Chrome plated exhibitionists
On this occasion the show in question was ‘Advanced Engineering UK’ at the NEC early in November, which is billed as the UK’s largest gathering of advanced engineering professionals from OEMs and supply chain partners under one roof.
It is actually an amalgamation of four different shows, with the Automotive Engineering Show our home for two days. We shared the hall with businesses representing every facet of auto engineering, from our chrome-plated ABS components to tooling suppliers, demonstrating the vast array of businesses involved in this vibrant industry.
Erecting our stand on the day prior to the show’s first day proved to be the usual tricky operation, like a giant flat pack without the instructions! However with vague memories returning, we managed to erect our stand without too many problems or giggles from the professional stand builders around us.
As always we got to meet the regulars that have exhibited at the same shows previously and regardless of our specialities, we all share the same enthusiasm and desire to show we are the best at what we do.
Happily our stand was opposite one of our largest group customers Magna, a leading global automotive supplier with 285 manufacturing operations and 83 product development, engineering and sales centres in 29 countries.
One of their exhibitors recognised the front bumper assembly on our stand, showing the F54 MINI parts we injection mould and plate in bright chrome. Having finished assemblies, showing the part we play always makes me swell with pride in what we do, a feeling shared by the entire Borough workforce.
Why do we exhibit? A question that always pops into your head while looking down the aisles trying to spot the one new contact that will make being out of the office for three days worthwhile. There is no simple answer and for most exhibitors, I’m sure there is no immediate benefit, no contract signed on the stand.
Large contracts in the automotive industry develop over time from initial contact, through enquiry, quoting , negotiating, tooling, build stages, quality and ultimately in to production. And one thing that is certain is that in our particular business – it will be a long and interesting journey.
But in reality shows like this are about being seen. Showing you have the experience, expertise and capability to fulfil a role in the automotive supply chain. Often you need to demonstrate, like Borough has, that you have developed your offering to better reflect the changing needs of your clients.
Contacts from the days of Rover-MG, dropped by to say hello and see what we’re up to. Showing them some of our work and talking about projects we are involved with (but no specifics!), I never ceased to be amazed at the quality and exacting tolerances we achieve for very large chrome-plated components.
There was a steady stream of people interested in the components we injection mould and then chrome plate, with the satin finish attracting a lot of comments, particularly from those specifying interior trim and assemblies.
All things considered, it was another good show to get the Borough name out and about, despite the lack of contracts signed on the stand!
In the days of email, social media, video-conferencing and hands free calling from anywhere in the world, nothing beats a face-to-face meeting, where supplier and buyer can get a measure of each other. Our manufacturing might be extremely high-tech, but when it come to selling, I guess I’m of the old school.