Ad Operation Specialist- Retail Media, Criteo
Director, Credit Suisse
Barcelona's strength will come from its inhabitants’ capacity to adapt swiftly, break with convention, and reinvent a city in which we all want to live.
Industry is defined as an “economic and technical activity that consists of transforming raw materials into products suitable to meet the needs of human beings.”.” This definition helps us to appreciate the importance of the industrial sector in the development of a region. In Catalonia, for example, industry represents 20% of GDP.
Catalan industry revolves around the food sector (Nestlé, Danone, and Cargill), the chemical, perfume, and pharmaceutical sectors, and the automotive sector (Seat, Nissan).
Industry has changed considerably in recent years as a result of the development of smart factories, the process of digitalization, and the use of big data, etc. The aim of the industry of the future—Industry 4.0—is to be more interconnected, flexible and autonomous.
The Covid crisis has caused us all to slow down, but it has also given us the opportunity to reflect on more than day-to-day matters and to think more about the future and what we need to do to survive another crisis.
Lockdown has also accelerated the adoption of new consumption habits which are changing our society, the world of work, mobility, and people's priorities. All this affects the industrial sector.
Barcelona and Industry after the crisis
One of the major challenges for industry in Barcelona in the coming years will be to transform and invigorate its automotive industry. Automotive products have become more complex, they use new technologies, and they require more and more maintenance, which makes them less attractive to buy.
In addition, habits are changing: consumers are less interested in owning their means of transport.
Machines, information systems, and goods communicate with each other constantly by means of integrated sensors. This makes the supply chain more transparent and more efficient, and fully integrated within production operations.
During the pandemic, consumers have shifted en masse to online channels, while companies and industries have responded to the change in demand.
We have also seen the emergence of labeling systems that evaluate the manufacturing quality of products in the food industry, cosmetics industry, fashion industry, etc.
Product information is much more accessible and this is beginning to change purchasing habits. Consumers are asking for more local, sustainable, environmentally-friendly and consumer-friendly products.
The key for Barcelona may be to promote local industry with a "Made in Barcelona" label.
Challenge: the world of work
The pandemic has revolutionized the world of work. We have witnessed an acceleration in digital transformation and new technologies, pushing workers, when their job allows it, to telework.
Teleworking has made it possible to react to the spread of Covid but it can also improve the quality of life at work, offering employees more flexibility and placing more trust in them.
We can imagine a post-Covid world in which employees will not need to travel to work every day and can choose where to live, which will depend on the kind of life they are looking for and will not need to be located near their company.
More flexibility and digitalization at work helps to attract and retain talent, enables the industrial sector to develop, and is a huge advantage for Barcelona and the region.
Interconnected, flexible, and autonomous industry
The crisis has affected most of our habits. The industry of the future—Industry 4.0—must be more interconnected, flexible, autonomous, closer to the end consumer, environmentally-friendly, and more sustainable. Covid has affected both the industrial sector and the entire economy and it has transformed our societies, habits and priorities. Barcelona's strength will come from its ability to adapt swiftly, break with convention, and reinvent a city in which we all want to live.