To adapt these enablers to the specific conditions of Iran's industries, it's suggested that in-depth interviews be conducted with industry owners. This way, certain enablers that may be unique to Iran's circumstances or require different interpretations can be revised.


Main Subjects

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