Certification as the key element of Industry 4.0 

Interview to Roberto Grandinetti professor of Economics and Business Management at the University of Padua 

"A quality certification label attached to a product is certainly a reassuring element with a positive feed back for its purchasing. This confirms that buying an object and its functions is connected with an idea of safety and well-being, which we inevitably feel the need of. In brief, this is an exceptional marketing tool if the institution issuing the "mark" is authoritative, and if the awarded company is able to enhance it in its communication. In that case, the “safety license” enclosed in the certification allows companies to gain a competitive edge and win new markets. And this simple equation applies to all sectors, from food to automotive to wood and furniture", explains Roberto Grandinetti full professor of Economics and Business Management at the University of Padua. 

Professor Grandinetti, so we are talking about a marketing operation which must be based on realism...

"Undoubtedly. Today, the amount of information and communications that each of us receives is really huge and is normally associated to a widespread perception of modest reliability. Some companies wish to distinguish themselves communicating their own ability to produce goods in a good way, by acquiring a strong anchorage through product certification. But it would be an unrealistic strategy if behind the "mark" there were no technologies, human capital and skills. Therefore, certification bodies must possess these resources. Some institutions of this type have also joined the certification service with the development of applied research projects and the provision of services with high knowledge content to their reference sector. The presence of these roles and their interaction makes them centres of excellence in the field of quality and support to innovation. A fitting example is certainly CATAS in the wood and furniture sector. "

Which is the role of certification in order to meet the globalization challenge?

"The quality assessment, including standard compliance and product certification, is becoming increasingly important especially if we think in a global economy context. In an increasingly wide and complex market as the current one is, the certification puts the company in a position to communicate in the universal language of quality. Of course, as I said before, it is a topic that should be added to a more comprehensive marketing communication where the certified quality goes together with the other values ​​and its corporate identity. But in the way of working of institutions like CATAS there is also an added value with respect to the only issuing certification. Companies which use these institutions can indeed access to knowledge and expertise that put them in a position to solve the problems that will inevitably encounter in the development of an innovation process, even more complicated than more radical the innovation is. It is this combination of support towards innovation and quality certification that makes CATAS a powerful tool used by companies to meet the challenges of global competition. We could say that this vocation is part of CATAS DNA: and so it started its activity about fifty years ago with the aim to ensure that the Italian chairs manufacturers fulfilled the quality requirements imposed by the German standardization, which in those days was the most advanced and demanding on the world stage. "

An important topic especially thinking from the perspective of industry 4.0 ...

"In the framework of industry 4.0, companies and research institutions must constantly talk together to increase the innovation capacity of all sectors from the high-tech ones to those considered traditional, anyway not "exempted" from innovation. This dialogue involves not only university departments but also those that are usually identified by the acronym KIBS (knowledge-intensive business services). They are service providers – of public, association (such as CATAS) or private nature - that on the one hand are able to interact with companies, even with small ones, and on the other hand they can relate with the universities and other research centres in order to improve its internal capacity to produce useful knowledge for the development of their service offer. "

A vocation for CATAS that comes from afar, as we understand ...

" CATAS has gained such experience that no other company can boast on the market. Since the beginning of its activity it has gradually developed its activities, adapting them to the market changes. Basically it has diversified the business by following and often anticipating the changes which have involved the companies themselves. It has evolved in parallel with the demand, it has experienced new tests on materials and products, new ways of technical support, new training activities, and so on. In few words, CATAS anticipated the future and it will continue to do so thanks to the continuous dialogue with the business community. Thanks to its dynamic capabilities it was relevant in phase 3.0, and it will continue to be so in the new phase that is replacing the old one."