Focussing on Maintenance and Asset Management, we see many differences within capital-intensive companies around the world. But despite the differences in company size, culture, service provided or product produced, all maintenance departments are facing the same four megatrends.

‘It’s important to understand these trends, because it tell us something about the maintenance technicians of the future’, Mark Haarman explains. ‘What skills do they need, to face the challenges these trends bring along.’

The four D’s

The trends Haarman talks about, are expressed in the four D’s: De-aging, Decarbonisation, Digitalisation and Demographic Change. ‘We are facing aging assets and we need to reduce our carbon footprint. Also, we are rapidly sliding into an Industry 5.0 landscape: there are more and more digital solutions we can use within maintenance.’

Generation Z

The last D – Demographic Change – is about the difference in generations. From the baby boomers working at our companies (born between 1946 and 1960) who are used to do mostly visual inspections, to Generation Z, born after 1995. ‘You could say this generation was born with a mobile phone already in their hands. With increasing digitalisation, this is a very useful skill. This generation is also very aware of the growing shortage of raw materials and of the fact that we need to take better care of the environment. For their future, for their children’s future.’


A recent study – executed by Mainnovation and PwC – showed that the transition to using digital techniques in maintenance, is a long ride. ‘Survey results showed that Mobile Maintenance is very common nowadays. This can be explained by the fact that Mobile was introduced about twenty years ago. So, this technique benefits from 20+ years of evolution. Also the developments of many apps and mobile technologies, such as devices, Wi-Fi, UI, security etc., increased rapidly. This also leads to new opportunities for EAM  system suppliers. With platforms they create around the EAM system, you can take the next step to predictive maintenance or mobile maintenance.’

High hopes

Is your organisation ready to take this next step? Will you be able to deal with the challenges based on the four megatrends? Haarman has high hopes for generation Z. ‘I believe in digitalisation. It will help us to get in control regarding our (aging) asset base. And it will help us to become more sustainable. And for generation Z it is easy to operate the digital tools, to get them connected and to draw conclusions.’ Generation Z is going to make a difference. ‘It’s a good thing we can provide them interesting challenges on De-aging, Decarbonisation and Digitalisation.’

Mark Haarman is Managing Partner at Mainnovation and author of the books ‘VDM – New faith in maintenance’(2003) and ‘VDMXL– Competing with aging assets’ (2015). In his presentation on 25 October at 14h15 PM (track 1.1.3) he will explain the four D’s and specifically talk about digitalisation in the field of Maintenance & Asset Management.