Eumabois, the European Federation of Woodworking Technology Manufacturers, held its annual General Assembly on 18 September 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic drove the decision to unite all delegates and the board on a digital platform, in order to protect all participants. The 21 representatives, together with the Eumabois President, Jürgen Köppel, and the Eumabois Vice President, Luigi De Vito, used the 2020 General Assembly to address the challenges that Europe and the rest of the world are facing during the last few months of COVID-19.
Considering the serious and deep impact of COVID-19 on many industries, especially the exhibition industry, the participants discussed measures to be taken and alternative ways to be implemented. They agreed on the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating digital transformation, which can already be seen at some exhibitions that have planned hybrid solutions as a combination of digital and in-person events. However, Jürgen Köppel stated that “no digital solution can really substitute the experience of a live demo giving the visitors the chance to eyewitness and compare latest technology”.
Looking at the Eumabois global fair network, many 2020 exhibitions have been cancelled or postponed to 2021 – which was for sure the right step at that point of time. Other fairs, to avoid complete cancellations, developed safety and hygiene plans to protect participants, exhibitors and everyone involved. During the General Assembly, Luigi De Vito emphasised that this was “a huge challenge but an important step back to normal”.
Beside the COVID-19 topic which overshadowed the General Assembly to a certain degree due to the significant effects on all industries and economies, the various Eumabois technical and marketing projects were reviewed. Jürgen Köppel emphasised the importance of a joint European approach because the expertise and knowhow of all member associations and their over 850 member companies are the power which is required to create and set trends in the woodworking industry on a European and global basis.
The status of two very important technical projects was presented and further steps were discussed. Both projects, namely OPC UA (Open Platform Communication Unified Architecture) and ETML (European Tool Machine Language), are giving answers on a European level to today’s questions relating to digitalisation. The participants seemed quite satisfied with the proceedings of both projects and it was agreed upon to even increase the efforts in setting joint-European trends in the digitalisation of the woodworking industry. Luigi De Vito took the opportunity to also present the results of the Market Intelligence Project (MIP) which was recently completed by Eumabois.
Finally, Jürgen Köppel expressed his sincere thanks to all associations, member companies and people who continuously drive the success of Eumabois by dedicating their knowhow and power to support the joint European ideas in the woodworking industry.
“I am confident that the actual, challenging times are also offering opportunities that can be the starting point for new approaches and ideas in our industry,” he concluded.
Even though the first Eumabois digital General Assembly concluded in time without a hitch, delegates are looking forward to the next face-to-face General Assembly which will take place on 25 June 2021 in Vienna, Austria.