FIT Show veterans

If there are a group of companies who could be described as ‘veterans’ of the FIT Show, then Business Micros would be among them. The software specialist was one of the first companies to sign up to the concept when it was announced way back in 2012, and has been at every show, ever since.

Business Micros started off with three separate small shell scheme stands in 2013 – two focused individually on Business Micros and one on its sister company BM Aluminium. By 2014, the group had decided that it was ‘better together’ and opted for a larger stand showcasing all its products and systems.

The decision was made to use FIT to make a statement about Business Micros’ strength and status in the market, and a much bigger custom stand was created for the first time. The response to that was so positive that elements of the stand design were carried over into 2016 and now into 2017, with some new touches and innovations being added along the way.

Graeme Bailey, Business Micros’ managing director, believes that the whole industry really needs the FIT Show now.

“I think we benefit almost as much from having a networking forum as we do from having a place to show off new products,” he said. “I liked the concept of the Glasstalk events which came before FIT, because they got people together to share ideas and best practice, and to learn about the issues which the industry was facing in terms of legislative change and market pressures.

“The fact that the FIT Show is structured to include business and market seminars, exhibitor network events and even the gala dinner means that it retains all that was good about Glasstalk, as well as the obvious opportunities for us to showcase new and improved products.

“We all benefit from the opportunity the show presents to share ideas and new developments as well – not just in terms of attracting new business, but in driving us all on to bigger and better things. Everyone gets to see what their competitors are up to, and it definitely helps to foster that culture of innovation which characterises our industry so well.”

The format of an exhibition suits a software provider like Business Micros almost perfectly. Compared with companies that manufacture big bulky products, it can showcase its entire product range very efficiently via banks of fixed or portable screens. It can also staff its stand with technical experts as well as sales people, giving existing as well as potential customers compelling reasons to visit the stand.

“We’ve had really positive feedback after all three of the previous FIT Shows on the way we’ve approached them,” Graeme said. “Existing customers have welcomed the chance to talk to the team about how they could potentially expand their software set up to get even more from it, and new customers have liked the fact that they can see really comprehensive demonstrations of how our software works before they even approach us to talk about switching their software.

“One of the biggest benefits for us has actually been the opportunity to get direct feedback from existing customers at FIT on our work in progress. We’ve got a specialist team at our programming centre in Scotland dedicated exclusively to producing the next generation of software for Business Micros. At every FIT Show, we give visitors previews of the latest developments they are working on and their response directly informs how we move forward with our programming. In that respect, it’s almost as much as a focus group as it is a sales opportunity.”

Business Micros’ sister company BM Aluminium can justifiably claim to have been flying the flag for the aluminium sector at the FIT Show right from the beginning. It has exhibited its LogiKal software system every year, and managing director Dean Hodges and his team have worked hard all the way along to encourage companies working in aluminium to come to the show – both as visitors and now as exhibitors.

“We always felt that, once a couple of the systems companies committed to the show, then the rest of the market would follow, and that has certainly proved to be the case now that both Aluk and Reynaers are here this year,” Dean said. “I’m delighted at how the FIT Show is evolving to reflect the growth in the aluminium market, and I’m definitely expecting our stand to be a lot busier this time around.”

That seems likely given that BM Aluminium is launching its brand new Infoserver module at the show. This allows users to track an aluminium frame around their factory for the first time using barcode scanning technology. It sends work orders generated from within LogiKal direct to workstations on the shop floor, delivering the information and data needed at each stage of the production process to the relevant workstation.

This is technology that will be familiar to users of Business Micros’ PVCU software systems but BM Aluminium is emphasising that Infoserver represents a real step forward in aluminium, opening up opportunities for paperless factories, with better efficiency and even lower potential for errors.

BM Aluminium is 10 years old this year and the FIT Show will be the focus of much of its celebrations. The company is thanking customers for all their support since 2007 and there will be promotions and competitions taking place throughout the show.

“It’s an indication of just how important the FIT Show is to us that we’re choosing to mark our anniversary here,” Dean said. “I hope as many customers as possible will come and see us and share in our celebrations.”

Business Micros | BM Aluminium G30