The ‘Future of Maintenance’, or Maintenance 4.0 as it’s sometimes called, is gaining momentum. It’s a concept that’s getting harder and harder to ignore.

At its heart, the Future of Maintenance is about improving equipment performance while reducing your reliance on area maintenance experts by skillfully applying data science, automation, and intelligent assets.

We believe this transformational shift will forever change maintenance practices in the resources sector.

Top 6 Future of Maintenance fundamentals

There are six fundamentals you should acknowledge when preparing for your digital transformation journey.

  1. Recognise that the Future of Maintenance is already here
  2. Start with solid foundations to underpin long-term success
  3. Connecting people, assets, and technology is paramount
  4. Predictive maintenance principles are key
  5. Manage the people constraints
  6. Proactively manage change throughout your program

Let’s take a look at each of these six topics in more detail.

Recognise that the Future of Maintenance is already here

The Future of Maintenance started to gain traction as far back as 2010, and it’s been steadily growing and evolving over the past decade.

A number of industries, including manufacturing, have been experimenting with digitising their maintenance function for some years and are now reaping the rewards.

In its Top 10 Business Risk and Opportunities for Mining and Metals 2022 report, EY stated that more than 90 percent of resources organisations it surveyed plan to increase spending on IT and prioritise digitisation in the next 12 months.

Start with solid foundations to underpin long-term success

Digitising your maintenance program will help you optimise your results and performance well into the future. However, regardless of your chosen technology, getting the basics right will be central to your success.

Like all systems work, quality thinking, strong foundations, and well-defined processes make all the difference. Industry leaders are paying particular attention to:

  • asset criticality to target the most important assets
  • asset management strategies and tactics
  • proactive work management practices
  • continuous improvement.

Connecting people, assets and technology is paramount

While there may be fewer highly skilled maintenance professionals in the future, those on site will be able to do their jobs more quickly and safely.

As part of the Future of Maintenance, your maintenance professionals will use data and analytical tools as ‘digital advisors’, suggesting options and recommending the best course of action in a given situation.

Your teams will have the power and flexibility to mix and match a range of digital maintenance technology and solutions. Consider sensor-based condition monitoring, dynamic dispatching of work, and augmented reality (smart glasses and HoloLens), to name just a few.

Predictive maintenance principles are key

It’s our opinion that The Future of Maintenance will rely heavily on predictive maintenance principles. Data analysis will become a critical skill for maintenance teams and professionals.

With digitisation and data insights underpinning much of asset management moving forward, you will be able to save time and money by:

  • maintaining equipment only when you need to
  • reducing equipment downtime and undertaking less reactive work
  • eliminating many ineffective and time-intensive practices.

Manage the people constraints

The current skills shortage is the worst many of us have experienced in living memory. Sadly, we predict that challenges around maintenance resources will continue into the medium term.

To prepare your site for the Future of Maintenance, start to think about how you can:

  • employ training and retention strategies so you don’t lose good people. Consider ways to transfer knowledge to fast-track your results
  • use more site-based multi-disciplined maintenance team members rather than specialists
  • support your site-based team members using remote maintenance-focused data specialists
  • help your team members join you on the journey. Acknowledge that traditional roles will evolve, and new roles will be created. Explore what this might mean to your people and business.

Proactively manage change throughout your program

You often hear about transformation projects failing due to poor change management practices. To ensure this doesn’t happen at your site, leverage best practice strategies from start to finish as part of your Future of Maintenance digitisation program.

Some top tips include:

  • create a compelling vision and roadmap for the changes
  • leverage senior leaders who model and openly support the desired changes
  • identify the ‘what’s in it for me’ (WIIFM) benefits for those impacted by any changes.

Also think about how you can reach out to organisations that are further along the transformation journey. Contact other heavy industry organisations or manufacturers and see what good looks like. Why not take the opportunity to learn from their successes and avoid their setbacks?

Want to know more?

Want to know more about the Future of Maintenance, Maintenance 4.0, and how Minset can help you on your way? Please contact the Minset team for more information.