The Slovenia Times

Industry facing new challenges


Statistical data indicates the industrial sector employs over 200,000 people in Slovenia, almost a quarter of the workforce, and accounts for half of Slovenian exports.

Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said it was because of industry and associated services that Slovenia's economy expanded at a rate of 4.5% last year, but he also stressed that it had to adapt by digitising and deploying robots more widely.

"Companies that are ready for the introduction of new technologies such as artificial intelligence or blockchain can reap great competitive advantages," he said.

Analyses of Slovenia's economy stress the need to transition to production with higher value added as one of the main challenges given that the population is ageing overall and the working-age population shrinking, creating labour shortages.

But Marta Klevišar of Adria Dom, a maker of mobile homes, pointed out that people needed to come before technology. "The industry of the future is the people," she said.

Hubert Kosler of robot maker Yaskawa agreed, but he said this meant the educational system needed to adapt to the demands of industry. "You cannot buy a smart factory, you develop it with the right team," he said.

Another area companies will have to work on is the transition to a low-carbon economy, the conference heard as calls were made for a more sustainable model of economic development.

"We have to transition to a low-carbon economy immediately so we are more prudent in using inputs and energy," Počivalšek said.

The conference on the future of industry was organised by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), Economy Ministry and the investment promotion agency Spirit.

Economy Ministry State Secretary Aleš Cantarutti said the aim of the event was to listen to leading industrial firms as the ministry seeks to formulate a position on an industrial policy for the EU.

"Slovenia must be loud. We may not remain on the sidelines merely as a supplier economy for great European multinationals," he said.


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