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How Maintenance Will Revolutionize the World (Chapter 1)

*For the next 4 weeks, UpKeep will be releasing chapters from our upcoming publication, How Maintenance Will Revolutionize the World. This is the first installment and includes chapters 1-3.

We are SUPER excited to give you a sneak peek into a top-secret project we’ve been working on: our very own book.

As an industry, it’s not news that technological advancements like automation and IoT are impacting our jobs. The technology available to our industry today has limitless potential to benefit our businesses, careers and the wider world around us. Yet, many see these opportunities as threats. And if not threats, then at least as one big perplexing mystery.

Our goal in creating this guide is to provide our community with the most straightforward steps possible to begin their “Maintenance Hero Journey.” Here’s a sneak peek into all of the upcoming chapters in this guide.


Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: The Magnitude of Maintenance

Chapter 3: Understanding the different types of maintenance

  • Chapter 3.1 Understanding Breakdown Maintenance
  • Chapter 3.2 Understanding Preventive Maintenance
  • Chapter 3.3 Understanding Condition-Based Maintenance
  • Chapter 3.4 Understanding Predictive Maintenance

Chapter 4: How to Execute a Maintenance Plan

  • Chapter 4.1 Guide: How to Choose the Right Maintenance Strategy
  • Chapter 4.2 Guide: Understanding Failure Modes and Failure Modes Effect Analysis

Chapter 5: How Maintenance can Revolutionize and Change a Business With a CMMS

  • Chapter 5.1: CMMS Use Case
  • Chapter 5.2: How to Use Your CMMS to Track Metrics

Chapter 6: Your Role in the Future of Maintenance


We hope this primer expands your knowledge of maintenance basics, teaches you how to start implementing the right maintenance strategies at your facility, and inspires you to embrace the transformable power of technology for your business.

We’d love to receive your feedback on how to make the guide better! Please email us at [email protected] with any and all comments or questions!!

Without further ado, here’s our first installment of four releases: Chapters 1 – 3.

“The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
-Albert Einstein


Chapter 1: Introduction

If we look at the maintenance hero’s journey, the metaphorical compass always appears to point north – following the path of technology.

Just a few short years ago, maintenance was done by hand and recorded correspondingly.  Manufacturing plants would commonly wait until their equipment failed before making repairs. The maintenance hero was the worker who got there quickly and fire fought efficiently. They were the techs who stayed late, missing dinner with their families, scouring cabinets of paper files for insight into why equipment broke down in the first place. Their communication was done via a confusing hodge podge of platforms: email, hand-written notes, and phone calls, but they did it without complaint for the good of the business. Maintenance techs were heroes for how quickly they reacted after an asset had broken down, and for the deep wells of facility knowledge that lived in their brains alone. Historical knowledge of a facility, its tips and tricks to get all of its assets working perfectly in sync, all left when technicians transitioned or retired. 

Today, equipment sensors alert workers when repairs are needed. Maintenance heroes are commended for being quick, but today’s quick is at the first sign of irregularity. The same workers who were praised for triaging in the past can snap pictures of problems on-site, annotate and submit maintenance requests – seamlessly updating all stakeholders live via their phones with one message. And they’re celebrated for it. Reporting dashboards can pull up a full history of an asset’s lifecycle with just a few keystrokes, and the maintenance heroes are the ones that ensure the right inputs are exactly where they need to be so everyone can know what they know. Nothing is secret and they make sure of it. From this digitized knowledge, new maintenance workers receive full, automatic templated instructions on their very first day. In the current world, there are more heroes than ever before, and they all get to go home earlier to their families.

In the near future, we still see the metaphorical compass pointing our industry towards further innovation. Workers will be able to utilize artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics to prevent most mechanical breakdowns from happening in the first place. Driverless cars will own the road and robots will handle 90% of the manual work that is done in facilities like fulfillment centers to manage inventory and process orders.

If this inevitable evolution makes you fear for the maintenance hero’s demise, you’re not alone. Dozens of headlines crowd news sites each day on how AI technology will completely take over the workforce – leaving maintenance workers unemployed and resourceless. They paint a world where maintenance tech’s traditional functions and contributions become obscure. The truth is, this fear is not baseless. Indeed, your job in maintenance will inevitably be affected by the ongoing automation of tasks and digitization of information – perhaps so affected as to make your current role redundant. 

The good news is, if the arc of history is any indication, you’ll find yourself out of a job, and into an improved one. Most likely a better, higher paying and safer one at that. 

The trend towards automation has always been: destroy some existing jobs → modify most → create tons of new jobs. It is, and always has been, a source of fear for many, and an exciting launching pad for most. 

Take the Luddites, English workers who smashed textile machines in the 19th century out of  fear of being displaced from their roles in the textile industry. Or how when Johann Gutenberg introduced the printing press in the 15th century, the scribes of Paris went on strike in fear that the mass production of materials would mean the extinction of artistically-styled hand-scribed work. Or in 1964, when scholars sent the “Triple Revolution Report” to President Lyndon Johnson warning that industrial automation would leave millions unemployed. “The nation will be thrown into unprecedented economic and social disorder,” the group warned in their letter to the President.(1) The Luddites, Parisian scribes and the authors of the Triple Revolution Report were partly right – among the effects of automation was the dissolution of jobs. Yet, these jobs ranged from the simple and mundane to the highly dangerous, and new opportunities quickly arose. The feared complete upheavals did not occur. Time and time again, “history shows that the economy has consistently adjusted to advancing technology by creating new employment opportunities and that these new jobs often require more skills and pay higher wages.”(2)

There is no doubt that the job market in maintenance will look a lot different 10 years from now, just as it looks much different today than it did 10, 50, 100 years ago. New technologies are evolving the workforce and changing the maintenance hero’s job description, not replacing it. 

Change is enabled by humans. It harnesses our existing knowledge, relies on our ongoing input to course correct and our creativity to think of the NEXT change to make the world better, safer, or more convenient. For automation to benefit the maintenance industry, this change will rely on you, the maintenance worker, to be its shepherd. “Computers and digital devices are doing for mental power what steam did for muscle power.”(3) Why fear this shift, when you can be at the head of it, steering the maintenance industry into revolutionary new levels of safety and profit? 

In this book, we will explore how you can get ahead of the curve of technology, playing an active role in your business today and in the years to come.  In each section of this guide, you’ll find real, tangible step-by-step instructions on how to better your business using the tools and resources available to you today.  We’ll then discuss actions you can take to stay ahead of the technological transformations that will rock our industry through automation and the digitization of information. 

Some of our ideas will be easily implemented at your business, others may take some time. But as we all know, a hero’s journey always begins with a single step. 




1. Ford, Martin. “Impact on Unemployment and Inequality.” Confronting Dystopia the New Technological Revolution and the Future of Work, by Eva A. Paus, ILR Press, an Imprint of Cornell University Press, 2018, pp. 42.
2. Ford, Martin. “Impact on Unemployment and Inequality.” Confronting Dystopia the New Technological Revolution and the Future of Work, by Eva A. Paus, ILR Press, an Imprint of Cornell University Press, 2018, pp. 43.
3. Paus, Eva. “The Future isn’t What it Used To Be.” Confronting Dystopia the New Technological Revolution and the Future of Work, by Eva A. Paus, ILR Press, an Imprint of Cornell University Press, 2018, pp. 14.