Get educated for Industry 4.0 economy | Cranefield College

Get educated for Industry 4.0


Cranefield’s courses are designed to serve organisational leadership, management and governance needs of the Industry 4.0 economy. Learn to achieve performance excellence
through programme-managing cross-functional and inter-organisational supply chain and project activities in virtual networks of partners. The mode of delivery is live online enhanced distance learning.

New Enrollments Each Quarter

  • PhD in Commerce and Administration
  • Master’s Degree in Programme Management
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Programme Management
  • Advanced Diploma in Project Management
  • Advanced Certificate in Project Management
  • Short Courses
  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Short Courses

Transformational leadership is evolving

Professor Pieter Steyn expands on the way forward in preparing the construction and infrastructure sector for Industry 4.0. How organisations effectively leverage virtual networks within a collaborative environment will be key determining factors.

What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) is characterised by the increasing digitisation and interconnection of products, value chains and business models. Competitiveness no longer depends solely on optimisation of one’s own resources, but on total inter-organisational value chain innovativeness and supportive partner technologies, products, services and systems.

What are the implications for construction?

The construction and infrastructure sector is suffering from serious human capital constraints. Partnering with carefully selected organisations that have the resources to perform more non-core activities is a solution. With the aid of partner organisations, this sector can co-create innovative inter-organisational value and supply chains that operate in a collaborative business ecosystem. Effective and efficient programme management in the resulting virtual network of partners will contribute to an easing of excessive cost overruns and wastage.

How will technology shape future organisations?

The complexity of today’s technologies, artificial intelligence, mass data and internet of things calls for specialisation and sustainable collaboration among organisations. Consequently, organisational design, development and governance have entered a challenging new phase. This leads to inevitable strategic change of Industry 4.0 organisations, also in the construction and infrastructure sector, and demands the introduction of new horizontal value and supply chain business models. There is no doubt that this strategic transformation and change is driven by modern ICT artifacts that allow for the introduction and integration of new business models of vertical and horizontal value and supply chains. Moreover, to prevent going backwards in the Industry 4.0 economy, this compels organisations to adopt transformation and change initiatives as a priority strategy. Differentiation, combined with collaborative integration of work, has become of paramount importance.

Why will collaboration be a decisive factor?

Virtual value chains shape organisations into strategic, collaborative, value-driven entities where non-core activities are performed by partners with similar organisational cultures. A competitive edge is gained by collaboratively performing strategic activities more effectively and efficiently. This demands exceptional governance, transformational leadership excellence and systemic knowledge of applied programme management. This will result in efficient planning, monitoring and execution of construction programmes. Effective and efficient cross-functional and inter-organisational project management in virtual networks is a critical enabling competency of Industry 4.0 organisations, particularly in construction and infrastructure. Bottlenecks and schedule overruns will largely be curbed.

Can business risk be mitigated?

Today’s complexity of technologies, emerging business models and business environments calls for specialisation and sustainable collaboration. Vibrant, flexible, high-performing virtual organisations of specialised partners are the critical success factors of the emerging business environment. Critical for Industry 4.0 organisations is the enhancement of their operational resources and innovation potential through the involvement of local, regional and international virtual networks of partners with adequate logistical support. Cross-functional programme-managed structures and culture, combined with effective and efficient transformational leadership, management and governance, is the ideal vehicle for delivering the integration,  coordination, collaboration and synergy required for mitigating complexity
and risk, while achieving essential organisational performance, strategic benefits and value add in the Industry 4.0 environment.

It’s a complex field. What are the study routes available?

The academic programmes offered by Cranefield College are purposefully designed to serve the organisational leadership, management and governance needs of the Industry 4.0 economy. Cranefield’s staff and students have performed extensive practical research at master’s and doctoral levels and published groundbreaking articles, resulting in Cranefield being the educational leader in this field. Cranefield’s academic programmes and courses focus on achieving organisational value chain performance excellence through programme-managed cross-functional and inter-organisational supply chain and project portfolios that ensure effective and efficient differentiation,
integration and collaboration of work generally shaped as virtual networks of partners. Transformational leadership for strategic success remains a strong focus throughout.

How is the coursework

Cranefield’s technology-enhanced distance learning model offers substantial advantages in terms of flexibility and agility. Students spend only one five-hour session per month in lectures, either on-site at the College’s Midrand
auditorium or live online from work or home. If unable to participate in a live session, students can still subsequently view an online recording thereof. For case discussions in syndicate groups, students are able to meet in a dedicated online collaboration room where they can see and hear each other in an organised fashion, using Cranefield’s cutting-edge virtual learning environment. All Cranefield’s academic programmes, from the Advanced
Certificate in Project Management (AdvCertPM) to the Master’s degree in Programme Management (MComPM) and PhD, are available to students nationwide and internationally through technology-enhanced distance learning, combining live classes with e-learning support.

And, in closing, which
course is best career wise?

Like all professional disciplines, programme and project management is a lifelong field of endeavour. The AdvCertPM course content is essential to grasp the tools and techniques of project management. The MComPM is a specialised professional qualification in project and programme management
that has proved invaluable to numerous Cranefield graduates, taking them to new heights in their careers. Importantly, the Master’s degree programme
includes a module on physical asset management. The PhD programme entails the highest level of advanced professional study and academic attainment, and is correspondingly available only to exceptional performers. For continuing professional development, the CPD short courses in project and programme
management, validated by ECSA for 3 CPD points each, are strongly recommended.