For the first time in almost 20 years, Algood is returning to the Promat trade show in Chicago this year. It’s a huge show with over 700 exhibitors in the material handling, supply chain and logistics business. There are two reasons we’re coming back. One is that we have more confidence than ever in both what our company has to offer and in the future of the industry. The second reason is that trends have shifted and these large expositions have returned to being more about the trade and less about the show.
Exhibiting at a show like Promat represents a very significant investment. There are lots of materials and presentations to be prepared. But more than that, the man-hours required both in advance and at the show come with a hefty price tag. That’s money that could be spent on product development. So you can bet that we want to be very sure that this will be a good use of our time and money.
Why? Because we have a story to tell. We want current and prospective customers to see the breadth of our product line and have the opportunity to interact with our people. Our “Think Algood. Think Big” slogan is as much about our large, high capacity, heavy duty casters as it is about our ability to help customers see the big picture and seize opportunity. Websites and catalogues display product but when people hold and feel an Algood caster or wheel, they really see the quality and workmanship that are built into it. We are confident that as Castersmiths – true masters of the caster industry –– we will demonstrate our knowledge, capability, ingenuity and dedication to our customers.
Let’s face it. There’s also a bottom line to an investment in a trade show. We take a no-nonsense approach to ROI for a show like this. While its great to promote awareness and enthusiasm, they don’t pay bills. We believe that we can generate significant business by converting introductions into meetings and meetings into sales.
We are also confident about the industry. More and more often, we are hearing about the frustrations of dealing with offshore producers both in terms of product reliability and meeting delivery times. North American producers are upping their game, becoming more sophisticated and adding resources. As one of a small number of true manufacturers on the continent, we are optimistic about the growth potential and are witnessing many customers turning away from offshore suppliers.
We stayed away from Promat and other large shows for years because, in my opinion, many of them had become more about the show and less about the trade. There were glitzy booths; lots of small talk, handshaking and backslapping; and of course, the required amount of drinking. But there was very little to be found in terms of innovation, product development and a commitment to better serve the industry. The result was visitors did a lot of tire kicking but found little to attract their attention.
Times have changed. Companies sending employees to visit a show are demanding more accountability. They want them to go with goals and come back with the product ideas and solutions that will ensure those goals are realized. In part, that explains why exhibitors have raised the bar on what they are offering. They are also looking for measurable results. So, you’ll see more innovation, more commitment to meeting customer needs, more steak and less sizzle. In a word, it’s the value that being sought by both exhibitors and visitors that is driving changes in trade shows.
Algood’s tremendous growth in capability and confidence combined with the changing nature of these huge expositions have created the opportunity for more trade and less show. And that’s why we’re back!