open access publication

Article, 2024

Digitalization of maintenance activities in small and medium-sized enterprises: A conceptual framework

In: Computers in Industry, ISSN 0166-3615, Volume 154, 10.1016/j.compind.2023.104039

Contributors (1)

Grooss O.F. [1]

Affiliations

  1. [1] Aarhus University
  2. [NORA names: AU Aarhus University; University; Denmark; Europe, EU; Nordic; OECD]

Abstract

Asset management and digitalization are two timely research topics, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). SMEs continue to struggle with implementing digital technologies while retaining effective asset management processes within maintenance and after-sales service. Therefore, this paper develops a conceptual framework that integrates technological and organizational factors for digitalizing maintenance processes in SMEs. Furthermore, this paper steps away from the prevalent high-tech narrative, to explore how SMEs practically can implement digital technologies amidst common constraints. A focal point of this study is leveraging existing technologies and data for low-cost optimizations as a practical steppingstone for SMEs, bridging the gap between high-tech digital discussions and SMEs' real-world scenarios. The framework addresses three theoretical challenges in the existing literature, drawing on multiple case studies, and employing pragmatic research methods. It offers a conceptual tool for assessing the digital maturity of maintenance processes in SMEs and identifying areas for improvement. Based on the framework, low-performing domains across the case studies are pinpointed for future research. These domains encompass technical competencies within information systems, strategic efforts, and human capital within prototyping, and organizational culture within digital data collection and analysis.

Keywords

Digital maturity, Digitalization, Industry 4.0, Maintenance, SMEs