Your gate is now open
Glass Times editor Nathan Bushell welcomes the latest news from the FIT Show.
We are now in countdown mode to the FIT Show. Companies I visit these days tend to be focused on very little else: new products ready to go; brochures printed; social media campaigns ready to launch; stand builders briefed; hotel rooms booked; corporate entertainment planned; and all those loose ends that will only be tied up when the doors open at the NEC on May 21.
Some people wonder if exhibiting is all really worth the expense and the effort, but then very quickly decide that it is. What else gives you the opportunity to meet so many customers in one place over a short space of time?
For visitors, the decision is less difficult to make: all those suppliers; the seminar programme; the launch of Visit Glass. It’s worth at least a day out of your busy schedule, no?
This month, FIT Show announced another reason why the fenestration expo should be marked off in your diary: Heathrow Airport will use the event as a platform to secure key elements of its supply chain to deliver its ongoing Heathrow Quieter Homes Scheme.
Is this the first time something like this has happened? We know that self-builders will attend design and build shows to look for inspiration and suppliers for a specific project, but has a customer booked a stand at an exhibition as a market research exercise?
Andrew Haynes, Heathrow’s procurement director, said: “The manufacturers and installers we will meet at the FIT Show will be an essential resource to us as we deliver on our promise to provide a world-class noise insulation programme, and reduce the impacts of noise on those closest to us. We are looking forward to this year’s event and meeting businesses across the UK with the ideas, energy and commitment we need to deliver our plans.”
FIT Show event director Nickie West said: “We know that our audience, from exhibitors through to visitors, will be massively excited by this and will use FIT Show as an opportunity to meet with Heathrow and unlock the potential to grow their businesses by getting involved in the scheme.”
Obviously, if interested companies already have a stand at the show, then they will be in the best possible position to talk them through what they have to offer. And with the acoustic properties of windows often provided by the glass, then those glass companies taking a stand at the new Visit Glass section will be best placed to talk about those options.
It has never occurred to me that end users could have such an active involvement in a trade exhibition, but on reflection it doesn’t surprise me that Heathrow is that client. Construction started on Terminal 5 in 2002 when I was working on a tunnelling magazine – the extension to London Underground was one of the first contracts to be completed – and its procurement processes were (and probably still are) among the most forward-thinking I had come across.
What’s even more encouraging is that FIT Show continues to find new ways to make itself relevant for an audience with ever-changing needs.