Acrib 4.0In Padua on July 13th, chairman Siro Badon summed up the situation of the sector and the future of footwear in the Riviera del Brenta: the "era of sneakers" calls for a radical change even in the Venetian district, to prevent growing quantities of pairs from being diverted to other parts of Italy
Acrib 4.0: this is the subject of the annual meeting of the Riviera del Brenta Footwear Manufacturers Association, which was held in Padua in July, chaired by Siro Badon. It began with encouraging figures that regarded the year just ended: the Venetian district showed a positive trend, contrary to that of the Italian footwear sector.
In fact national production was down by 2% in quantity and 0.9% in terms of exports. A total of 97 companies closed and left 298 people without jobs. On the contrary, in the Riviera del Brenta in 2016, 12 new companies started trading to reach a total of 532 with 357 more employees; pairs of footwear have reached 20 million registering a growth of 2.1% compared with the previous year. Last but not least, the most interesting figure regards turnover which for the first time exceeded 2 billion Euros (+6.2% over 2015) that is to say 20.3% of the sector’s national turnover.
With this picture that shows the state of health of the Venetian sector, chairman Badon addressed the subject of the meeting, the 4.0 industry:
What we are facing -he said firmly- is an actual industrial revolution. The quicker we understand all this, the quicker we will know how to react and keep going. Outside here there is a world that has understood the change and is running fast towards the future. Instead, we are going slowly and sometimes standing still.
The chairman particularly criticized the excessive Italian bureaucracy, that is stifling the country and the tax office to justify itself, and in spite of the modest recent reductions is totally excessive and unjustified, as well as the banking system which charges its own mistakes to the community and is crippling businesses to which they do not give credit, right up to the plague of youth unemployment that grips our country.
Badon then went on to discuss the situation of the footwear manufacturing district, stating that we must begin with a presupposition
Our costs cannot be absorbed if not by products with high added value.
However, things are quickly changing: today’s consumer is used to a level of comfort offered by sports footwear, and looks for footwear that is of top quality and elegant.
Quality will no longer be the prerogative of leather footwear. What has caught on is a way of living and dressing (even for the well-off consumers) that is different from the past. Footwear with rubber soles no longer belong to the category of markets defined as low-cost. On the contrary, we even find sneakers in the higher bracket (right up to luxury).
The era of the sneakers will have direct consequences even in a district like that of Brenta, known and valued throughout the world for leather footwear of quality. The change must therefore become an opportunity as long as we get organized, remarked Badon, to remain competitive even in this segment of the market.
We must build a new chain and prevent the growing number of pairs that are being diverted to other parts of the country.
The chairman stressed the importance of flexibility, that has always characterized the footwear district of Brenta, and the support of a new young entrepreneurship which will go to alongside or in some cases substitute the current one, with new professional figures characterized by competence and skills different from the present.
Acrib 4.0 concluded Badon, can therefore only begin with the footwear Polytechnic, the great excellence of the Brenta footwear district and hotbed of future professionalism.