Peter’s Corner: enough of the ominous – non-existent – stone „industry“

Enough of the ominous – non-existent - stone „industry“.

The natural stone branch should follow the hype in manufacturing / More emphasis on marble and granite as unique distinguishing factors

In the e-mails we receive from our readers we often find lamentations on false reports by competitors of natural stone aimed at exercising pressure. But we get the impression that the stone branch often sheds unfavorable light on its own products. Let us call this behavior vituperation and take a closer look at some of the aspects involved.

Let us focus our attention on the so-called stone „industry“ and the increasing indiviualization in our societies. Both are intertwined and of strategic importance for the branch.

Claiming to be an industry is not only false in the case of the natural stone branch. It is also contra-productive. Not a single one of the manufacturers touched a turn-over commensurate to an industry. From quarrying to the value-added products, the realization has nothing in common with the organization required of a factory.

E.g. in the automobile industry, production is team-work: tanks, transmissions, seats, etc., are delivered to the production hub where pieces are assembled.
In the case of the stone branch, a holistic approach is preferred.

The term „industry“ today has a negative connotation. Expressions like „food industry“ or „tourist industry“ demonstrate this. They carry with them the aura of low-margin bulk business with all its implications. Belonging to the „pharmaceutical industry“ is even a disparaging term today.

What’s more, the industry itself is going to great pains to distract from the image of robotic production toward hand-crafted manufacturing of singular pieces.
A case in point: the exclusive materials used by automobile manufacturers in their exclusive models. „Luxury, elegance and craftsmanship are made tangible and give our automobiles a very special note“, says Citroën’s chief designer, Thierry Metroz in an interview.

Current en vogue products like Craft Beer, produced only in small quantities in accordance with secret recipes, or chocolates made by the maître chocolatier himself are but two examples.

Which brings us to the second aspect of our observation, i.e. the client’s wish for individual products.

This is grist to the mills of the stone branch since each stone is unique. In many countries the singularity has always been emphasized.

Yet we sorely miss the young generation as a target group for unique stone products.
Young people today value e.g. unique clothing often following the current fashion orientation with an individual note but within group constraints. Boys and girls want to set their own individual mark and create their own style.

Especially in big cities this trend is prominent. Young people strut their style as if the street were a cat walk.

One can expect that this urge will not fade with increasing age but will shift its focus to other fields of interest.

If youths are taught that every piece of marble and every granite cube is a unique piece of nature, they might just be open to spend their well-earned money on such material.

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(15.09.2016, USA: 09.15.2016)