UofL’s Will Metcalf, Lihui Bai, Faisal Aqlan and Kunal Kate, who lead the new Center for Organizational Readiness towards Enterprise 4.0. 
UofL’s Will Metcalf, Lihui Bai, Faisal Aqlan and Kunal Kate, who lead the new Center for Organizational Readiness towards Enterprise 4.0. 

The University of Louisville has launched a new Center for Organizational Readiness toward Enterprise 4.0 (CORE4.0) aimed at helping companies prepare for smart and connected technology such as automation, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.  

Backed by a new roughly $500,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the center will provide research, assessment, recommendations and workforce development to industries looking to adopt — or adapt to — the disruptive technology at the core of the fourth industrial revolution. 

UofL researcher Faisal Aqlan, who runs the center with colleagues Lihui Bai, Kunal Kate and Will Metcalf, said this revolution — also known as Industry 4.0 or Enterprise 4.0. — has the potential to radically transform a number of industries, and the benefits will go to companies that plan ahead.   

“Think of a smart factory, where all the machines can talk to each other and anticipate or even address problems,” said Aqlan, a center co-director and associate professor of industrial engineering at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering. “Similar changes have happened in logistics and healthcare, where smart, connected technologies have helped increase productivity and accuracy, lower labor costs and improve safety. These technologies can greatly improve operations, but they have to be implemented correctly.” 

According to a recent Industry 4.0 organizational readiness survey by Deloitte, just 10% of companies had a long-range strategy for integrating these technologies — and those companies were innovating and growing faster. A full two thirds of companies surveyed had no formal strategy at all.   

“Strategy is absolutely critical to success in leveraging these technologies,” said Bai, a center co-director who also leads UofL’s Logistics and Distribution Institute (LoDI). “Our goal is to help companies understand where they are in terms of readiness —  maybe theyre missing infrastructure or the workforce thats needed to integrate and maintain. Then, UofL researchers will give them a solid roadmap to where they want to go.”  

CORE4.0 will engage three industry sectors including manufacturing, logistics and healthcare, through partnership with Western Kentucky University, Metals Innovation Initiative (Mi2) and Louisville Healthcare CEO Council. The center draws on the combined research strength of the UofL’s LoDI and the Office of Research and Innovation, with the industry expertise of the Louisville Healthcare CEO Council and the Metals Innovation Initiative (MI2). 

“UofL and its partners represent significant earned experience and strength in each of these sectors, and with cutting-edge technology,” said Metcalf, a co-investigator and associate vice president in the UofL Office of Research and Innovation. “We look forward to working with industry to leverage that strength to enter Industry 4.0.”   

Industry leaders interested in working with the Center for Organizational Readiness toward Enterprise 4.0 can contact uofllogistics@louisville.edu