How can we create a sustainable future for the industry?

The coronavirus crisis has shaken the whole world and manufacturing industry is no exception. The last six months have been fraught with major changes and challenges. And this poses risks that may impact both competitiveness and the pace of development towards a more sustainable future in the long term. Something has to be done, but what?

– Many companies are working hard to adapt their operations to the new world situation. We can see a clear change in companies, where major investments and development projects are being postponed to the future. This of course affects our conditions and competitiveness in the long term, says Catarina Berglund, CEO of Automation Region.

The current pandemic has not only hampered development for the future but also highlighted current problems in industry. When the situation reaches its peak, as it has done lately, we soon see what gaps exist and, above all, which problems are most acute.

– Many challenges have come up now. One example is the availability of goods. Our value chain is very vulnerable and is too easily broken. We must question where we get our goods from and ensure that we have a sustainable value chain, says Robin Teigland, Professor of Management of Digitalisation at the Department of Entrepreneurship and Strategy at Chalmers University.

Right now, Swedish industry needs to focus on recovery while at the same time not slowing down too much. According to Teigland, there are many changes that need to be made if we are to have a chance to meet the requirements and achieve sustainability objectives both today, and especially, in the future:

– Sustainability is urgent and the biggest challenge in solving that problem is thinking in new ways. The technologies, structures and processes we have today will not be able to offer the necessary solutions. Companies need to start collaborating with each other and adopting a larger life cycle perspective, instead of staying in their own corner and focusing on their detail in the process.

By collaborating across company boundaries, we can really influence the conditions for change and the future of industry.

– It’s not just about technology-driven innovation, now it’s about mission-driven transformation, where we must work together to ensure that we can live on earth. It is a mindset that influences the choice of our partners, suppliers and customers. New forms of collaboration are important because the competences of the future, to an even greater extent than before, will not be something owned by individual organisations and people, says Catarina Berglund.

The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre
The importance of meeting, initiating collaborative activities and  finding solutions together will only keep increasing. The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre and Gothia Towers is one of Europe’s largest integrated meeting places with a unique city location in central Gothenburg. The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre and Gothia Towers organises and runs fairs, meetings, hotels, restaurants, spas and a show arena. Every year, just over two million visitors are welcomed to the Centre. The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre and Gothia Towers is owned by an independent private foundation, the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre Foundation. Its mission is to promote business and industry, and every year it generates just over SEK 3.2 billion in economic benefits through tourism.