“ [Ten years from now] the automated factory will be a reality. Facilities that don’t get on board will be the ones that go out of business. ”
- Joe Kuhn, Owner of Lean Driven Reliability
But is maintenance the exception to this remote work revolution? The answer is yes. Kind of.
Manufacturing had the fifth-highest number of remote workers in 2019 at 7%, behind only healthcare (15%), technology (10%), financial services (9%), and education (8%)1
Equipment failure will never be completely eliminated. And you can load up on all the technology you want, but someone still has to turn the wrench.
But while the need to fix things in person won’t disappear, the need to do other tasks on-site will. A lot of pre and post-repair work can be done from anywhere. The condition of an asset can be monitored remotely using sensors. Work orders can be submitted, seen, and assigned from anywhere with a CMMS. Virtual and augmented reality allow technicians to do root cause analysis from their homes. Simple tech, like instant messaging and video call platforms, can make team meetings and hand-offs remote.
The market for remote asset management is $16.5 billion. That’s expected to grow to $32.6 billion by 2025.2
Of course, remote work is still people and process-driven work. It takes time to make the transition, build the right culture, and learn the systems. But there’s a reason that embracing remote maintenance won’t set you apart (or at least, for too long) and that’s because it won’t take companies long to see the massive upside. After all, it’s hard to have an accident when you’re not on a machine, it’s difficult to be home late when you never left the house, and it’s almost impossible to waste budget on work that doesn't need to be done when you're not there to do it.