Self maintenance to mechanic

1. Food Gathering       No products
2. Agriculture

3. Simple Technology    Pottery & metal products. Little maintenance.
   -----------------    Replace or return to makers for repair

4. City State           Products expand & widely traded. Maintenance
   ----------           as 3.  Emergence of few areas of product
                        services such as shoe repairs (may also be
5. Empire (Roman)       makers)


6. Medieval (Europe)    As 3,  evolving into 4
7. Industrial           First moderately complex machinery used in
   Revolution           production needing maintenance. Rest as 5

8. Consumer Society     Emergence of first complex consumer products,
   ----------------     eg car, requiring continual maintenance &
                        supply services

9. Mass Production      Followed by an increasing range of production
   Society              & consumer products,  with people
   ---------------      specialising in their maintenance, sometimes
                        part of manufacturer

                        Products increasingly made with maintenance
                        in mind, especially electronic
                         - e.g. fault tracking procedures
                         - replacing defective module (not repairing
                         - maintenance sold as part of product, e.g.
                           through insurance

                        In some products with maintenance being
                        labour intensive it becomes expensive, so
                        stimulating above, & providing manuals for


This Sector really results from two trends.

In the first place the growth of products and their complexity produces a growing maintenance requirement. In the early times the simplicity of the products enabled them to be repaired by the user - or no repair was feasible - it was simply replaced. At higher Levels the growing complexity makes it less practical to self-maintain, and more efficient for specialists to evolve to do this. Thus there is a growth of special maintenance enterprises and activities (as such this is part of the general trend of specialisation).

There is secondly an interaction between complex but mass-produced products, and the cost of human time in unravelling and putting right malfunctions. The cost of the product reduces under the effect of mass production - but the cost of maintenance (and therefore of using the product) increases. This increased proportion of "running" costs induces ways of reducing them - and so brings forms automation to the maintenance function:

Thus the Constant Trend may be expressed as the increase in products and their complexity increases maintenance requirements, while automation of the maintenance function reduces the requirements - which has historically given a net increase in maintenance requirements. This trend can be expected to continue (although not necessarily with the same balance).

There has also been a realisation that maintenance is inevitable, but unpredictable - giving insurance characters - which has led to maintenance packages being sold as part of the product (common in complex equipment), and as "guarantees" in consumer products).


The likelihood is the Insurance maintenance concept will grow, that the majority of complex equipment (including consumer) will be by maintenance packages of this form. As manufacturing costs reduce (they already form a minority of the costs for most products) to a small proportion of the whole - while R & D, design and marketing become the major costs - so the marginal costs of replacing a defective product becomes small.

Much of the Computer-Media consumer products are likely to marketed and maintained in this way. Even cars, which have variable use and treatments, are showing an increase in the "free" maintenance period on being purchased - and on being re-purchased second-hand.

Under these trends the actual amount of activity in repairing products may decline (even though the re-manufacture for a defective product is the substitute for maintenance - the distinctions will blur).

We do not think that activities such as self-maintenance of cars forms part of these trends. There have always been people who wish to have products that they cannot afford to run - but are prepared to put in a lot of work themselves to enable them to do so. There will also be prestige and hobby elements here. There will no doubt always be such people at the bottom end of the market - though we would expect their numbers to decline. There are not many jalopy car drivers in the US - but this is also a function of low motoring taxation. In the UK & Europe motoring taxes are very high, and constitutes the greater part of the cost. The high tax on the purchase of a car encourages most people to take someone's cast-off, and spend money on running it longer - because the new car price is heavily inflated and all the other aspects of motoring are heavily taxed. Even so the life of cars has been reducing. The US is now probably the ultimate where the life of cars is only a couple of years or so with a small second hand market - the whole product is replaced before it comes up for major maintenance.

We would expect any DIY trend for products to have diagnostic capabilities so that faults can easily be tracked down by the user - and if rectification is straightforward, to be undertaken by him.

Product services then become more an efficient supply of spare components, coupled with a means of financing - whether rental (with maintenance included), insurance, guarantee period, guarantee life, maintenance agreement, or mixtures. Maybe eventually most maintenance will be done under the "guaranteed life" There is likely a desire by manufacturers to emphasise reliability, and for it to feature in their marketing.

Leasing equipment is growing as part of Financing of Enterprises. Renting equipment or contractors for short term use (as opposed to buying equipment outright and using it intermittently) will also grow. Maintenance is increasingly likely to be part of the rental agreement.

Other Part of the World

The above scenario applies to the Post Industrials. There are complications for other parts of the world. The situation taken from the History will have additionally products made in the advanced countries, and advanced products made locally by MNCs. The situation given at the respective Level may apply to locally produced products appropriately to that Level. However it should not be assumed that the maintenance situation for advanced products made available to such a country will be the same as seen in Post Industrial Countries - where wealth levels and motivations are likely to be different.

Firms intending to market such advanced products will need to consider the Level of the country, and the wealth levels of the target market. The cost of human time will be a lot less than in the Post Industrials: so maintenance services of Levels 8 or 9 may still be viable.

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