Research from INAPP takes an in-depth look at the gap between production digitalisation and business reality.
Production digitalisation, new technologies and ageing workforces are closely linked these days. It is not just a question of personal data, but also educational levels and the ability to grasp change; in short, to keep in step with the times. No theoretical models are valid for all situations. That’s why it’s certainly worth learning about different experiences in the country and across different production sectors.
It’s therefore helpful to read ‘Lavoratori maturi e nuova occupabilità. L’innovazione tecnologica 4.0 in due studi territoriali’ (‘mature workers and new employability: technological innovation 4.0 in two national studies’) a collection of two national studies, edited by Pietro Checcucci and published by Inapp last August.
The paper aims ‘to define the theoretical framework and the thematic articulation, useful for probing the behaviours and strategies adopted by Italian companies to face the ageing work force, through subsequent investigations, in light of the product and process innovation perspectives brought by the digital revolution, taking into account the specific issues of the production sector, geographical area and socio-economic context.’ So, theory linked to practice. It is for this reason that, after a rapid assessment of the studies that analyse technological change in relation to human resources, that the two cases are presented: the Lazio bioscience technology district and the eye wear district in Belluno. In each case, the paper explains the investigation methods, discusses the results and frames them in a general context, in relation to the ageing workforce.
Everything is then summarised in a general conclusion: ‘The results of the interviews conducted show that there are different approaches to technological innovation, depending on the size of the company. SMEs work in Industry 4.0 because it is a framework that is rich in opportunities, while large companies often have a multinational vision which is governed by different logics. For the latter, technological evolution is the key element of competitiveness, and they are usually able to completely renew their technology systems on their own. In SMEs, on the other hand, innovation follows fairly different paths in relation to the economic sector.’
The wish to preserve the company’s human resources prevails in all cases. The survey does not hide that while ‘the introduction of the new 4.0 technologies is almost certainly destined to determine the problem of occupational stability in the future […] no one thinks that the renewal of the industrial production process to the detriment of employment levels is even thinkable, much less desirable.’
The research edited by Checcucci raises another useful point in understanding the relations between new technologies and work in Italy.
Edited by Pietro Checcucci
Inapp report, August 2019