The digitalisation of a traditional industry is usually a challenge, implying a transformation in the processes using digital technologies resulting in higher degrees of efficiency and, ideally, an increase in revenue. This creates new opportunities for companies, their employees, and it has the potential to bring new people with innovative skills to traditional sectors, either by incorporation in existing companies or by entrepreneurship and the creation of new businesses.
Much more than the digitisation of information, the conversion of analogue data, documents and processes to digital information, the digitalisation implies a change in the business “modus operandi”, a transformation on how companies use, process and analyse that information. As an example, there would not be a meaningful change in the process, if information was stored in a digital way, and there was no tool to rapid search that information in order to filter, select and present the relevant processed information to a particular individual.
During the last decade, traditional sectors, such as footwear and leather goods industries, are in the process of digital transformation. The digitisation of the information is now a common element in the day-to-day business, with tools such as CAD for modelling and production, digital technical sheets, with materials inventory and methods for production of models, the digital communications and a fair degree of automation. The challenge remains often on what to do with all the data, how to use this information to predict future market behaviour, to streamline processes and to increase the capacity to respond to clients in a quicker and reliable way, how to use the data to plan production with higher degree of certainty, how to create tools to diminish errors and increase revenue, improving work conditions and the wellbeing of workers, in sum, how the digitalisation can positively impact the business.
Opportunities arise for the attraction of new talents to traditional sectors, provoking an industrial digital transformation and presenting a path for younger generations with a STEAM based education to work in the industrial ecosystem. Skills such as collaborative creation, digital design and modelling, data analysis, software and automation development tools, are essential to this revolution.
The digital transformation of traditional sectors can only happen with fresh, motivated and skilled younger generations, who, in return, can find in these sectors a route to apply and develop their tools and, at the same time, a path to fuel their creativity, natural curiosity and problem-solving abilities.