On the Transformation of Maintenance Organisations in Digitalised Manufacturing
Licentiate thesis, 2017

The key to ensuring competitiveness in the future of manufacturing is digitalisation. This has been unanimously recognised by all the world’s largest economies, which is spurring global efforts that will lead to the realisation of digitalised manufacturing: the next manufacturing era that will see a seamless convergence of the virtual and physical world. In this era, autonomous production systems in smart factories are expected to exhibit drastically higher levels of automation, productivity and resource efficiency. Maintenance will be a fundamental necessity in order to reap the benefits of such systems, but the manufacturing industry has historically demonstrated a discrepancy between the theoretical and practical importance of maintenance. Continuation of this discrepancy will lead to the gap of incompatibility: the time when the expectations on autonomous production in digitalised manufacturing are incompatible with a deprived status of maintenance. In order to close this gap, a transformation of maintenance organisations is needed. The purpose of this thesis is to ensure the successful realisation of digitalised manufacturing by transforming maintenance organisations into enablers of autonomous production systems. In order to support this transformation, an understanding of both the present and the future is needed. Therefore, the goal of this thesis is to identify current problems in maintenance organisations and describe future scenarios for maintenance organisations in digitalised manufacturing. A fundamental understanding of these current problems and future scenarios has been developed through a mixed methods research approach consisting of four empirical studies using surveys, case studies and Delphi-based scenario planning. A variety of current problems are identified. These problems need to be resolved in order to achieve the necessary foundation for digitalised manufacturing, e.g. high levels of OEE through effective handling of production disturbances, proactive maintenance organisations utilising modern engineering tools and methods, and well-functioning data production processes that produce high quality data to be used for fact-based decision making. Potential future changes for maintenance organisations in digitalised manufacturing are described in 34 projections for the year 2030. From these projections, eight probable scenarios are developed that describe the most probable future for maintenance organisations. In addition, three wildcard scenarios describe eventualities that are less probable, but which could have a large impact. These scenarios serve as input to the long-term strategic development of maintenance organisations. Synthesis mapping between current problems and future scenarios is provided in order to support maintenance organisations in embarking on their transformation. This mapping also serves to highlight the efforts needed in industry and academia in order to support such a transformation and close the gap of incompatibility. Resolving the current problems is expected to lead to increased overall utilisation of production capacity, and using the future scenarios in strategic development is expected to lead to increased preparedness for the disruptiveness of digitalised manufacturing. In summary, resolving the current problems and realising the future scenarios will support the successful realisation of digitalised manufacturing and secure the competitiveness of the Swedish manufacturing industry.

scenario planning


production disturbances





Virtual Development Laboratory (VDL)
Opponent: Basim Al-Najjar, Linnéuniversitetet, Växjö, Sweden


Jon Bokrantz

Chalmers, Product and Production Development, Production Systems

Subject Categories

Mechanical Engineering

Reliability and Maintenance

Areas of Advance




Virtual Development Laboratory (VDL)

Opponent: Basim Al-Najjar, Linnéuniversitetet, Växjö, Sweden

More information


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