Like many in the industry I’m sure, I’m already planning my visit to the FIT Show in a couple of weeks’ time.
Mila took the difficult decision not to exhibit this year largely because the timing of the show, just 13 months after the last one, didn’t fit in with our product development programme. Last year of course, the timing was perfect for the launch of our phenomenal GRIP handle and I like to think we stole the show with our amazingly colourful stand.
But, with our next round of major product launches still some months away, we have opted to invest the tens of thousands of pounds which would normally be spent exhibiting at the FIT Show directly back into the business.
It was obviously a very difficult call for us to make because the FIT Show is such a great celebration of the industry and the perfect place to meet new and existing customers but, when we are under such intense pressure from rising costs and when we are still having to pass surcharges on to customers, I think it was the right one. Instead, alongside the ongoing product development, we’re investing in new quality and testing initiatives and supply chain enhancements.
It’s notoriously challenging to quantify the payback from exhibitions anyway but without a ‘hero’ new product it would certainly have been even more difficult – the days when you could treat a trade exhibition as a flag waving exercise are long gone.
I’ll definitely be at the FIT Show as a visitor though, and with a rather different perspective. I’ll be interested in what’s new, spotting any obvious trends and of course meeting up with friends and colleagues. The move to the NEC from Telford will undoubtedly change the overall feel of the show and the huge growth in the number of exhibitors from the aluminium sector will shift the dynamic, but I’m excited to see how it’s evolved from last year.