Italy: Tailor-made solutions
What are the fastest growing foreign markets and which sectors are responsible for that growth?
In 2016, the major destination markets of Italian products turned out to be Germany, the United States, China, France, Poland, Spain, Mexico and Turkey.
The best performances were those obtained by Italian manufacturers in France, Spain and Mexico, where sales recorded double-digit increases.
Nevertheless, there are also other interesting emerging countries, such as Iran and countries of the ASEAN area, involved in an industrialisation and development process, which has highlighted strong acceleration in the last few years.
With reference to the user sectors worldwide, I would say that automotive, aerospace and energy are performing very well.
How important is the German market for Italian Industry?
Germany is a very important partner. In 2016, it turned out to be the first destination market for Italian products of the sector. Without taking into account the small fluctuations due to the economic situation, Germany is always in the top-three of destination areas with regard to Italian machine tools.
It is a great satisfaction for us, the manufacturers, considering that the German market is among the most demanding ones and, at the same time, it can rely on top-level domestic products.
After all, we are able to be competitive in the German market because we are capable of developing tailor-made solutions that can perfectly meet the customer's requirements.
On the contrary, German manufacturers are oriented to mass-production and large quantities. Therefore, we can win the competitive challenge in many segments thanks to our mix of innovation, customisation and flexibility. In addition, with the boost given by our government to an increasingly widespread use of 4.0 technologies, there is a potential that has not been expressed till now, which will already start to appear in the next months. In this connection, EMO Hanover is an excellent opportunity to verify products made in Italy, also in light of these developments.
Do you fear negative effects for the Italian machine tool industry caused by Brexit or the obscure situation in the USA?
Geopolitical instability really complicates matters for those who operate in a sector like ours by causing a slowdown in sales as soon as the market perceives uncertainty, but I must say that, at the moment, neither Brexit nor Trump's policy have created particular problems. We hope this will not happen now, as there is demand and it is lively.
What does the Italian government have to do to ensure the future success of the Italian machine tool industry?
Italian government authorities have been operating in a strong and solid way for several years to support the recovery of economy and industry in Italy. With the National Plan Industry 4.0, which includes provisions such as Super-Depreciation, Hyper-Depreciation and the New Sabatini Law, the manufacturing industry got back to the centre of the political economic agenda of the country. We can already see the results. Owing to this, as we said before, the authorities are considering extending the applicability of the above provisions for the whole of 2018. I think that these are the right steps to take to support the competitiveness not only of the Italian machine tool industry, but also of the whole industry of the country.
This article was first published on ETMM-online.