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Italian Manufacturing

Italian manufacturing is alive, and looks to have a future, as does the Italian way of doing business, its approach to production, the market and jobs. Everything is evolving and changing, of course. Some segments are growing, others are only standing still, but the culture of “making things” does not look to be in terminal decline. Industry is changing, sometimes radically and dramatically, but it continues to exist.

The evidence comes from a study by Prometeia and Intesa Sanpaolo presented on 20 May in Milan which takes a close look at trends in the various sectors of Italian industry. It is an important guide to understanding where a large part of the economy is going, but also how the spirit of Italian industry is being transformed and with it the business culture that lies behind decisions to move in one direction rather than another.

The figures for the future are encouraging suggesting that manufacturing should return to growth this year (+1.5%), and continue to grow strongly between 2015 and 2018.

But more significant are the report’s broader considerations. The crisis has caused unemployment and factory closures, but there is more to the picture. “The transformations seen in the last decade have reduced the size of Italian manufacturing, but these have led to a strengthening of industry in various respects. More jobs are concentrated in large companies. Managerial and technical positions have more influence, while a significant productive base of specialist workers and artisans has survived. There has been a noticeable improvement in the quality of Italian exports.” In all this a central role is played by some of the economy’s more important (and traditional) segments: car manufacturing and heavy engineering. We are beginning to see a sort of renaissance of Italian manufacturing, yet to be consolidated but clearly discernible.

Of course Prometeia and Intesa Sanpaolo do not conceal the difficulties. Italian manufacturing has not so much managed change as suffered it and has remained more or less closed to foreign investors. Meanwhile unemployment is no chimera, but a harsh reality. Less efficient firms will continue to go to the wall and the tough competitive environment will squeeze any return to profits. On the other hand the analysts point to a future of “greater commercial and productive internationalization”.

The message however is clear: Italian manufacturing – in its most modern sense – is not shutting up shop. It is evolving and changing, asking questions and responding with new solutions to the challenges of the wider economy and society. With it is changing its culture and values, ideas and behaviour, and the business activities that characterize it. The picture that emerges from the pages of the Prometeia report is one of industry adopting a new and (possibly) winning model

Industry Report 

Prometeia-Intesa Sanpaolo

May 2014

Italian manufacturing is alive, and looks to have a future, as does the Italian way of doing business, its approach to production, the market and jobs. Everything is evolving and changing, of course. Some segments are growing, others are only standing still, but the culture of “making things” does not look to be in terminal decline. Industry is changing, sometimes radically and dramatically, but it continues to exist.

The evidence comes from a study by Prometeia and Intesa Sanpaolo presented on 20 May in Milan which takes a close look at trends in the various sectors of Italian industry. It is an important guide to understanding where a large part of the economy is going, but also how the spirit of Italian industry is being transformed and with it the business culture that lies behind decisions to move in one direction rather than another.

The figures for the future are encouraging suggesting that manufacturing should return to growth this year (+1.5%), and continue to grow strongly between 2015 and 2018.

But more significant are the report’s broader considerations. The crisis has caused unemployment and factory closures, but there is more to the picture. “The transformations seen in the last decade have reduced the size of Italian manufacturing, but these have led to a strengthening of industry in various respects. More jobs are concentrated in large companies. Managerial and technical positions have more influence, while a significant productive base of specialist workers and artisans has survived. There has been a noticeable improvement in the quality of Italian exports.” In all this a central role is played by some of the economy’s more important (and traditional) segments: car manufacturing and heavy engineering. We are beginning to see a sort of renaissance of Italian manufacturing, yet to be consolidated but clearly discernible.

Of course Prometeia and Intesa Sanpaolo do not conceal the difficulties. Italian manufacturing has not so much managed change as suffered it and has remained more or less closed to foreign investors. Meanwhile unemployment is no chimera, but a harsh reality. Less efficient firms will continue to go to the wall and the tough competitive environment will squeeze any return to profits. On the other hand the analysts point to a future of “greater commercial and productive internationalization”.

The message however is clear: Italian manufacturing – in its most modern sense – is not shutting up shop. It is evolving and changing, asking questions and responding with new solutions to the challenges of the wider economy and society. With it is changing its culture and values, ideas and behaviour, and the business activities that characterize it. The picture that emerges from the pages of the Prometeia report is one of industry adopting a new and (possibly) winning model

Industry Report 

Prometeia-Intesa Sanpaolo

May 2014