Should I worry about new technology replacing me as a technician?
There’s no doubt about it. Technology has been moving at lightening speed and shows no sign of slowing down. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things are all making incredible strides each and every day. Long-term efficiency and cost savings generated with these developments will be tempting to more and more facilities as time goes on.
Current Needs Remain
Although changes are coming, full implementation will be slow. In the meantime, maintenance technicians will still be needed to complete work orders, conduct preventive maintenance, and provide emergency repair services as usual.
This period of time is also an opportunity to look forward and get ready for the exciting changes of the future. Maintenance technicians have an excellent foundation to build on, and technology will provide amazing opportunities to learn and develop professionally.
What Automation Does Better
Part of being prepared for the future involves understanding what machines and technology can do better than humans and embracing those things. In the world of maintenance, technology is facilitating a change from reactive maintenance through preventive maintenance and to predictive maintenance.
Anyone who works in maintenance understands that reactive maintenance is expensive. When equipment breaks unexpectedly, technicians need to be pulled from scheduled tasks, parts may need to be shipped overnight, and production comes to a screeching halt. Reactive maintenance costs can pile up quickly.
Although preventive maintenance can reduce emergency breakdowns, it comes with its own challenges. Unnecessary preventive maintenance means unnecessary costs. Predictive maintenance, or the practice of using complex data to prevent problems shortly before they occur, is the most efficient solution. Artificial intelligence and evolving technologies provide more complete data to make those decisions.
Maintenance technicians are well-positioned to take advantage of technological developments. Those professionals who shift with the new developments will find many higher level, challenging opportunities. Already we’re seeing a shortage of data analysts who can look at the wealth of information available, draw reasonable conclusions, and help organizations make smart business decisions.
The best job security for maintenance professionals is a desire to continue to learn, grow, and adapt in your field. Strictly human skills such as critical thinking, complex problem-solving, and people management ability will never be replaced by machines.