Lots to be proud about

Martin Thurley, group managing director of Liniar and Avantek Machinery, discusses FIT Show 2019.

It’s been a great start to the year at Liniar, with lots to be positive about. With 15% year-on-year growth, a fantastic customer feedback score with over 93% of customers saying they’d recommend Liniar; and 99% of all our deliveries being supplied on time in full, we’ve been primarily focused on our customers, product innovation and operational efficiencies.

The FIT Show was therefore an opportunity for me to take a few days to look around and see what everyone else in the industry has been up to, and what I saw filled me with a huge sense of pride.

Pride can breed arrogance, but it can also make us grateful – and the latter is exactly the sort of pride I felt at this year’s FIT Show.

Our industry is a complex one, with a diverse supply chain, a wealth of opportunities, and a wide array of interesting characters. The joy of the FIT Show is that it’s an opportunity to see all of these together in one place over the three days of the exhibition.

Before I arrived at the NEC this year, I was fully aware of how much time and effort had gone into creating our own Liniar/Avantek stand. Multiply that by the 300 exhibitors there, and it’s probably fair to say the FIT Show has been the culmination of many years’ worth of man hours.

But the results were worth it.

Not just the financial results. At our level of the supply chain, the return on investment for events and exhibitions can take several years to materialise.

I’m talking about the other benefits the FIT Show brings, such as the opportunity to meet installers who buy Liniar products from our customers, some of whom are raving fans. They interact with us through our social media channels but we rarely get the chance to speak to them face to face – yet installers are the users of our products, and those whose feedback we need in order to keep creating products they want to fit.

We had meaningful conversations with people in our customer base who’ve come along to the show with their boss. For some, it’s the only day away from the office they’ve had all year. It was great to be able to put a face to a name and find out their thoughts about Liniar, as they’re often the people with the first-hand experience of day to day operations.

We could walk around the show and find out what’s on the horizon for the future of our industry. Some of the technological advances I’ve seen in the last few years alone are astounding and it’s fantastic to see so many new innovations and boundaries being pushed.

We met young people just starting out in their careers and talk to them about the opportunities that lie ahead. This year’s FIT Show in particular has been firmly behind the Building Our Skills initiative to encourage young talent into our industry, and it’s a philosophy that fits with our own culture at Liniar and Avantek. I met some individuals who I know will do great things in their careers and it was exciting to be even a small part of encouraging them.

Finally, the FIT Show gave us the opportunity to showcase all the new products our team has been working on over the last few years, together with a glimpse into what’s coming next from both Liniar and Avantek. For some customers, it’s the first chance they’d had to see our new lantern style roof, Elevate, and the different manufacturing methods that are possible with our double-rebated flush sash, Resurgence.

But most of all, I’m proud of our team, who are committed to designing and bringing to market some of the most innovative products in the industry, and who put customer service excellence at the heart of everything they do.

And now the FIT Show is over, it’s back to business as usual.