International Journal of Production Research

Human-centric production and logistics system design and management: transitioning from Industry 4.0 to 5.0

Aims and Scope

Industry 4.0 was presented in 2011 as a new industrial revolution, which could be seen as a natural extension of past trends in automation leading to the Internet of Things and Data Analytics technologies. Its goal was to significantly raise the level of sophistication of interconnected technologies to increase the competitiveness of manufacturing industry. The development was followed by a pervasive trend in many countries to digitalize more aspects of life and society at large, inspired by manufacturing industry’s investments in low-latency interconnectedness, tracking systems, collaborative robots, machine learning and virtual or augmented reality technologies. In this “everything 4.0” development, emergent terms like Operator 4.0 (Romero et al., 2020), Smart Manufacturing (Kusiak, 2018) or Logistics 4.0 (Winkelhaus and Grosse, 2020), have their basis in a vision of enabling the sustainable satisfaction of individualized demands from workers and customers, using digital technologies. However, as observed by Neumann et al. (2021), this implicit promise of benefit to humans has been almost entirely detached from Human Factors perspectives, even though the technological developments have been fundamentally shifting the role of humans in operations systems.


Production and logistics systems are sociotechnical systems, with an explicit understanding that all systems involve ongoing interactions between people and technology, and they are rapidly transforming virtually all areas of human life, work, and interaction (Neumann et al., 2021). The impact of digitalization is substantially changing the way human work is organized and performed. Human factors are still underrepresented in this research stream, resulting in an important research and application gap. Although there are manifold new forms of interaction between humans and technologies within business transformation, it is still not fully clear to stakeholders in both industry and research what fully “digitalized” production and logistics systems might look like or how they might operate. For most practitioners, the digital transformation and its implications on human operations processes remain a big black box.


Although automation, digitalization and assistive technologies are becoming more prevalent in production and logistics, there is consensus that humans will remain an essential part of operations systems (Sgarbossa et al., 2020; Kadir et al., 2019). Recently, the European Commission began to promote a complementary new approach, called Industry 5.0, where “the wellbeing of the worker is placed at the centre of the production process and uses new technologies to provide prosperity beyond jobs and growth while respecting the production limits of the planet” (European Commission, 2021). The absence of human and environmental sustainability in “4.0” thinking has led to the push for a more sustainable Industry 5.0 vision of the future – with the explicit goal of ensuring that new production and logistics systems provide a win-win for both companies and society. Specifically, Industry 5.0 aims at a more human-centred approach to the design of industrial operations systems. The Industry 5.0 vision overcomes the weaknesses of Industry 4.0 by including explicit attention to outcomes for humans in the system to create systems that are human-centric, resilient and sustainable.


This special issue aims to further the Industry 5.0 agenda with a focus on human-centred design and human factors aspects. We draw on the technological potentials of Industry 4.0 while adopting the human-centred goals of Industry 5.0 for increased sustainability of these systems for employees (Docherty et al., 2002). To this end, the special issue will publish innovative approaches for the integration of human factors in production and logistics system design and management to create highly sustainable, human-centric and resilient work systems that use sophisticated technology to contribute to human prosperity.


We welcome submissions from researchers knowledgeable in the intersection of Industry 4.0 applications and Human Factors perspectives to shed new light on how to integrate human factors perspectives into technologically sophisticated Industry 5.0 work environments. Contributions must include discussions on real-life applications of the proposed approach to production and logistics systems, providing managerial insight for decision-makers in industry and new research perspectives.


The International Journal of Production Research publishes convincing scientific results with clear, real-life applications as well as fundamental techniques to solve complex decision problems that arise in design, management and control of production and logistics systems.


Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Observed technology usage and physical, cognitive and psychosocial human factors in Industry 4.0/5.0 operations and logistics management

  • The impact of Industry 4.0 technologies on system design and human errors

  • Technology support for an ageing workforce

  • The impact, chances and challenges of using assistive devices and assistance systems in manual industrial work

  • Technology adoption, reliability and maintainability

  • Human-technology/robot cooperation and collaboration

  • Opportunities to utilize human factors in Industry 4.0/5.0 for human-centred digital production and logistics 4.0/5.0 systems design

  • Reduction of injury risks in manual operations through technology usage

  • Joint consideration of social and economic impacts of Industry 4.0 technologies at different decentralized decision levels

  •  Integrating assistive and collaborative technologies in modelling

  • Innovative and thought-provoking Industry 5.0 concepts and approaches

  • Development and analysis of traditional and advanced analytical and mathematical models for Industry 5.0 innovation

  • Case studies and experimental studies on the integration of human factors into decision support models for Industry 5.0 innovation

  • Simulation approaches for designing and coordinating operations and logistic systems to gain insights into the interaction of human factors, technology and Industry 5.0 systems design



Manuscripts should be submitted via the submission site for International Journal of Production Research:

On Step 5 of the submission form, please select “HF in I5.0” from the special issue dropdown menu.

Manuscripts should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. For Guide for Authors, please refer to the webpage:


The submission deadline is 31/12/2021.

The Special Issue is scheduled for publication in fall 2022.

Special Issue Editors

  • Managing Guest Editor

    • Dr. Fabio Sgarbossa, Professor of Industrial Logistics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway

  • Guest Editors:

    • Dr. Eric Grosse, Professor of Digital Transformation in Operations Management, Saarland University, Germany

    • Dr. W. Patrick Neumann, Professor of Human Factors Engineering, Ryerson University, Canada

    • Dr. Cecilia Berlin, Associate Professor of Production Ergonomics / Human factors and Socially sustainable work systems, Chalmers University, Sweden


Docherty, P., Forslin, J., & (Rami) Shani, A. B. (2002). Creating sustainable work systems. London: Routledge.

European Commission (2021). Industry 5.0.

Kadir, B. A., Broberg, O., & da Conceição, C. S. (2019). Current research and future perspectives on human factors and ergonomics in Industry 4.0. Computers & Industrial Engineering, 137, 106004.

Neumann, W. P., Winkelhaus, S., Grosse, E. H., & Glock, C. H. (2021). Industry 4.0 and the human factor–A systems framework and analysis methodology for successful development. International Journal of Production Economics, 233, 107992.

Kusiak, A. (2018). Smart manufacturing. International Journal of Production Research, 56(1-2), 508-517.

Romero, D., Stahre, J., & Taisch, M. (2020). The Operator 4.0: Towards socially sustainable factories of the future. Computers & Industrial Engineering, 139, 106128.

Sgarbossa, F., Grosse, E. H., Neumann, W. P., Battini, D., & Glock, C. H. (2020). Human factors in production and logistics systems of the future. Annual Reviews in Control, 49, 295-305.

Winkelhaus, S., & Grosse, E. H. (2020). Logistics 4.0: a systematic review towards a new logistics system. International Journal of Production Research, 58(1), 18-43.