In response to my most recent post regarding Fastener Fair 2018, John Butler asked the question, “Will this show decrease the attendee numbers for Vegas”? Interesting question, and one I am sure has been thought about by more than just a few individuals. John’s comment was timely in that I was just thinking about the show in Vegas. In fact, I just spoke with Morgan Wilson of Emerald Expositions checking in and asking a few questions about this year’s Vegas show. Even before John posted his question, I had a lot of thoughts on this and related topics.
When I was asking Morgan about the Vegas Show, it occurred to me that there are several other events or shows I will be attending before that show. Of course, I will be attending the 10th annual Distributor Social on May 17, held by the North Coast Fastener Association. Always a great night! Then I will be traveling to Chicago in June to attend the MWFA Table Top show, followed by the NFDA ESPS meeting. And while that does fill up a few weeks in my schedule, it got me thinking about all the other fastener association events that different individuals are attending.
Right after Fastener Fair, a lot of people headed out to Arizona for the Pac-West meeting. Next, I believe SEFA has a conference starting on Tuesday in Alabama. After that, grab a plane over to Dallas to attend the Southwestern Fastener Association Conference & Expo on May 2-4. As previously mentioned, the NCFA has the Distributor Social on May 17 (which happens to be the same day as MAFDA’s spring Golf Outing). If you plan to attend that and then also golf in the Pac-West golf outing you will need to take an overnight jet as the golf outing takes place on May 18. Quick trip back home to do laundry before you need to fly back to Chicago for the Mid-West Fastener Association Table Top and NFDA ESPS meetings. And just so you know, if you plan to go to the New England Fastener Distributors Association Scholarship Golf Outing you have a scheduling conflict because, according to their website, the golf outing is on June 7. Just so you know! After that, you might catch a break until you make your way to Montana on August 9 for the Pac-West Fall Conference (which happens before their Fall Dinner Meeting & Vendor Showcase on September 11 in CA). Need to pencil in a quick trip out east to attend the MFDA’s Golf Outing on September 17.
Now, if this were 2019 (and that’s a big IF) you’d be bumping up against the Vegas Show, because in 2019 it will start on September 17. But, it’s 2018 so you’ve got another month before you need to think about that. Not sure what other fastener association events are going on in October before the Fastener Show. I’m certain that I missed a few but I’m done googling all the fastener association websites to look. There should be one central clearing house for all of this. John Wolz of Global Fastener News does a good job and there might be others too. The Fastener Industry Coalition website is pretty good but it is up to each association to turn in their events in order for it to get on the site. Would be nice to see it all in one place.
So, here’s a nagging question – how on God’s green earth does a national sales manager even attempt to get to all (or many) of these events? It’d be a full time job! How much time would you have left to actually visit customers who do not also attend these events? Never mind if your company is a STAFDA member or has other niche shows to attend for specific industries. Throw in your Fastenal Show, a Grainger event or an open house for one of the large national multi-location fastener distributors. Brass fittings guys have several other shows they must attend. Wire Rope hardware guys have to go to AWRF. There are a lot of shows!
And, of course, none of this takes into account travel plans for those people who attend shows in Taiwan or Stuttgart. Don’t forget to leave some time to take advantage of the variety of fastener training events offered by the Fastener Training Institute or other associations.
At some point there will need to be greater cooperation between all the groups that throw these events. Business has been good the last few years and that always seems to boost trade show & golf outing attendance. Business is cyclical and if the economy slows down in the next few years I think some of these events will not be well attended. Maybe we will see some consolidation or maybe some groups will just offer less events.
As a member of the fastener industry, if you are in a position to write off business travel you certainly have a lot of cool places you can travel. On Facebook & Twitter, I see a lot of the same individuals who either get to attend a lot of these meetings and shows or are expected to do so as part of their job. In either case, that’s a lot of frequent flyer miles & hotel points! Still, I’m betting there are a lot of individuals who would vote for a few less events and a little more pooling of resources.