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As industrial plants plan for Maintenance 4.0 implementation, there are several factors to consider.  The following list is starting point for the planning process:

Investments Based on Business Case: The primary obligation to shareholders does not change just because of the changes occurring within the manufacturing arena.  What does this mean from a practical perspective?  Strategic choices require due diligence and investments must be made based on expected returns to the business. If you cannot justify the investment to your shareholders, it should not be made.

Incrementalism: Adopting Maintenance 4.0 does not mean eliminating existing maintenance processes and technologies.  Yes, there are legacy systems that are no longer effective, but the default should be to adopt existing practices. In fact, it is most likely that part of your organization already implements certain so-called Maintenance 4.0 practices.  Big bets on new, still-evolving solution categories should be minimized.

Upgrade Existing Maintenance Practices: In support of incrementalism mentioned above, industrial plants should evaluate Maintenance best practices that can be adopted in parallel to Maintenance 4.0

Adaptability: The fast pace of innovation has significant implications for industrial plants adopting a new strategy. Will a solutions breakthrough that occurs in 2020 be redundant by 2025? An accelerated speed of change is the new normal and companies must adjust their mindsets and identify opportunistic ways to incorporate new Maintenance 4.0 solutions while minimizing disruption to operations.

Data as an Asset: Big Data is the oxygen of Maintenance 4.0. Although vast amounts of data are generated by sensors embedded within industrial machinery, most of it is not yet used today.  A guiding principle for a Maintenance 4.0 strategy is that data governance practices must be instituted and the underlying value of operational data should be captured.

O&M Employee Collaboration: Successful implementation of Maintenance 4.0 cannot happen unless plant-level employees’ views are considered as part of the requirements process.  Without allocating resources to training and on-boarding, Maintenance 4.0 will be stuck in the planning phase.

Share Risk with External Vendors: Industrial players are unable to keep pace with the rapid pace of change. Fortunately, OEMs and other service providers are finding ways to address the market opportunity and overcome challenges to their own underlying businesses.  Industrial plants should spend the time understanding the strategic roadmap of their most important OEM suppliers and consider mutually beneficial ways to align investments and plans.