The mainstream media is often very focused on smart technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), replacing jobs. For example, a report published by PwC found that 30% of jobs in Britain are in danger of being replaced by AI solutions. But are we right to fear that AI could make our jobs defunct?
The more we hear about AI in the workplace the more widespread the fear is becoming. A report published by Udemy revealed, for certain industries, the topic causes a significant amount of stress in the workplace. Compared to a year ago, over 50% of US workers said they felt more stressed about losing their job due to AI implementation in their respective industries.
But is this fear justified or does it just stem from a lack of knowledge, or a lack of communication from employers?
The very nature of change means it often brings with it uneasiness in the workplace. Predictive maintenance is no different and in fact, because it introduces such new ways of working, the nervousness around its implementation is very likely to be heightened. It’s easy to understand why; when you first read the benefits of predictive maintenance, they all shout “reduced engineer time”. Just take these three benefits as an example:
- Reduced downtime – predictive maintenance monitors an asset and assigns an engineer to site when an irregularity is identified. This removes the need for preventative maintenance and reduces downtime because problems can be resolved before they have a detrimental effect on productivity.
- Efficient asset monitoring – without predictive technologies, if you are responsible for ensuring the uptime of critical assets such as a boiler or UPS back-up, the only way to do this is for an operative to attend the site regularly to monitor performance. IoT sensors and AI remove the need to carry out on-site asset checks, instead only requiring an engineer to attend when a sensor detects abnormal activity.
- Increased first-time fix rates – AI accumulated through big data and IoT sensors will ensure an engineer with the appropriate skills is assigned to each job and with them they will have the right parts to fix the issue. This subsequently increases first time fix rates.
Implementing change in this manner, particularly in the form of a predictive maintenance solution, can appear to be a daunting task, however the focus should be placed on the long-term cost savings and end goals, i.e., efficient operations and therefore an efficient workforce. What then can a service organisation do to take advantage of these technologies, and what could day-to-day operations look like?
There is no question that predictive maintenance will reduce the time engineers need to spend on site but this is the short-term view. In the long-term, predictive maintenance brings the following:
Improved job satisfaction
The mundane, repetitive elements of an engineer’s role are reduced, as are the stress levels of resolving issues during downtime.
More productive processes
More precise fault identification and improved first time fix rates will increase productivity and efficiency.
Better customer service
By predicting failures before they happen, reducing the cost of unnecessary servicing and improving first time fix rates, the service excellence delivered far extends anything previously achievable.
Greater competitive advantage
The innovation brought by predictive solutions, together with improved customer service, will enhance competitive positioning.
All of the above provides the perfect backdrop for growth and with growth comes more work and a greater need for an efficient, contented workforce who will continue to deliver an exceptional service.
In conclusion, yes, change can be intimidating, but when correctly positioned into the business plan, predictive technologies will improve work prospects rather than reduce them.
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