The economic recovery is characterized by Italy: both the data of the European Commission (Italian GDP is estimated to grow by 5% in 2021) and those coming from the real economy of the Country, the manufacturing sector, felt in the context of the Observatory MECSPE.

The MECSPE Observatory was conducted by GRS Research and Strategy on a sample of 619 Italian manufacturing companies using the CAWI (Computer Assisted Web Interviewing) method.

The numbers of the next edition of MECSPE Updated to 15 July 2021: 92,000 sqm of exhibition area, 1,800 companies present, 2,000 sqm of the Heart Show Factory Without Limits, 46 special initiatives and conferences. Professional visitors expected in safety: 50,000.

According to data collected 7 out of 10 companies (69%) expect an increase in turnover at the end of 2021 compared to last year. An optimism supported both by satisfaction of the order book, (it considers it appropriate 72%), and by the forecasts for the market: 74% believes in a boom of the sector in the next 3 years.

In a progressively improving economic environment, the level of general confidence of companies is also growing (a rise of 54% compared to 39% in February).

The most important trends of the moment are digitalization, sustainability and training, three elements that together generate the cultural change expected that manufacturing needs and that will also be the protagonists of the first Bologna edition of MECSPE: in BolognaFiere, from 23 to 25 November 2021

MECSPE trends: digital

One of the most important lessons that the pandemic has left us is that without digital growth there is no future.

Entrepreneurs know this, especially the 27% that because of the Covid-19 wanted to push on the accelerator of digitalization.

But what exactly does digitalization mean in the manufacturing industry? For 2021 it will mean focusing on innovative technologies and processes such as cybersecurity, connectivity/5G, Internet of Things and collaborative robotics.

But it also means taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the legislative novelties such as the PNRR, the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, approved a few weeks ago.

Although the plan has had a great media echo, only a little more than one in ten (15%) entrepreneurs have a high level of knowledge about content. An important aspect since there are measures within it that can really make a difference for the future of the manufacture.

Among these, the appropriation of 350 million for 2021-2026 for Competence Centers and Digital Innovation Hubs, created to accompany companies towards the fourth industrial revolution. So far, only 8% of companies have worked with at least one of these companies, and there are still many who do not know them (46%), despite the capacity recognized by more than one third of respondents to support companies in the construction and experimentation of Industry 4.0 projects with regard to Comps

But we’re still getting started. It is therefore necessary to push for cultural change, through the information work of the players in the chain, which is increasingly essential to attract young people to the world of the intelligent factory.

It is no coincidence that MECSPE will be the first to start the Piazza Competence Center, designed to be the true trait d’union between the visitors of the event and the eight Competence Centers that will show orientation activities, training and innovative projects in industry 4. The theme of digitalization and intelligent factory will be dedicated to one of the main moments of the fair: Gamification: the limitless factory, created to showcase the best technological ideas and to act as a driver for the most innovative solutions. A new concept of a factory, more evolved and man-made, able to attract the interest of young talents.

The transformations of the last year and a half lead to a reflection on the Industrial Smart Working (ISW), a working method that allows the management and execution of production processes in the factory remotely. The first fact that stands out is that only a small part of entrepreneurs (15%) do not consider the ISW suitable for the industrial environment, indicating physical presence as the only way of working. A first process of cultural change has probably begun on this front, driven by the effects of recent months.

Most (over a third), in fact, considers the ISW useful but only as support and integration to the physical presence in the factory. For many, however, it is interesting, but a major reorganization of industrial resources and processes/instruments is needed first.

Among the benefits received, greater flexibility for employees (41%) and cost reduction (29%).

MECSPE trends: sustainability

For a company, being green is no longer an option but a real social obligation. To date, there are already many (40%) companies that are considered sustainable, thanks to many actions already undertaken or under way such as the use of low energy-efficient devices, the purchase of new generation efficient machinery and/or plants and the installation of production plants.

But there are real environmental, social and governance criteria that define the new virtuous behaviour of companies. They are summarized in the acronym ESG (Environment, Social, Governance), they represent the parameters through which to evaluate the impact of an entrepreneurial activity and will be increasingly decisive in order to attract investments and improve the reputation of the company.

Yet, only one in three (32%) knows them, with the larger ones paying more attention to them. How? For example, by managing the company, drawing on good practices and ethical principles (42%) and introducing measures to improve the well-being and quality of the work of employees (24%).

Sustainability and ESG will also be discussed during MECSPE, which will devote two special initiatives to these aspects: ECOfriendly › I do more ›, a virtual and real path among exhibitors who adopt in their

MECSPE trends: training

Continuous technological innovations pose a serious problem: do our companies have all the skills they need to achieve transformation 4.0? Almost half of the respondents (46%) replied in the affirmative, stating that they had already trained staff and that they had to provide refresher courses.

One in ten (10%) preferred to turn to the market by employing already trained workers. There are then realities (17%) that plan to recruit staff with adequate skills, but almost a third of the sample (27%) admits that they are not yet ready. With these assumptions, training becomes the key factor in being able to remain competitive on the market and the role of universities and Higher Technical Institutes (ITS) becomes crucial.

MECSPE’s mission is also this: to connect the companies and young people to realize that…Renaissance that the Italian manufacturing is looking for. For years the fair has started a collaboration with Salesian Training Centres CNOS-FAP and organizes training and updating seminars for each edition, as well as practical demonstrations, designed to bring young people closer to the world of Industry 4.0.

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