ACIMIT President Alessandro Zucchi
The Italian textile machinery industry was one of the sectors most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Many companies had to slow down their production last spring. ACIMIT estimates a drop in 2020 production and exports of around 25%.
ACIMIT President Alessandro Zucchi, whom we interviewed for the Italy Special issue of our Tekstil Teknoloji magazine said that, “The downturn would have been deeper if our companies had not been able to put in place everything necessary to maintain contact with their customers.”
First of all, the sectors in Italy are going through a very difficult process due to the pandemic, as in the whole world. How was the year 2020 in terms of Textile Machinery? How did Italian companies create a roadmap to get through the process with less damage?
The Italian textile machinery industry has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Last spring many of our companies had to slow down their production. ACIMIT estimates a drop in 2020 production and exports of around 25%. The downturn would have been deeper if our companies had not been able to put in place everything necessary to maintain contact with their customers. In this situation, the digitisation of many business processes has made it possible to maintain a constant relationship with all customers.
Medical products and especially the production of surgical masks played an important role in the pandemic period. What action did Italian machine manufacturers take to keep up with this new situation?
Many Italian manufacturers have been involved in the production process of surgical masks and other personal protective equipment. Some companies have modified their production line to build ad hoc machinery, others have increased the production of specialised machines for this type of product. In its website ACIMIT has made available a database of member companies operating in this sector.
Turkey, especially in pandemic process has become an important supply point for Europe again. How do you assess the importance of Turkey’s textile sector? Can you talk bout the importance of Turkey for the Italian machine manufacturers?
We believe that the Turkish textile industry has shown great potential during this emergency period. Turkey is one of the most important markets for Italian textile machinery manufacturers. In the period January-September 2020 Italian exports to Turkey reached 154 million euros (+44% on the same 2019 period), making the Country the leading commercial partner of Italian textile machinery companies.
What steps should be taken for the textile industry to return to its old days?
Covid-19 pandemic changed the way we do business forever. I believe we will never go back. The textile industry will have to adapt, like other sectors, to the New Normal. In the future, in order to remain competitive, textile companies will have to focus on technologies 4.0 that will shorten the distance between them and their suppliers and customers.
The effects of the pandemic seem to continue in the first months of 2021. As ACIMIT, what are your expectations from 2021?
Although the vaccination campaign has started in many Countries, I believe that business conditions will remain difficult throughout 2021. In our sector, the cancellation of many exhibitions that have already been postponed testifies to the difficulty of restoring a favourable investment climate. I think we will have to wait until 2022 for a real recovery.
Interview: Dilek HAYIRLI