The Italian nautical industry is made up of very few companies that produce large boats and are able to cover the entire productive cycle and a large number of small and very small companies specialised in just a few areas of the cycle.
This is an organizational model defined as “technological crafts” during the conference on the technological trends in the pleasure boats sector held at CarraraFiere on Saturday 3 February during Seatec, the International fair for technology and supplies for the nautical industry.
Overall the industry has extremely high rates of growth and despite limited relations with universities and the fact that highly qualified technical staff are lacking it manages to remain competitive and up-to-date.
In the current climate of fierce international competition it will not be able to remain competitive though since its competitors are strong, not so much in terms of sales prices as in their organisational characteristics and knowledge of the latest technology which they are able to use. Unlike other industries, the nautical industry does not have to watch China or India but rather other European countries such as Holland and the UK, in addition to the traditional USA and New Zealand.
These are facts revealed by a study conducted by the Tuscan Regional Observatory on crafts industries promoted by DINTEC (consortium between Unioncamere and ENEA for the promotion of innovation) and financed by the Chamber of Commerce. The aim of the study was to survey the existing technology in the industry, the areas and centres on an international level where technology is developed and to identify the opportunities and threats arising from the changes underway.
Tuscany showed “collective intelligence spread throughout the territory with high level technology in the leading companies which is not readily shared with the small supplier companies, thus leading to increases in the final costs which are sometimes significant.”
“More involvement and collaboration between the large shipyards and their suppliers is required - said Andrea Bonaccorsi from Pisa University who presented the research project – significant progress has been made with a new Masters in design course in Viareggio but it is essential to have an understanding of the international industry in order to work on the system’s weaknesses. We are currently world leaders but in order to maintain our leadership we have to work together with all the various segments not only for production but also for research, especially in terms of materials and project management. Italian design still holds great appeal but customers are very discerning and invest large sums of money in the construction of refined technological yachts. Hence it is essential to work in the areas of experimentation and constant research in order to maintain the industry’s and the companies’ competitiveness.”