It ended last Friday, with an extremely positive balance, the largest International Technical Footwear Congress. For one week, over 540 footwear professionals, coming from 33 countries, gathered in Porto
“It was an incredible Congress“, stated Yves Morin, President of UITIC – International Union of Shoe Industry Technicians, adding: “The 20th UITIC Congress was incredible due to the record number of delegates, fantastic visits to companies, the high level of panels, speeches and presentations“. In general terms, “the congress has fully achieved its goals of being the international Think Tank of the footwear industry.”
More than 30 speakers
The future of the worldwide footwear industry was the focus of discussion at the 20th UITIC Congress. “New products new services”, “Intelligent development and manufacturing”, “Sustainability, regulatory trends impacting on factories” and “New way of training and knowledge management” were the themes of the different sessions.
One of presentations gathering more expectation was the one by Maarten Oonk from the Deloitte Center for the Edge: “We can say that the final consumer is taking an increasingly important role in the industrial process. It will be key to understand what the client wants.” According to Oonk, “digital technology allows a profound change in the relationship with the final consumer”, a process that is now “very different from what takes place in traditional brick and mortar. Nowadays, we can go to a store online and share our tastes and preferences. If we can capture this, we can optimize the entire production process – from design to final product – and meet the consumer’s wishes. “
Three days of visits to factories
Over three days, more than 20 footwear companies were visited by participants of the Congress: “When I suggested the theme of this 20th Congress – From Fashion to Factory: A New Technological Age, I was thinking about Portugal. Portugal was the right place to discuss this topic, because this is one of the few countries in the world where we can simultaneously find the entire production chain, with very good know-how and a deep knowledge of fashion and design“, concluded Yves Morin.
Next Congress location still to be decided
The UITIC Executive Committee met at the end of last week and announced that three applications for the next event were presented already: South Africa, Colombia and Romania are the countries that have already submitted an application and can host in 2010 the 21st UITIC Congress.