It's Easy to Adopt a Technology, but Hard to Renew Skills
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It's Easy to Adopt a Technology, but Hard to Renew Skills

70% OF COMPANIES IN A STUDY BY VINCENZO BAGLIERI INVESTED IN DIGITALIZING THEIR PROCESSES, OFTEN WITHOUT INVESTING IN PEOPLE

Digitalization had a dramatic impact on the pulp and paper industry, which mostly applies traditional technological principles. If the raw material production has not radically changed, the last mile of the supply chain, i.e. graphics and communication, has struggled to come to terms with innovation.
 
The Federazione Carta e Grafica, the Italian federation that brings together the trade associations of pulp and paper, printing machines and graphics, a sector worth €24b, asked the SDA Bocconi School of Management to provide information on the conditions for the adoption of digital technologies and demonstrate the best way to implement the Italian Industry 4.0 plan for industrial technological and digital transformation. The Operations and Technology Knowledge Group of SDA Bocconi has therefore built a model to measure the “score 4.0” of a sample of 108 companies in the supply chain. According to the research, which was conducted with the help of JEME students, in the last three years 70% of these companies have invested in digitalization. Yet there is a weakness, Vincenzo Baglieri, director of the project, says. “Many companies have focused on the incentives of the National Industry 4.0 Plan and underestimated the need to redesign their processes and invest in new skills. By doing so, they digitized inefficient processes and did not build the knowhow necessary to innovate on the market. This is like owning a F1 car and driving it like an economy car.”
 
The federation has therefore embarked on a plan to support these companies and is now creating a package of services, in association with SDA Bocconi, to improve processes and skills. The collaboration between companies, customers and suppliers is the process that would benefit most from the use of new technologies. “Industry 4.0 does not mean changing the production, but having control of every phase and extracting data that will eventually improve the process. Data scientists who know how to read, aggregate and interpret data are necessary to achieve this goal. Adopting a technology is easy. Renewing skills is more difficult. This is a historic change that makes the collaboration between industry and university essential.”

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by Claudio Todesco

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