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The following is an abstract from a new research project on the adoption of Maintenance 4.0 and Machine Learning based Predictive Maintenance.  The study was conducted by Emory University students and sponsored by Presenso.  

Research Objective

The objective of this question was to identify the extent to which:

1) senior executives have devised a formal Maintenance 4.0 strategy

2) communicated this strategy broadly within the organization

3) there is employee buy-in of the Maintenance 4.0 strategy

Maintenance 4.0 


  • 43% of respondents indicated that to the best of their knowledge there is no formal Maintenance 4.0 strategy.
  • 37% stated that there is a Maintenance 4.0 strategy, but it has not been clearly articulated
  • Only 9% stated that the strategy has been clearly articulated, but there is NO employee buy-in.
  • 11% of respondents stated that the Maintenance 4.0 strategy has been articulated and there is widespread buy-in.

 Analyst Reports / Third Party Research Findings

  • A 2018 Deloitte survey of 361 executives across 11 countries found that 94% view digital transformation is a “top strategic objective” for their organization. However, only 14% are highly confident that their organizations can fully harness the changes.
  • A 2018 PCW survey of 1,100 executives at global manufacturing companies indicated that only 6% of executives from manufacturing and process industries consider their organizations to be “Digital Champions.” However, a significant percentage (26%) classified their organizations as “Digital Innovators.”


Most the analyst research that is conducted on Maintenance 4.0 and Industry 4.0 is focused on the perspective of senior management.  Our findings, based on O&M perspectives, suggest that there is a disconnect between senior management that are committed to Maintenance 4.0 based on the business value and plant level employees that are either unaware of uncommitted to Maintenance 4.0.

Our research suggests that there may be a breakdown in communication between key decision makers and O&M workers.  This will need to be addressed as part of program rollouts.

Another troubling finding relates to employee buy-in.  Out of the 20% of respondents that indicated that a Maintenance 4.0 strategy has been articulated, there was almost a 50/50 split between those who believe that was employee buy-in and those who indicated that there was NO employee buy-in.   There are several potential reasons for this hesitation on the part of O&M employees including job security and concerns that plants lack the resources (e.g., Big Data scientists) for implementation.


Without discounting the importance of enabling technologies (IIoT infrastructure, Maintenance 4.0 Industrial Insights and Predictive Maintenance platforms, 3D printing etc.), decision makers should consider that change management is in integral in the adoption of Maintenance 4.0.

From a practical perspective, internal change champions and evangelists should play a role in gaining plant-level buy-in, communicating Quick Wins and engaging in key stakeholders across the organization.

Maintenance 4.0 will not be a top-down decision.  It requires the input and support of O&M staff that will ultimately be responsible for implementation.

Further Research 

Maintenance 4.0 Research Infographic

2018 Emory Research Project:  The Future of IIoT Predictive Maintenance

Further Reading and Guidance from Presenso

Are O&M Employees’ Concerns About Maintenance 4.0 Justified?

How to scale Machine Learning-based Predictive Maintenance solutions

Is the Smart Factory a Good Investment? An Incremental Approach to Digitalization