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New industry/services relations in the digital age

New industry/services relations in the digital age

Type of text : Opinion
Type of referral : Own initiative
Working group : Section for economic activities

Rapporteur(s) :

Marie-José KOTLICKI
CGT Trade Union group
Date adopted : 13/10/2015 | Period : 2010-2015
Driven by the digital revolution, the interconnection of industry and services, which is already breaking down boundaries between the two sectors, is also restructuring the entire economic fabric, despite the fact that it has met with some resistance from the vertical aspect of the sectors concerned. 
Nowadays, an increasing number of services are becoming associated with manufactured products and the 'solution-based' concept is playing an increasingly central role in all areas. The paradigms of the production system are being reversed. The conveniences offered by the digital sphere are putting the client in an unprecedented position - they are no longer a mere consumer but are instead going into the factory and taking on an advisory role. We are moving away from mass production in favour of individualised mass production.
 
The digital sphere is therefore profoundly altering the field of work and employment, as well as the way in which it is structured and the associated qualifications.
This presents companies with a number of formidable challenges by radically transforming all sectors of the economy and imposing significant changes in terms of the ways in which they operate. Globalisation is gaining speed and players such as GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon) are developing new economic models on an international scale that clash with the rules of free and undistorted competition and regulated professions.
 
France has a number of assets to help it deal with such changes, which are happening at a more rapid pace than any other industrial revolution in history.
It ranks among the leading countries for launching innovative start-ups, although these are still vulnerable in the face of large groups and struggle to achieve the critical size that would enable them to fully express their creativity and truly contribute to the number of businesses nor that of ISEs - which appear to be stagnating in number -, and to start to create assets and develop unprecedented industrial models.
 
Indeed, new societal aspirations are establishing themselves within our society, such as the need to manage the increasing scarcity of natural resources and the challenges presented by climate change. These reflect a need for "different production and consumption" behaviours that promote the rise in the circular economy and joint consumption.
 
It is important, now, that we highlight new approaches to competitiveness that do not pit industry and services against one another, and that standardise relations between ordering parties and sub-contracting companies and coordinate technological, economic and social progress. Work is under way in the field of lifelong education and raising qualifications.
The factory of the future will require all players to consider new social relations and the State to implement a valuable strategy that should also be deployed at local, regional and European levels if it is to be a success in terms of its economic, social and societal aspects. 
As far as the ESEC is concerned, it is a matter of re-industrialising France since, on this new basis, there can be no development without industry. This major concern is something that should spur the country’s political, economic and social leaders into action.