Faced with an almost completed digital transformation, industry and crafts are two increasingly close realities

There are realities of excellence that combine industry and craftsmanship, human sensitivity and the competitive performance of the machine in a single body. A combo from which even pieces of refined customization can be born. Nothing to do with (only) encrypted products or mass customization: we mean ad hoc creations, which adapt to the needs of those who buy. From hand-painted wallpaper to the ergonomics of the sofa, designed for those who lie down.

Industry and crafts: where they meet

For the consumer, turning to a company that offers a tailor-made service means giving voice to their wishes, specific needs and, naturally, nurturing expectations.

In turn, in order to live up to it, the company must cope more than ever with: production quality, reasonable lead times, purchase assistance.

Craftsmanship = manual skills (only?)

When you think about the design and then the realization of an artisanal product, manual processing is, regardless, one of the two factors of the equation. True. But there is more: in its broadest meaning, the involvement of a craftsman presupposes a production process that is always guided and supervised by the one who guards the art of knowing how to do.

For example, the luxury interior design brand Ludovica Mascheroni told us how to maintain high quality of craftsmanship, the company invests heavily in people: “We are attentive to the growth of new talents, but also to the continuous training of all artisans. We strongly care about their involvement, making them participate in the final product and not living them as separate units ”explain Roberta Caglio and Fabio Mascheroni - founders.

The role of consultancy

What makes craftsmanship even more precious - a true luxury - is therefore the consultancy component, thanks to which the finished product is the result of contamination between demand and proposal. Exactly, too, what makes it opposed to the industrial approach and standardization and, in some way, even complementary to it.

Man needs a car (and vice versa)

Craftsmanship and industry coexist with the sole care that everyone is given the right space: as a master of knowledge and a person of doing, the craftsman naturally tends to want to improve. For this reason, he cannot do without technology, understood in the most essential sense of him: a means of obtaining finished products, not always better, but more efficiently.

In Edra, for example, the union of tradition and innovation has always been one of the guiding principles: "the use of technology and manual processing are complementary as much as necessary for our products. Personalization is a concept that we always look for in our sofas, which are created to satisfy needs or desires, both with respect to the movements of the body to offer the best comfort and with respect to the arrangement of the object in the environment" says Monica Mazzei  - vice president of Edra.

The Italian case

In a certain sense, the fulfillment of a compromise is found in the strange and much envied case of made in Italy. Italy has always been characterized by a specialized industry: an oxymoron highlighted by the districts, still today nuclei of verticalized and excellent production that look ahead, while always maintaining the focus on their wisdom.

Projects between real and virtual

Among fabrics, upholstery and custom-made furniture, Ludovica Mascheroni entrusts part of the production to small family nuclei of artisans and - with the typical Italian stamp of knowledge and willingness to do the best - also looks ahead: "During the lockdown we had to make a virtue of necessity, developing an app that would allow us to design together with our customers in a virtual way.

Constantly refined, it remained an important element of dialogue with our customers, even after the lockdown. It allows us to plan together with them, without necessarily meeting each other physically. A specialized operator of our technical office creates with them a real identikit of the requested product between finishes, colors, details... It is a service that we like and we have decided to keep it".

From prototype to final product

What if a product is not as expected? It is the risk of craftsmanship which does not allow itself to be replaced by industry, but joins it. The quality standard and attention to detail are central to this type of approach: "Sometimes years go by from the conception of the product to its presentation: we develop dozens of prototypes to strive for perfection. Nothing is left to chance, from the shape, to the structure to the covering. We study the material of each product, the ideal coating, to respond to certain characteristics and performances of the project" explains Monica Mazzei of Edra.

“When something has not been achieved as planned, it is redone, again and again, until the final result is exactly as we had planned it” - confirms Fabio Mascheroni.

And finally: how do you sell personalized service today?

For the sale of a personalized product a showcase is not enough. Need and offer must meet in order for something not repeatable to be born. Communication is crucial and choosing an expressive medium and that does not distance but involves, it is in the same way. Edra opts for the magazine: an in-depth tool that narrates and illustrates the quality of the products.

Ludovica Mascheroni instead takes us to know "The Apartment" in via Gesù, in Milan. More than a classic shop, a personal space where you can find unique garments and pieces for the home made by the company's artisans: here, everything can be made to measure and personalized. The customer is welcomed into a space that gives back the idea of ​​home, and experiences firsthand the experience of the pieces offered, with all the comforts, atmospheres and diluted times of the experience.

Made to measure is the result of 4.0 craftsmanship

Placing an iron dividing line between these two tools means hindering a combination that, if well studied, can bring excellent results. Technology can, very well, be the natural continuation of a craftsman - a complementary support.

It is the artistic intelligence of man who, with sensitivity, dictates the rules, the machine is nothing more than the support. It is craftsmanship 4.0: the one that develops a unique know-how in operating high-precision machines and makes intelligent use of it to design, produce, refine, perfect ... It's the beauty of the complex: different specializations, if combined, bring with them the guarantee of excellence.