Master Export – 1st Conference on the Internationalization of Metalworking and Habitat
The 1st Conference “Internationalization of Metalworking and Habitat: Trends, Challenges and Opportunities” took place in the late afternoon of November 18th, organized by AECA – Associação Empresarial de Cambra e Arouca, in collaboration with ISAG / EBS (Instituto Superior de Administração e Gestão / European Business School) and Astrolábio, Orientação SA, within the scope of the Master Export project, in webinar format through the Zoom platform.
The opening was performed by Cristina Mocetão, who did the honors, welcoming the participants, and presenting an institutional video from ISAG.
Panel 1 – Internationalization: Strategy or Necessity?, Counted on the intervention of the President of AECA, Carlos Brandão, who highlighted the relevance of Master Export for the region’s economy, taking the opportunity to thank ISAG for the magnificent reception, which from the first hour made itself available to host the first Master Export conference; as well as to the Presidents of the Municipalities of Arouca and Vale de Cambra, Margarida Belém and José Pinheiro, for their involvement in the Master Export project.
The objective of Master Export is for companies to orient their business activities to foreign markets. It is a joint project of the regional associations, AECA and AEA, which “embrace” the smaller companies and aim to bring them together, with a view to greater territorial coverage and thus achieve greater critical mass. It presents itself as a project aimed at companies that are starting to internationalize, as a support instrument focused on five markets (Spain, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Poland), of which studies of access to the respective markets are already available.
Poland is the test market for the metalworking sector, given that we have companies that through Master Export have already managed to enter some targeted markets, and that are intended to be a tool whose scope, although regional, can reach the national level.
Still in Panel 1- Luís Ferreira (ISAG) presented the Five I´s of the International Markets.
He started by emphasizing, “the 5” is “of successful internationalization”. It is necessary to cooperate and collaborate to affirm, that is what the various successful companies are doing. In terms of international competitiveness, there are more and more variables, complexity, different dynamics and unpredictability.
Today we have an increasingly immaterial globalization, which has to be based on information, digitalization, and Internationalization is no longer an option. Digitization is advancing very fast (see the Covid19 pandemic situation).
Internationalization is a strategic process. When you are not successful the first time, you have to be resilient and try again more often. When you start there is an intention, a strategy that has to be competitive, intelligent, with quality information. There has to be interconnection. Innovation is the attitude, it is the way we look at things, but it implies investment, as there is a lot of pressure in the market. Intangible, the invisible economy, intangible assets are the main sources of performance and differentiation in the new millennium. It is necessary to know how to wrap the product well (with marketing, brand, design, research, development).
Opening Panel 2: The Internationalization of Metalworking and Habitat: Trends, Challenges, Opportunities, Mónica Moreira (AICEP – Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade in Portugal) – presented the global status of the global indicators of the internationalization of the Portuguese economy. It is not new that global production will contract in 2020, given the Covid 19 pandemic. However, forecasts point to a faster recovery in 2021 in Asia, Australasia and Europe. The pandemic did not affect the global market at the same time, nor in the same way. Hence the recovery will not be done in the same way.
The impact on value chains will drive automation. European reindustrialization (automation, digitalization and artificial intelligence, e-commerce) comes to the center stage. Digital opportunities are now significant and are already a reality in the face of confinement. Examples are robotics in health, App’s also linked to health, behavior change, namely remote work.
International trade is now more essential than ever. It facilitates the growth of companies in the European Union, through trade outside the European internal market. Portugal had an increase in exports but it slowed down and 2020 is going to be a particularly difficult year.
The fall in GDP is 8.5%. In 2021 a recovery of around 5.4% is expected. There is good news, it is predicted for 2022/23 that Portugal will have a growth rate higher than the European average and even, pre-pandemic. Currently 70% of Portuguese exports are to Europe and the main trading partners will remain.
AICEP has a set of support tools, through its network, in various forms, webinars, e-commerce, Covid measures monitoring site, market monitoring, among others, highlighting the Portugal Open for Business Campaign, promotional campaign Portuguese business network on social networks, in order to enhance internationalization and make the national offer known.
Also in Panel 2, José de Matos (APCMC – Portuguese Association of Building Material Traders) spoke about the Internationalization of the Habitat sector. In view of the current situation, there are more opportunities and also more demands in the sector. Companies face a major challenge and have to act quickly. There is a need for industrialization. On the table the sustainability and guarantee of your requirements. A major challenge in general is a great lack of qualified labor. Companies have to go international. Digitization is gaining ground (a lot of information accompanies products in all processes). There is a lot going on, which represents challenges but also opportunities, such as the industrialization of integrated solutions, for which the versatility and flexibility of Portuguese companies is a success factor.
Panel 3: Success Cases in Internationalization. Two associated companies were invited; from AEA, Lightenjin, Lda, with the participation of José Mota, for the habitat sector and AECA, Perfinox, SA., with the participation of António Tavares, through the metal-mechanics sector, to share their experiences in internationalization.
Adriano Fidalgo (Astrolábio SA) moderated the conference program, in terms of conducting the work, having at this stage challenged companies to share their international experiences, essentially in the targeted markets, in the areas of difficulties experienced along the way, solutions found for their resolution , as well as the processes adopted in the field of planning the internationalization process and models of market penetration adopted.
The President of Aeca, Carlos Brandão, closed the working session, thanking all the speakers present physically and virtually, summarizing the main conclusions, noting the level of satisfaction of the promoting entities AECA and AEA, for the quality and relevance of the interventions , so how current is the content presented.
The Master Export Project with code 37628 is developed jointly by the business associations AEA (Associação Empresarial de Águeda) and the AECA (Associação Empresarial de Cambra e Arouca), within the scope of Portugal 2020, specifically, the Collective Action Support System (SIAC) – Qualification, inserted in the thematic objective nº3 – “Reinforce the Competitiveness of SMEs”, of the Operational Program Competitiveness and Internationalization, being supported by the FEDER.