Industry 4.0



The NEW Manufacturing Alliance seeks input from Northeast Wisconsin manufacturing companies, large and small, on needs related to Industry 4.0 – the growing trend toward big data, cybersecurity, system integration, automation, and other technologies in the manufacturing industry. NEWMA works in partnership with St. Norbert College to replicate the Industry 4.0 study, initially conducted in March 2019. A Microsoft grant enabled NEWMA to host the 2021 study.

This study serves as a benchmark of where each company is in relation to Industry 4.0, compared with other companies. The aim is to gain an accurate view of regional involvement to help drive decision-making on the region’s workforce needs. The 2019 study results significantly impacted new degree programs now being offered at regional colleges and universities. 

One person from the company should complete the survey, though it may be helpful to have additional people from your organization on hand to provide input. Survey responses are anonymous and are combined with the estimated 100 other company respondents.


The survey results have helped develop new career and educational pathways.

The Microsoft-funded survey, conducted from February to April 2019, studied current and future technology needs, skills and talent for manufacturers in Northeast Wisconsin. The NEW Manufacturing Alliance collaborated with area stakeholders and the Strategic Research Institute (SRI) at St. Norbert College to design and issue the survey to manufacturers. Metal, paper, allied products and machinery represented the largest economic sectors reached, with 104 companies completing the survey.

For more than a decade, manufacturers in Northeast Wisconsin have recognized the growing need for more skilled workers in the New North region, developing programs and increasing enrollment in skilled programs like welding, robotics and engineering.  Now, Alliance members hope to grow educational and career pathways in technology to accommodate Industry 4.0 needs in northeast Wisconsin.

Industry 4.0 essentially marries advanced production and operations techniques with smart digital technologies. It can include robotics, analytics, artificial intelligence and cognitive technologies, nanotechnology, quantum computing, wearables, the Internet of Things, additive manufacturing, and advanced materials.

Results of the survey shows that Northeast Wisconsin manufacturing companies are either investing or holding steady in at least some Industry 4.0 technologies. However, a significant 88% of companies have only a partial plan or no plan for implementing Industry 4.0. 


  • Areas of greatest current investment in Industry 4.0 technologies are cybersecurity and automation-robotics.
  • In the next 2-3 years, manufacturers plan to focus the greatest investment in Industry 4.0 on growth in automation-robotics (62%), cybersecurity (56%), cloud computing (56%), industrial Internet of Things (48%), smart integration (48%) and big data analytics (47%).
  • Occupation demand/growth areas likely in the next three years include; Process Engineers, Cybersecurity Officers, Industrial Computer Programmers, Data Management Analysts, Data Engineers, Data Architects and Application Developers.

For more information, please contact NEWMA’s executive director Ann Franz by phone at (920) 498-5587 or