Innovation key to fight disruption in diamond industry
Innovating and making use of the latest technologies that are available today will help companies in the diamond industry, protect themselves against disruptions, experts at the Dubai Diamond Conference (DDC 2019) said.
Organised by DMCC, the event welcomed over 400 government officials, financiers, retailers, and investors. Held under the theme 'Disruption in Diamonds: Harnessing Innovation and Technology', experts discussed the impact of technological developments on the diamond industry as well as opportunities for creating positive change in the sector.
"Located at the crossroads of the world, the UAE has become a global economic hub," said Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, UAE Minister of State, in his keynote address. "Tourism, finance, trade and logistics are all key pillars of the UAE's diverse and growing economy. Another critical sector that drives our sustainable growth is diamonds. In less than two decades, Dubai has become one of the largest diamond trading hubs in existence. I have no doubt that Dubai will one day be the largest, and I am confident because we in the UAE have seen this story time and time again."
Ahmed bin Sulayem, executive chairman and CEO of DMCC, noted that the diamond trade is facing pressure from multiple directions. "General sentiment among traders, suppliers, financiers and those on in retail, is low to say the least. But, if we are to have any chance of success, it will be through facing the facts, understanding the technology shaping manufacturing, analysing shifts in consumer preference and adapting accordingly. DMCC and Dubai want to be at the heart of the industry's response to the issues the market is facing today."
Experts at the event highlighted how increased automation and technological advancements are a global phenomenon affecting every sector, and that the diamond supply chain is no exception.
"Today, we are at the beginning of another evolution in diamond manufacturing. I don't think that automation is going to completely replace manual processing. Certainly, the introduction of technology such as automation in certain processes brings a lot of additional value to the industry," said David Block, CEO of Sarine.
"Innovation protects us against disruption and it allows us to better propose a value proposition to our customers," added Faried Sallie, head of Technology at De Beers Group. "In looking at innovation, we came across various different opportunities. We identified specific technologies that can catalyse the diamond industry. The first revolved around distribution and handling; we looked at how robotics, automated storage and retrieval systems, and digital ecosystems can be used to move our diamond product. The second revolved around speeding up the time between mining the stone and getting it to our customers through an automated system of cutting and shaping the diamonds."