The high pace of development in production and maintenance in Swedish industry

Underhåll, the Swedish Maintenance Fair, had a digital coffee break with the Chairman of the Board of the national organisation, the Swedish Maintenance Society (Svenskt underhåll). We took the opportunity to ask how she sees the future and which trends are currently most noticeable in the maintenance industry.

Mia Ilkko, Svenskt Underhåll

What is happening at Swedish Maintenance and how have you been affected by the pandemic over the past year?
We have been busy keeping the network going without being able to meet physically. For example, we have got off to a good start with the work of our various committees. As an association, we want to engage our members! The committees are grouped into five areas: Skills development; Safety, health and the environment; Standardisation; Future Maintenance; and Maintenance Assessment.

We have also added more information to our website,, making it easier to search for details about member companies and training in maintenance.

What do you see as trends in the industry in terms of operation and maintenance issues?
In addition to my assignment with the Swedish Maintenance Society, I work as a senior consultant in maintenance development. We have had an intense period – there’s lots going on in Swedish industry.

Many white-collar workers sit at home and work. I think it is noticeable that they get more time to prepare and think through strategies and projects where you need expert help, in the maintenance area, for example. Even though budgets were tightened last year, efforts are still being made to develop the sector. The technical development of production and maintenance requires a lot of planning and work with processes, i.e., how do we combine new things with the technology/personnel/working methods we have today. The current situation makes it a good time to review this.

There is great interest in “connecting things together”, but many are busy putting things in order and finding the right solution, and the more insecure you are, the longer this takes. I am hoping there will be stronger decisions and strategies so we can make clearer progress!

What issues do you think will be most important to discuss at Underhåll, the Maintenance Fair, in a year’s time, on 15-18 March, 2022?
I hope to see increased interest in more exacting climate goals and technical ways to achieve them. We will need to focus even more on skills development and attracting more people to fill the shortage. There is a need to plan and discuss what skills will be needed in the long term, such as what happens when generation alpha finishes school.

Now we are meeting with brighter times, hopefully in a double sense. What are your expectations for the coming year?
Of course, we want to open up for networking in physical spaces again, to allow people working in industry to find new contacts for development. We also hope that we can expand our opportunities to absorb information and networks digitally, in the maintenance industry within Sweden, but also in Europe with EFNMS (European Federation of National Maintenance Societies).

And in almost exactly a year, it will be time for Underhåll 2022. I’m really looking forward to it! After the past year, it feels more important than ever that the fair can be organised as intended so that the entire industry has a chance to meet and gather strength. At the Swedish Maintenance Society we will come charged up, and see many great development opportunities, for example through hybrid events and digital discussions as a complement to meeting face-to-face on the exhibition floor in Gothenburg.

More information at