Document Type


Publication Date


Research Center

Center for Economic Development


The manufacturing sector faces more challenges than ever to remain a competitive force in Northeast Ohio. The evolution of manufacturing through the advent of Industry 4.0 poses the most pressing challenge, pushing manufacturers to adopt technologies that are driven by data analysis, cloud computing, and connectivity through the Industrial Internet of Things. Northeast Ohio is falling behind in the adoption of 4.0 technology, especially among small- and medium-sized companies, and some have even delayed adoption of 3.0 technologies like basic automation and the integration of computers into production processes. This research brief investigates the advantages of Industry 4.0 implementation and the potential consequences for Northeast Ohio’s reluctance to adopt new technologies in manufacturing. We examine the factors that led to Industry 4.0 adoption elsewhere and conclude with policy recommendations urging Northeast Ohio manufacturers to learn from early 4.0 adoptions at larger firms, identifying which strategies may be effectively implemented on a smaller scale.