Smart Maintenance - maintenance in digitalised manufacturing
Doctoral thesis, 2019
What does digitalised manufacturing entail for maintenance organizations? This is a pressing question for practitioners and scholars within industrial maintenance management who are trying to figure out the best ways for responding to the rapid advancement of digital technologies. As technology moves faster than ever before, this is an urgent matter of uttermost importance. Specifically, in order to secure the success of highly automated, intelligent, connected and responsive production systems, industrial maintenance organizations need to transform to become leading enablers of high performance manufacturing in digitalised environments. In this thesis, this transformation is referred to as “Smart Maintenance”.
The purpose of this thesis is to ensure high performance manufacturing in digitalised environments by enabling the adoption of Smart Maintenance. In order to stimulate adoption, a holistic understanding of Smart Maintenance is needed. Therefore, the aim of this thesis is to describe future scenarios for maintenance in digitalised manufacturing as well as to conceptualize and operationalize Smart Maintenance. The holistic understanding has been achieved through a phenomenon-driven research approach consisting of three empirical studies using multiple methods.
Potential changes for maintenance organizations 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 organizations. In addition, three wildcard scenarios describe eventualities that are less probable, but which could have large impacts. These scenarios serve as input to the long-term strategic development of maintenance organizations.
Smart Maintenance is defined as “an organizational design for managing maintenance of manufacturing plants in environments with pervasive digital technologies” and has four core dimensions: data-driven decision-making, human capital resource, internal integration and external integration. Manufacturing plants adopting Smart Maintenance are likely to face implementation issues related to change, investments and interfaces, but the rewards are improved performance along multiple dimensions when internal and external fit have been achieved.
Smart Maintenance is operationalized by means of an empirical measurement instrument. The instrument consists of a set of questionnaire items that measure the four dimensions of Smart Maintenance. It can be used by practitioners to assess, benchmark and longitudinally evaluate Smart Maintenance in their organization, and it can be used by researchers to study how Smart Maintenance impacts performance.
This thesis has the potential to have a profound impact on the practice of industrial maintenance management. The scenarios described allow managers to see the bigger picture of digitalisation and consider changes that they might otherwise ignore. The rich, understandable, and action-inspiring conceptualization of Smart Maintenance brings clarity to practitioners and policy-makers, supporting them in developing implementation strategies and initiatives to elevate the use of Smart Maintenance. The measurement instrument makes it possible to measure the adoption of Smart Maintenance in manufacturing plants, which serves to develop evidence-based strategies for successful implementation. Taken together, the holistic understanding achieved in this thesis enables the adoption of Smart Maintenance, thereby ensuring high performance manufacturing in digitalised environments.