Organised by the Basque Ministry of Economic Development and Competitiveness, with the support of B+I Strategy, the IX Encounter of Basque Manufacturing was held on 17th October under the theme of “Basque Industry and Advanced Manufacturing”.
With over 150 people in attendance, there was a cross-section of representatives from economic and technological players in Euskadi and leading Basque companies. The key-note speaker at this session on Advanced Manufacturing (AM) was Göran Roos, one of the top 20 minds of the 21st Century in the field, as well as an expert ally of B+I Strategy. His presentation was followed by: Sabin Azua (B+I Strategy CEO and Partner); Arantza Tapia (the Basque Minister of Economic Development and Competitiveness); Alex Arriola (Director General de SPRI-the Basque Innovation Agency). Finally, attendees heard from the heads of two of the most noted companies in the Basque industrial network in Advanced Manufacturing: Alexander Arteche (CEO of Electrotécnica Arteche) and Ignacio Mataix (Director General of ITP).
During the encounter, the various speakers analysed and weighed the pros and cons of the stimulus measures in AM being implemented in Euskadi. They looked at the specific actions of the Basque Government being put into action in designing strategy in AM in its first year of the present legislature. With the goal of strengthening the position of Euskadi as an industrial economy based on intensive manufacturing in knowledge and value added, the Basque Government aims to promote scientific, technological and industrial development in AM.
In his presentation, Sabin Azua underlined the implications of AM in the strategy and management of organisations, emphasising the importance of adding knowledge and technology in order to maximise efficiency while coming up with a distinct and unique product. He reiterated that reindustrialising and technology alone are not enough explaining that industrial companies need to add design capacities, non-technological innovation, knowledge and new services as levers for their future competitiveness by means of coherent medium and long term strategies.
Additionally, Mr Azua went on to underline the need for leaders who will be on the alert for and anticipate the technologies which will break the rules of the game in each industry. He also spoke to the need for highly-trained people who are committed to unique industrial projects in organisations adapted to the new requirements in industry into the future.
In his speech, Göran Roos highlighted the importance of AM in the economy in creating wealth for the region, creating and maintaining jobs with competitive salaries and highly skilled jobs, etc. In his opinion, the key to being competitive in a high cost industry, such as ours, requires a commitment to innovation as a source of value creation, “producing what others are not able to.”
Furthermore, Mr Roos stressed that innovation is not necessarily expensive, nor slow, as see in the innovation of business models, one of the lines of work most utilised by cutting-edge industrial companies, along with the “servitisation” or innovation in services. In closing, he emphasised the importance of key technologies for the future such as industrial biotechnology, new materials, photonics, and especially, Advanced Manufacturing technologies as an example of Additive Manufacturing.