Interclean 2018 - Caledonia Washroom Services
Iain Stewart discusses the upcoming Interclean 2018 and gives some tips to surviving a large trade show.
Interclean, trade show, Amsterdam
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exhibition

Interclean 2018

The greatest (cleaning) show on earth!

I’m off to Amsterdam to visit Interclean 2018.  It is the biggest show of its type in the world and will have over 800 exhibitors from all over the planet showing their wares.

There are several reasons why I go to this show.

Existing suppliers

Nearly every one of my current suppliers will be at the show either exhibiting or at least attending.  Especially important for my European suppliers based in France, Netherlands and Belgium who I have all met through previous shows and will be exhibiting this year all under the one roof.  With the impending Brexit situation there will be plenty to discuss!  Most of my UK suppliers will be there too so a great chance to catch up with the industry gossip and see what’s new to market.

New suppliers

Some I am looking for – I am desperate for a new Nappy Bin supplier for example – and some I might not yet be aware of.  It won’t be the first time I have stumbled over a product or a company that I think can add value to our business here in Scotland.

Market Trends

I like to guess what they will be and this year I think there will be a lot more diversification of systems to be more inclusive. Those groups of clients that may have more specific requirements, blind, deaf, autistic, children, elderly, are all groups that ‘standard’ equipment isn’t quite suitable for and needs adapted for their needs. I also think that this will be the year of Copper, specifically moving away from chrome or stainless steel to more refined effect finishes such as copper, antique brass etc.

Innovation

This is a big part of the show and covers all categories so it could be software related, technical, environmental or just great design but I am sure that there will be something that catches my eye if maybe not the judges. A big shout out to previous innovative products such as the banana cone (a safety warning cone made like a banana skin), Urinal goals and Oxygen Air dispensers to name a few from recent years.

Networking

I have been in the hygiene industry for 16 years now.  It would be impossible to do business with everyone I have met over this time. There are, admittedly, a few folk I will walk a mile the wrong way round the hall to avoid but equally there are some amazing and well connected individuals who I have had the privilege to meet previously.  Some contacts move on to new companies, ex-colleagues and associates get promoted and transferred.  Some ‘friends’ are now running multi million pound international businesses and some have left the corporate multi million pound business to start up their own business and one or two have sold up and retired, but you never quite know who you will bump into and who they may introduce you to so the networking is key.

Amsterdam

There is a seedy side to Amsterdam but away from that it is a great place with plenty of great bars and restaurants to meet up with clients, suppliers or peers.  At this time of the year it is usually quite a bit warmer than Scotland so it is nice to see some sun.  Apparently there are plenty great shopping malls, museums and places of interest but I have yet to find any of them with only 2 full days at the show there is a lot to get done.  Maybe one year I will be able to stay on a day or two longer and take in some of the sites.

I will be posting videos from the show especially of new innovations or items that are especially well designed so watch this space.

My top tips for making an exhibition an enjoyable one

  • Plan in plenty of time – set up an itinerary and print off all transport and booking documents well in advance.
  • Flights and trains are notoriously unreliable. So don’t plan anything the first couple of hours and if you get there late in the day use the time to get your bearing and take in the show.  Target the halls that are more specific to your needs.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, very few of us are used to walking or being on our feet for 6-7 hours a day: it hurts!
  • If you have a few days planned then make appointments for the first hour of the morning and again in the afternoon, this helps keep focus on seeing the people you HAVE to see and what needs to be done, it is easy to lose track of time at a big show.
  • Never plan back to back meetings – it takes time to get to different locations if your meeting finishes early any extra time allows you to pop onto a stand that has something interesting to display or demonstrate.
  • Drink lots of water, keep hydrated. Especially important if you have been networking the night before.
  • Plan a breakfast meeting if you can either at your hotel or at a coffee shop within the exhibition centre – why wait until the doors open at 10?
  • Install a CardCam app onto your phone and scan contacts you want to keep – finding a business card in a bag full of paper can be problematic
  • Take notes. You cannot remember everything.  After every meeting take 5 minutes to jot down a few snippets of info or action points.
  • When heading home allow for plenty time to get through unfamiliar transport systems or better still book a taxi to get you to the airport or station. Hassle free and usually you can squeeze an extra hour at the show.
  • Don’t forget to get your loved ones a present at the airport a new loo brush may not go down to well!
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