Spain: New Digitalization Center for food sector SMEs
The Spanish food and beverage industry is betting on the creation of a digitalization center aiming to receive 1,500 companies in the next three years. "We must break down barriers and extend digital transformation to the entire sector, especially its SMEs."
These were the words of the director of the sectoral organization FIAB, Mauricio García de Quevedo, during the presentation of the alliance between FIAB and EY, which aims to contribute to the use of EU recovery funds for companies to finance the process.
The project, presented in mid-May, focuses on three areas: cybersecurity, the smart factory and automation of administrative tasks.
"The great challenge for the sector to digitize is its heterogeneity, with micro-SMEs and large companies, but also with many, many subsectors," Pedro Valdés, of EY, explained. In fact, the Spanish food industry is made up of more than 30,000 companies, 96% of which are SMEs.
The Digitization Center aims to lower the initial costs, which are a deterrent for many, and to take advantage of the availability of European funds.
García de Quevedo recalled "in parallel, FIAB is already working with the Government on a strategic project for economic recovery and transformation dedicated specifically to the agri-food sector". In this way, European aid worth over €2,000 million has been claimed.
According to FIAB’s director, the design of the program will be key", and, as an example, he cited that "SMEs require non-refundable subsidies or they will not be able to face their transformation".
The cybersecurity area will focus on strengthening the protection of the food industry, in a context in which cyber-attacks have multiplied, and includes training programs.
The interlocking automation of administrative tasks (financial services, providers, human resources) aims to "robotize repetitive processes", for which a maintenance office will be created to reduce technological costs.
In the case of the "smart factory", the purpose is to "improve the productivity of the plants, diluting the costs of entry to the licenses" that give access to certain programs; this area will be aimed at companies with a turnover of more than €50 million.