People are Key – Also in the Digital Age
THE TREND OF DIGITALIZATION IN MAINTENANCE IS definitely pushing through. And the proof is in the pud-ding, because the first virtual con-ference on digital strategies and new technologies in maintenance & asset management, Asset Performance 4.0, welcomed over 670 participants who enjoyed more than 100 presentations and keynotes on the future of main-tenance.
In his opening keynote, Knud Lasse Lueth, CEO of IOT Analytics, stated that an overwhelming amount of companies say Industry 4.0 creates value for them. 78 percent of companies experimenting with 4.0 technologies see a positive ROI change. But they still face major challenges. It is no surprise that the main challenge is investing in peo-ple, training and cultural change. In an all-technology era, the human factor still stays the most important.
This vision is shared by Terrence O’Hanlon of ReliabilityWeb: “You need tech-nology and processes, but ultimately, you need leadership because everything depends on the people”, he stated in his keynote, “4.0 technology alone will not get you reliability, the first step is to empower your workforce.”
I takes two to tango
Where technicians in the past manually inspected machines and manually sched-uled repairs, 4.0 technologies allow us to let machines do the thinking: they can de-tect the failures, report them automatically, and, when needed, schedule in a main-tenance intervention automatically. In coming years, we will depend more and more on Artificial Intelligence to tell us what to do and when to do it. But before we are there, the algorithms will need to learn from the knowledge and experience in the head of our technicians and engineers. And the technicians and engineers will need to learn how to learn from the algorithms.
Research by BEMAS, the Belgian Maintenance Association, with some companies adopting maintenance and industry 4.0 technology, revealed a huge gap between what workers and managers should know about AI and their current competency level.
Covid-19 accelerated the digital revolution, which is having an impact on 4.0, too. Remote working inspires many companies for having remote monitoring. As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella put it at Asset performance 4.0: “We have seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months”. The ball of digitalisation is rolling. If you are active in the field of maintenance, reliability and asset manage-ment, then it is time to step up your digital skills…
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