The 20th Congress of the International Union of Shoe Industry Technicians (UITIC), which was held in Porto on May 16 to 18, was described by its organizers as an “incredible” event because of the record number of delegates, the high level of the presentations and interesting visits to Portuguese shoe factories, crowned by a nice gala dinner in the wonderful building of Porto's Bourse.

A total of 540 industry professionals attended the convention, including 234 delegates who came from 37 foreign countries. The others came from Portugal, with some of them signing up at the last minute. The organizers had to reject the last applications due to space limitations.

The theme of the convention was “From Fashion to Factory – A New Technological Age.” The speeches and the panel discussions dealt with the introduction of new digital technologies, artificial intelligence, robotics and other new processes along the supply chain. They also dealt with sustainability and knowledge management. Some of the topics will be discussed in future issues of Shoe Intelligence.

The convention was organized by the Portuguese Technological Footwear Center (CTCP) and the Association of Portuguese manufacturers of shoes, leathergoods and components (Apiccaps). The delegates and the journalists also had the opportunity to visit about 20 local factories and to engage in networking.

The UITIC Congress is held every other year in a different countries. The next one will is scheduled for 2020, and the candidates so far are Colombia, Romania and South Africa.