Evolving Paradigms in Operations Management: A Systematic Review of Industry 4.0 to 5.0 Transitions in South African Supply Chains


Author(s): Alexander Samuels, Blessing Takawira & Thokozani Patmond Mbhele

Background: The rapid advancement from Industry 4.0 to Industry 5.0 is reshaping global operational landscapes, introducing a new era where technology, strategy, and sustainability intersect. This evolution is particularly significant in South Africa, where supply chains are a critical component of the economic framework and are increasingly influenced by technological innovations, demanding a comprehensive understanding of their implications. Purpose of the Study: This study aims to systematically review the existing literature to explore the evolving paradigms in operations management as businesses transition from Industry 4.0 to Industry 5.0, focusing on the South African supply chain context. The primary objective is to ascertain how this transition impacts operational practices, decision-making processes, and overall supply chain efficiency. Design/Methodology/Approach: Adopting a systematic literature review methodology, the study analyses 13 peer-reviewed articles, employing thematic analysis to identify, synthesise, and interpret the significant themes emerging from the literature. The PRISMA framework guided the selection and review process, ensuring a rigorous and replicable research approach. Results/Findings: The findings reveal that the transition from Industry 4.0 to Industry 5.0 in South African supply chains is driving a significant shift toward more integrated, intelligent, and sustainable operations. Key themes identified include the pivotal role of advanced technologies like AI and IoT, the increasing importance of data-driven decision-making, and the integration of sustainability and innovation in operational frameworks. Recommendations: Future research should focus on empirical studies to validate the theoretical insights and explore the practical implications of Industry 5.0 technologies. For industry practitioners, embracing a strategic approach to technology adoption, fostering a culture of innovation, and prioritizing sustainability are recommended to leverage the opportunities presented by this transition. Managerial Implication: Managers and industry leaders must navigate the complexities of this new industrial era by developing competencies in emerging technologies, adopting resilient and adaptive operational strategies, and championing sustainability. Policymakers should facilitate this transition through supportive regulations, fostering innovation ecosystems, and ensuring the workforce is equipped with the requisite skills for a future-oriented industry.