It's been exactly a week since StocExpo 2016 kicked off in style in Antwerp, Belgium. Since then, much has happened including the awful atrocities in the neighbouring Belgian capital of Brussels and our heartfelt condolences GO to the families of victims caught up in the airport and metro attacks.
It's always hard to qualify how much business is generated by our attendance at trade shows and exhibitions. Especially when we are a company specialising in, more often than not, tailored engineering solutions across a rather wide range of industries. So we exhibit to create awareness of our Zip-Load range of land and marine loading arms amongst other products in our rather extensive portfolio of bulk fluid transfer and fall prevention systems, rather than to generate direct sales.
The run-up to the show and preparation involved, is not for the faint-hearted. From deciding on something seemingly trivial to show giveaways - incidentally, we do the 'bin test' in this instance, will the giveaway end up in the first bin the visitor passes - to the logistical challenge of shipping and moving a full scale tank truck loading arm into the venue; the to-do list is a mile long and doesn't seem to get shorter as the show gets closer!
And if you do multiple shows in a year like us (see you all in Tank World Expo in Dubai next!), the first show marks the start of a mad flurry of flights, hotels, restaurants, expo halls and other strange and interesting places you end up in; seemingly glamorous to those stuck in the office but most people who attend these shows know it's anything but.
But I digress... What IS the payoff for us to do these shows if it's so hard to quantify?
We meet lots of potential clients. Show organisers like Easyfairs need to maintain the high quality of their conference programme and speakers so the relevant professionals in the industry come to the show. Loadtec was suitably impressed by the quality of StocExpo this year. Alec Keeler, our MD, was quoted in the show daily after the first day of the show, "It was an excellent day. We met lots of interesting companies, caught up with old friends and saw a lot more people than I had imagined."
We strike up interesting business partnerships. We met Zipfluid, our partner manufacturing company in Italy, at StocExpo several years ago. In them, Loadtec found a kindred spirit - a company interested in manufacturing excellence who employs a team of experienced engineers in the field of bulk fluid transfer systems who are passionate about what they do. Loadtec, with our global experience of working in the specialised field of moving bulk liquids but with limited manufacturing experience, have found the perfect partner in Zipfluid and since then, both companies have gone from strength to strength working together.
And that is just one partnership in the many we have formed over the years that could have resulted from a chance conversation in the aisle, drinks in the lounge or a shared love of cheese cubes and freebies provided by the many exhibitors that attend these shows. To us, the connections we make at these shows are priceless and that is why we return year after year.
Loadtec will be attending Tank World Expo in Dubai, 12-13 April 2016, next. See you all there!