• Dr.-Ing. Rainer Stark
    (TU Berlin, Industrial Information Technology, Fraunhofer IPK, Virtual Product Creation, Germany)
  • + tbd
    (TU Berlin, Industrial Information Technology, Fraunhofer IPK, Virtual Product Creation, Germany)


Currently industrial enterprises are globally and regionally face significant “game changer” situations of different flavors:

  • Political swift situations such as Brexit, volatile global trade treaties and irritations, increasing combat conflict potentials within and across the regions, ongoing and increasing corruption, strategic competition in landscape investments to ensure access to critical raw materials;
  • Substantial digital technology innovations (e.g. internet of things, IoT, Industry 4.0, new type of human-machine interactions) which shifts away innovation streams from physical and electronics towards software control, data and digital usage;
  • Rapidly evolving market situations due to new and different customer and user expectations in combination with new technology opportunities (e.g. prosumers based on new 3D printing skills, or crowd development and open design based on global internet collaboration platforms);
  • New digital data driven business models with high ambiguities around what and how to deliver new products to customers and users;
  • Rising societal expectations towards sustainability and stringent political pressure to establish circular economy systems and associated new enterprise and business collaborations set-ups.

All of the above mentioned change drivers increase the pressure on product and manufacturing companies to overhaul, modify, extend and partly to disruptively change their market offering (i.e. what to produce and how to deliver it to the market) and costumer engagements. Moreover it raises the difficult question how to innovate and modify their approach of developing such new type of “smart” products, services and production facilities and how to early on interact with costumers, consumers and users.


This paper deals with the core question on which “smart engineering” capabilities are key for the presence and future of product and manufacturing companies within such a volatile and fast changing environments. It describes results from several direct research projects with industry and provides an insight of the state of the art of existing industrial engineering capabilities, their associated challenges and limitations as well as the new capabilities that are essential for successful “smart engineering”.