Dr. Eckhard Heidling

Project Coordinator



Prospective Digital Work Design - New Opportunities for SMEs  

Initial situation

The most important driver of "Industry 4.0" is the advancing digitalisation, which enables new business models, forms of cooperation and management approaches. This affects many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which have relevant experience in direct internal exchange, building personal business relationships and developing individual solutions. In order to preserve these strengths in the digital transformation, SMEs must look ahead and create structures so that their employees can continue to work well under the changed requirements for work design and competence development. Most SMEs have neither the appropriate tools nor the resources to develop these themselves.

Aim of the research project

The aim of the ProdiKA research project is for SMEs to maintain and develop their strengths, which have grown from experience, against the background of advancing digitalisation. For this purpose, a prospective digital work design is being developed. It creates new, forward-looking structures with which SME employees can grow smoothly into the new requirements. Digital media and tools are used in a practice-oriented way. Structures conducive to learning are created on the basis of participatory principles in order to acquire appropriate competences. The development and exemplary implementation takes place in three fields of application: Digital information flow for work processes in the electronics industry, cloud-based personnel management for mobile, location-independent workplaces in production and business model development for instruction and maintenance services in control and systems engineering. Through workplace observations, interviews and workshops, overarching success factors are identified, recommendations for prospective digital work design are derived and prototypically validated in the companies. From this, practical guidelines, introduction scenarios, best practice examples and an atlas with specific "Industrie 4.0 competences" for SMEs will be developed. The approach will be made accessible to interested companies through generalised, low-threshold practical recommendations.

Social added value

The concept "Prospective Digital Work Design" provides essential support for an improved strategic positioning of SMEs in the context of Industry 4.0. It enables SMEs to efficiently manage their day-to-day business in a progressively changing environment and to pass on their experiential knowledge to their own employees in a digitally prepared form that is conducive to learning. The transfer of results is carried out by the cooperating companies and associations as well as chambers of commerce and industry and social partners. The scientific results are disseminated via the research partner's scientific networks and used in teaching at the cooperating universities.

All information on the project and the project partners can be found here!