It’s showtime

By Neil Parton, managing director, Elumatec

After two very difficult years, once again calendars are filling up with industry-focused events. It’s exciting to see the enthusiasm for them. There’s plenty of positive energy in the fenestration industry, and after the interruptions, there are a lot of things and people to catch up with.

The flagship events are, of course, an opportunity to do more than catch up. Many exhibit at trade shows as a way of building brand awareness. If that’s the aim, then industry shows are an excellent vehicle. Others go to collect leads. Again – footfall dependent – this can be very effective. Some reserve a stand because they have a truly innovative idea they want to showcase, and a show can be a good venue for a launch.

A company’s account exec, managing a stand, could talk to hundreds of people over a show’s duration, something that’s just not possible in normal circumstances. However, only a remarkable individual would be able to recall more than a fraction of those conversations. A show is about a thin sprinkling of attention, the chance to make the initial contact, to find ideas, energy and inspiration.

Now, Elumatec didn’t have a stand at the show this year’s FIT Show. I wonder if you missed us. I’m hoping you did – although there was plenty to see and more than enough people to talk to. Frankly, if you want to talk to us, I’d rather we had the time and space for a proper conversation.

Time and space

We made the decision not to attend this year because we have other ways of introducing people to our products and our way of doing business. And we’re continuing to develop this approach. Elumatec has just opened its third infocentre in Mühlacker. Along with our other centres of excellence in Shanghai and South Bend, Indiana, these facilities are designed to allow visitors to discover much more than is available in a typical customer showroom.

The investment has been substantial. The redesigned site at Mühlacker has a footprint of over 4,000m2, enabling the entire Elumatec range to be displayed. There’s no comparison to what’s possible on an exhibition stand.

The site offers much more than a comprehensive shop window. It is a centre of excellence where training, testing and presentations can take place – tailored to the needs of individual customers. The business of fabrication is becoming increasingly complex and specialised, and in this completely redesigned building, we can explore challenges, test solutions, and upskill those who use our machinery. It’s also a venue where Elumatec staff can train, hone and perfect their skills.

Many trade shows were postponed due to the pandemic which also meant the opening of our new infocentre was a lower-key event than was originally planned. But unlike a trade show, where the stands are taken apart after a few days and mothballed – or, worse, despatched to landfill – our site is ongoing.

It’s not a short-term blast of excitement, but a serious asset for those interested in excellence and efficiency in fabrication.

I’m excited about this new facility. It allows us to show customers the breadth and the depth of Elumatec. It’s not just the product range. The infocentre is a location where visitors can meet the engineers, the technicians, the software experts and designers who underpin our success.

The UK team is, in my view, first-rate, but it’s only a fraction of the whole Elumatec team. At the Mühlacker centre, visitors can get a real feel of the army of experts who will support them.

Feedback from the infocentre’s first visitors has been very positive. There’s a sense that we’ve responded to customer needs and understand fully the challenging markets in which our buyers operate. The facility can only serve to enhance that understanding by promoting deep and meaningful interaction.

I enjoy visiting and exhibiting at trade shows and the industry gets a lot out of them. A visit can lead to remarkable things, but for the deep understanding that this industry needs, you need much, much more.

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