Maintenance in digitalised manufacturing: Delphi-based scenarios for 2030
Journal article, 2017
Despite extensive research on future manufacturing and the forthcoming fourth industrial revolution (implying extensive digitalisation), there is a lack of understanding regarding the specific changes that can be expected for maintenance organisations. Therefore, developing scenarios for future maintenance is needed to define long-term strategies for the realisation of digitalised manufacturing. This empirical Delphi-based scenario planning study is the first within the maintenance realm, examining a total of 34 projections about potential changes to the internal and external environment of maintenance organisations, considering both hard (technological) and soft (social) dimensions. The paper describes a probable future of maintenance organisations in digitalised manufacturing in the year 2030, based on an extensive three-round Delphi survey with 25 maintenance experts at strategic level from the largest companies within the Swedish manufacturing industry. In particular, the study contributes with development of probable as well as wildcard scenarios for future maintenance. This includes e.g. advancement of data analytics, increased emphasis on education and training, novel principles for maintenance planning with a systems perspective, and stronger environmental legislation and standards. The scenarios may serve as direct input to strategic development in industrial maintenance organisations and are expected to substantially improve preparedness to the changes brought by digitalised manufacturing.