Given the extraordinary and exceptional conditions we are experiencing, EFESME organized for the first time a public General Assembly to overcome the consequent impossibility of organizing events and meeting in person with its experts, its members, their associates, and guests.
The event allowed EFESME to present to its guests the activities carried out in recent months, ranging from the collaboration with SBS - Small Business Standards to the many projects developed with its members, without forgetting the rich technical activity carried out by EFESME experts in the numerous working groups followed to ensure a 360° support to SMEs.
The General Assembly opened with a short speech by President Bezzi, who stressed the extraordinary conditions in which the world finds itself at the moment, and the need, therefore, to organize such an event remotely. Nevertheless, the President also wanted to underline how opportunities can arise from this global crisis, and how EFESME wants to exploit them to give SMEs as many tools as possible to overcome the crisis and be more and more competitive.
Activities with SBS
The panel on the activities carried out with SBS was attended by Ms Maitane Olabarria Uzquiano, the new Director of SBS since January 2020. Ms Olabarria Uzquiano used her speech to introduce herself and SBS, stressing that cooperation and collaboration between the two organisations is essential to ensure that standards and standardisation activities are as SME-friendly as possible. The Assembly then went on to discuss the technical activities carried out in standardisation, which were discussed and presented by the various EFESME experts involved in ISO, ETSI, CEN-CENELEC and Notified Bodies.
- Mr. Tiziano Caresani spoke about his activities within CEN TC10 WG13 and within the Machinery Directive Working Group of the European Commission (PPT);
- Mr. Marco Cogliati presented the work done so far within the ETSI Smart M2M group, where several documents on smart lifts are under development (PPT);
- Mr. Luciano Faletto, the Secretary General of EFESME, went into details about the numerous activities within the ISO TC178, the CEN TF HaS and the Notified Bodies for Lifts (PPT);
- Finally, Mr. Lars Odlen, active in the ISO TC178 ADH New Technologies, presented the most recent updates regarding remote communications and digital opportunities in the lift sector (PPT).
The conversation then moved on to the COVID-19 crisis, how the European lift industry reacted to the pandemic and lockdown, and what EFESME, as a European Federation, did to support its members and the SMEs it represents.
Having recognised the specific needs of the sector during the crisis, especially as regards how to behave outside a company, EFESME has developed sector guidelines to give clear and precise indications on how to behave when it is necessary to intervene at an installation for maintenance, repair and rescue of trapped people
- The guidelines are available for download here (in English)
The document was by the EFESME experts during several internal meeting and on the basis of input and comments submitted by the various EFESME members. Moreover, the elaboration of the final version also saw the participation of ELA - European Lift Association, EFESME's counterpart for large companies and multinationals in the sector, and counts on the support of SBS - Small Business Standards and SMEunited. This showed how how crucial it is for SMEs to be able to rely both on information that is precise, simple and shared from the various players in the lift sector, and on the support of the European organisations created to support their needs and their work, aspects that were underlined during the panel, which also saw the participation of Mr Luca Pezzini, Secretary General of ELA.
EFESME Members' activities on COVID-19
Of course, also the individual members of EFESME have also taken action at national level to inform and support their members during the crisis, and have done so in very different and all extremely effective ways. For example:
- ANACAM, Italy, gave an overview of the actions carried out so far in Italy, both by the government and the Association, presented its national guidelines that have converged into European ones, and introduced those present to the regional remote meetings organised to meet SMEs from all over Italy.
- FEPYMA, Spain, organized a weekly, then a bi-weekly series of meetings via GoToMeeting, in order to discuss the crisis with its SMEs and keep them updated on a regular basis. They also developed sectoral infographics, useful to EFESME for the development of the guidelines.
- VmA, Germany, developed and distributed national guidelines and infographics, which were also sent to EFESME and contributed to the drafting of the above European guidelines.
During the General Assembly, it was very important for the Federation as well as for its members and guests to see how different actors in the sector have taken action, together, to ensure that SMEs and the sector as a whole can have the tools to react to the crisis and return to work safely in as normal a situation as possible. The Federation is particularly pleased with the activities carried out with and by its members in this field, as evidence of the continuous and deep commitment to provide SMEs with all the tools they need to thrive.
In addition to the activities closely related to COVID-19, EFESME and its members also presented all the other activities that have been carried out in recent months, outside the purely technical and standardisation activities followed by the experts with the support of SBS. These activities were mainly focused on digitalisation, of great importance for the lift sector, and on the activities carried out at national level, where EFESME has been, is, and will be present to always support SMEs and the whole sector.
Digital Working Group
Among the many activities of the Federation, particular emphasis was placed on the creation of the EFESME Digital Working Group. Strongly supported by the President and members, the WG was created after the Board of Directors' meeting of October 17, 2019 when, following a series of events dedicated to digitalisation and cybersecurity, the Federation decided to give a more stable structure to its studies on these important issues. To date, the work of the WG has been mainly dedicated to coordinate the work of experts in ETSI and ISO, to gather inputs among members to develop the position of the Federation, and to discuss with other stakeholders the most important aspects of digitalisation in the lift industry.
Activities AT the national level
EFESME members also had the opportunity to present the activities organised and carried out at national level in recent months, as well as those they are planning in the near future. Unfortunately the COVID-19 emergency disrupted the plans of many associations, and cancelled or postponed many commitments in which EFESME intended to participate. Nevertheless, the Federation and its members have already taken steps to organize and attend the next events, taking due account of health precautions.
- VmA, Germany - As remembered by Mr Kanzler, President of VmA, in March 2020, EFESME, represented by its Vice-President, Mr Damyan Petrov, attended the 35th VmA General Assembly. During the prestigious meeting, several topics dear and important to the German lift sector were discussed, and EFESME the activities were presented to the German partners, in order to bring the European and national lift industry closer and closer together.
- FEPYMA, Spain - Although the European and National Congress scheduled for October 2020 has been cancelled due to concerns about COVID-19, FEPYMA has relaunched the idea of organizing the European Congress remotely, so that a European-style event can still be organized and involve experts, partners and SMEs. The Federation and its members have already started to work to organize the Congress, so that they can take advantage of every opportunity to be close to SMEs.
- ANACAM, Italy - Mr Luca Incoronato, Director of ANACAM, took the opportunity to introduce the event that the Italian association is organising for December 2020, in Milan. The event, which was initially scheduled for June 2020, has been postponed because of COVID-19: the will to organize it in Milan, according to Incoronato, is a strong signal of confidence in the city. The event will focus on digital and the future of the sector. Further information is available on the ANACAM website.
The event has turned out to be a winning bet for the Federation, and organizing online meetings, in parallel with those usually organized in person in Brussels or at the invitation of their members, will become in the coming months another useful tool to spread the news, the latest news and activities of the Federation.
By acting in this way, EFESME hopes to be ever closer to its members and their associates, providing SMEs with an additional means to be always in touch with the European reality and the decisions that are taken in Brussels.