Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Locality is important, whether it be for a trade show or a new facility, says Steve Hutin, the managing director of Rope and Sling Specialists Ltd.
It’s said in the property market that when choosing a house, the three most important things are location, location, location. But the theory can be applied to other things too. When building a port, booking a holiday, planting a tree or opening a shop that sells skiing equipment, locality is key.
Two other examples are trade shows and rigging houses, which are the subjects of this article.
Go to the LiftEx website—www.LiftEx.org—and you’ll see a timer counting down the days, hours, minutes, even seconds, until this year’s show, which takes place 29-30 November at the International Centre Telford. When you’re reading this, it’ll probably say there are about 180 days to go. As reported, Rope and Sling Specialists (RSS) will exhibit for the first time at LEEA’s annual show and, as was more recently announced, we’ll be among the event’s Silver Sponsors.
The host town is named after civil engineer Thomas Telford, who certainly knew a thing or two about location and, moreover, accessibility. An architect and stonemason, Mr. Telford designed bridges, roads, harbours and tunnels. He understood proximity and the requirement of a progressive society to get from A to B. If he had organised trade shows, I reckon he’d have designed a pretty good exhibition space and made sure people could get there. He might even have conceptualised something like the International Centre Telford.
Centrally sited in the UK’s Midlands, the venue is conveniently located, while the town has the history and pedigree to draw an engaged, relevant audience. Upon LEEA’s decision to relocate the show further south from Aberdeen—it was in Liverpool before that and moves around the country every year—we had no hesitation in taking exhibition space and further raising our profile through a sponsorship package.
It goes without saying that location of our exhibit is important, as is the design of the stand, staff and the product we will showcase. Despite the fact that there are still six months to go until showtime, we have held numerous meetings about LiftEx and already have our stand layout finalised. I think Mr. Telford—he went on to become the first president of the Institution of Civil Engineers—would be pleased with how we’re planning to attract visitors to the exhibit and the variety of below-the-hook equipment we’ll display. He’d have used similar products in his time, I’m sure.
We have another meeting with the marketing team in the diary where we’ll decide on graphics, literature and giveaways. When visitors arrive at the International Centre Telford it’ll be apparent who the exhibitors are, like us, who’ve spent months planning and the others who have thrown their stand together at the last minute. We have already started to engage with attendees through sponsorship and our stand will be among the most eye-catching and relevant at the event.
As the show’s marketing team says, LiftEx is the unmissable show for anyone who works within the lifting industry. Now in its 13th year, it features a packed exhibition floor, engaging and valuable conference content, as well as a dinner dance and plenty of opportunities to network with peers. Visitors will join over 1,000 industry professionals from a wide range of vertical markets, including rail; construction; renewable energy; civil engineering; entertainment; road and maritime transport; health and safety; utilities; and manufacturing.
What more could you ask for?
See you there!
North by northwest
Many members of the RSS community and readers of lifting equipment-related trade media will already know that we have recently opened our sixth UK facility in Warrington. I’m delighted to welcome Gerry Harper, regional manager for the northwest, to the company and look forward to working with him to get the operation up to speed before targeting more long-term goals.
Much was made, understandably, in media reports about the site’s proximity to Ainscough Crane Hire’s heavy lift depot in Leyland, Preston, just 20 or so miles north on the M6 motorway. After all, it was only six months ago that we were named preferred supplier of lifting and rigging equipment by the mobile and crawler crane rental company.
However, while it’s true that our newest site has been strategically positioned, and we’ll certainly be leveraging the inherent benefits that location provides, we haven’t set it up to be a satellite rigging loft for Ainscough. Our expansion plans—we want to have 10 facilities providing nationwide below-the-hook coverage—follow their own agenda and each depot works to grow a multifaceted client base, serving a variety of sectors.
As I alluded to in our press release about the Warrington opening, what the Ainscough relationship better demonstrates is the importance of location and proximity to customers. Despite the fact that we all reside on a relatively small island with world-class infrastructure and highways (to a large extent we have Thomas Telford to thank for that), the rental company still has 30 locations spanning the length of the UK. That’s how important it is to be on hand as requirements for crane and rigging solutions present themselves.
I’d urge any business in a phase of growth, particularly one looking to expand by opening up additional facilities, to be steadfast and flexible in equal measure. That sounds complicated but it’s only when a site is open that the challenges and opportunities come fully into the light. We’re still keeping our options open regarding possible expansion of our wire rope manufacturing capability to the northwest, for example.
(Currently, at headquarters, a 1,000t Sahm Splice hydraulic press produces 55t capacity, 64mm diameter slings, while 35t capacity, 52mm diameter slings are made by a smaller Talurit unit.)
A successful growth strategy can only be implemented if the company’s leaders are bifocal in managing the immediate challenges, whilst looking further down the road. I was already thinking about Warrington when we cut the ribbon at our Heathrow facility approximately one year ago and RSS senior management are already in dialogue about our seventh and eighth locations. We’ll remain on the lookout for potential regional managers as those plans advance. Watch this space!
At the turn of the year, we announced that we provided lifting and rigging equipment for the Mare Harbour upgrade project, part of a massive modernisation of the military infrastructure on the Falkland Islands, a British overseas territory off the coast of Argentina. In another example of what comes from delivering quality and value, we were recently rewarded with repeat business from civil engineering and maritime service provider VolkerBrooks, part of VolkerStevin, again for wire rope slings, web slings, round slings, shackles, hydraulics, chain slings and wire rope. More on that in another press release soon.
Thank you for reading—and keep engaging with us on Twitter at @RopeandSling #RopeandSling
Rope and Sling Specialists Ltd