Picking up the pace

Glass Times editor Nathan Bushell reflects on FIT Show’s success.

What a great three days that was! I don’t think I’ve talked so much, or met so many people, in such a short space of time. And, as always happens after an industry event, I apologise most humbly if I failed to catch up with you at the FIT Show.

However, that wasn’t always my fault – the halls were quite often very busy. Interestingly, I later learned that some exhibitors were getting so many enquiries that they were being selective over who they were scanning. In years gone by, they would have scanned everyone (suspicious over claims regarding visitor numbers may be?) but this year, existing customers were not scanned, neither were tyre-kickers.

We’ll be running a review in the July issue of the magazine (the June issue went to press while we were at the show), but a few stands stood out. For example: Epwin’s new aluminium system, Stellar, got a few approving nods; smart technology was prominent – Smart Ready, Kubo, Mila/Mighton, ERA, Maco; a new business startup, Business Pilot, offering a business management system to installers looks promising; George Clarke promoting DGCOS – as engaging as ever; magazine editors installing roof lanterns in ten minutes on the Made For Trade stand. And that’s barely scratching the surface. Most stands had something new to show, and I genuinely appreciated the opportunity to get my hands on them – Profine (Kömmerling), Aluk and Apeer spring to mind.
We must then revisit the news that broke during the show: that it will be taking place every year, rather than biennially. To be honest, the overwhelming response was groans, but as someone (unconnected to the show) pointed out to me, give everyone a month or two, and let the dust settle, and the response will probably be different.

Actually, I’m pretty confident that the decision to run the show annually won’t send the FIT Show in the direction of Glassex (which is what everyone is really worried about). Firstly, many companies had already signed up to next year’s event even before this year’s had concluded. Secondly, 45% of exhibitors who exhibited in 2017 didn’t exhibit this year, and 45% of this year’s exhibitors were new. Thirdly, many of those who didn’t exhibit this year (but did two years ago) were seen walking the halls anyway.

And fourthly, maybe an annual event would better suit the needs of the industry? Who’s to say that you need to exhibit at every show? New product cycles don’t necessarily fall every two years, so it could be easier to aim for the next available show rather than rush something out. I spoke to CEO Matthew Glover, and he reiterated what Paul Godwin had already told me: that a slightly smaller annual show is arguably better for everyone than a biennial show that is, say, only 20% bigger.

It would certainly mean that I would have a better chance of meeting everyone.