Agility, speed and efficiency are the basis for the Crece Industria value chain plan for the natural stone and marble industry in Andalusia, approved by the Andalusian Government Council last Tuesday, to become a reality. The measure, which includes the demands that the Andalusian Marble Business Association (AEMA) has been making to the Andalusian Government for the last three years, has caused the employers’ association satisfaction, on the one hand, and a sense of urgency, on the other. The marble entrepreneurs are concerned that the time taken to analyse the sector will result in a prolonged diagnostic process and, with it, a failure in the actual management and implementation of the plan. “We have perfectly defined and identified what our weaknesses, strengths, threats and opportunities are and we can begin to materialise this plan, in a consensual manner with the working group created for this purpose, without further delay”, says Jesús Posadas, president of AEMA.
Within the four main groups to be worked on – environmental, productivity/industrialisation, human capital/training and marketing/internationalisation – there are two key aspects: on the one hand, management and, on the other, the economic endowment. “We know that obtaining these funds involves a process and is not as fast as we would like, but we are going to be very attentive and vindictive so that this is done as quickly as possible and in accordance with an agile administration and in line with the 21st century, as the time variable is one of the most costly for our companies”, indicates the manager who, although he will continue to emphasise the need to start working on all the actions demanded, also expresses the satisfaction of the employers’ association with the measure which, being the first to be developed in Andalusia, is part of the Plan Crece Industria 2021-2022 and aims to consolidate the marble sector as an international benchmark.
The instrument addresses the entire value chain of the activity. Within the first approach, the environmental level, the marble sector requires a definitive solution to all the problems regarding the Financial Guarantees for the Restoration of the Sierra de Macael in order to make both the extraction and the poorly qualified sludge or waste generated, which is already a by-product in terms of its value chain, sustainable. To this, it would be necessary to add the materialisation of the Master Plan for the Sierra de Macael so that all the competent administrations and the companies dedicated to the extraction of natural stone are represented. Another approach should be the reindustrialisation of the sector. “We are at an average of 14% less in productivity of companies at a global level in Andalusia, compared to Spain; our companies must be in line with digitalisation, industrial modernisation and energy efficiency to be competitive in the international markets in which we operate,” said Posadas.
“We must also promote the marketing and international implementation of companies, in order to be able to continue investing in new markets, so that companies continue to grow internationally through implementation in destination countries”. The fourth – and fundamental – point is human capital, training, “not only for the natural stone vocational training family and apprenticeship contracts, but also to be able to make our work and our possibilities known to those professionals who are going to join the world of work, such as architecture students in the final cycles of the three faculties of architecture that we have in Andalusia, so that tomorrow they can also continue to be our prescribers and we can continue to expand our range of markets”.