The aim of this paper is to analyse the relevance of cyber-physical systems (CPS) in different manufacturing contexts and to study whether CPS could provide companies with competitive advantage by carrying out a better scheduling task. This paper is developed under the umbrella of contingency theory which states that certain technologies and practices are not universally applicable or relevant in every context; thus, only certain companies will benefit from using particular technologies or practices. The conclusion of this paper, developed through deductive reasoning and supported by preliminary simulation experiments and statistical tests, is that factories with an uncertain and demanding market environment as well as a complex production process could benefit the most from implementing a CPS at shop-floor level since a cyber-physical shop-floor will provide all the capabilities needed to carry out the complex scheduling task associated with this type of context. On the other hand, an increase in scheduling performance due to a CPS implementation in factories with simple production flows and stable demand could not be substantial enough to overcome the high cost of installing a fully operational CPS.
- Contingency theory
- Cyber-physical systems, architectures, preliminary survey
- Dynamic scheduling
- Industry 4.0
- smart manufacturing