Restart, young on board

by Mario Guagliano – 

It seems this is the right time and we are not dealing just with something read on newspapers.

It is likely that in Europe and Italy we start growing stably again and, after years of crisis or stagnation, we have undertaken a course of improvement of our “Country system’s” accounts and, hopefully, of the loosening of the tensions generated during last years.

The Gross Domestic Product that, wrongly or rightly, is anyway the index to measure the wealth generated by a Country and the only term of comparison among the performances of the various nations, is rising again, even with rates exceeding forecasts. And this bodes well, if it is true that consumers’ confidence is rising, too, with the expected recovery of the weak domestic market.

Without going too much into complex questions, however, I think that a more attentive analysis of numbers allows some interesting considerations.

The first is that in this recovery the manufacturing industry, deemed moribund, plays an important role and has confirmed to be, besides others, a strategic sector for the Country’s economy: in other words, maintaining competences without delocalizing, just in virtue of a labour cost reduction, also because we have several sectors where we remain excellent and flexible, able to keep pace with titled foreign competitors.

Besides, if we go more into detail, we discover that also the improvement of our production is mostly connected with a rise of our export: in other words, the industries that have succeeded in surviving and growing are those that have bet on export. This means focusing on the product quality, from its design to the production and up to the after sale service. Moreover, in times when it is no longer possible to benefit from the ephemeral effect of competitive devaluations, it means also to be able to upgrade one’s own manufacturing modalities to increase their efficiency, the only way to be able to propose competitive prices in a fixed exchange system (that is Euro, for the European Union).

This results in the upgrading of production modalities, implementing new technologies able to increase the productivity and to reduce costs. I am referring, in particular, to the so-called Industry 4.0 technologies, up to encompassing the production digitalization to take advantage of all that characterizes the fourth industrial generation, from big-data to the possibility of monitoring and correcting the production in real time.

In other words, not thinking of I4.0 just to be entitled to state incentives but to improve the manufacturing process indeed.

It is not all roses: our growth rates are still inferior to the average ones of the European Union, with whose Countries we compare ourselves, evidence that structural hindrances remain and must still be overcome.

Beyond the flaws we all know, a factor that might favour the convergence towards a virtuous scenario of a bigger number of players is the availability of skilled and young technicians and engineers, able, with their knowledge and enthusiasm, to modernize the context where they operate.

Well, I believe that one of the cornerstones in the next future will be precisely the capability of making the smartest ones stay on our territory (or of attracting them), without letting them run away to other places and without letting them be bored by routine tasks or be suffocated by those standing above them in hierarchy.

Someone says young are like sponges, they absorb and then they start giving; being able to create stimulating occasions for that is an essential task for all of us.