Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘EDPA’

Well…. You Asked Me How I’m Doing!

January 2nd, 2015 10 COMMENTS
Shooting_from_the_Hip_low

Shooting from the Hip, Reid Sherwood

It’s Been a Roller Coaster Year

All in all, it was a great year because of the Classic Distributor Network. I won’t go into detail since Kevin will cover it in the 2014 State of the Company letter, but here is what I will say about my year.

First, you trusted us with your business and we appreciate that. Whether it was existing long-term distributors or newbies to the Classic Family, you sent us bigger projects and more orders. Overall, the price points were higher which made for a good year.

For me, it’s been a roller coaster year. I attended EXHIBITOR (every year now since 1989) where we launched several new products, including our On The Move Furniture line. It was three days of crazy. I never had an opportunity to walk the show floor. At EXHIBITOR, we were selected as finalists for the Portable/Modular Award. Quite an honor.

SKU1In May, Classic hosted the spring session of Shared Knowledge University. It was packed with distributors, sales associates, project managers and designers. It’s always a joy to show you our building, equipment, processes, and people. There were even some industry veterans at SKU with over 30 years of experience who gave their time and advice. Spring 2015 SKU is May 18-19. Please contact Jen or me to reserve your spot (Trust me. It fills fast).

The summer was anything but summer. It was far better than expected. From what you’ve told me, marketing money was free’d up that sat on hold for too long, which was a refreshing change. Fall continued the summer trend. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend SKU for reasons which I’ll explain in a moment.

As the year closed, I attended EDPA ACCESS in Palm Harbor, FL and sat through multiple sessions and visited with customers/friends. The best part was at the Gala where Classic Exhibits was awarded an Eddie for Exhibit Design Search. WHAT AN HONOR! It was a fitting way for us to end the year on a high note.

On a Personal Side

Many of you are aware that I had reconstructive back surgery in mid-September. The surgery left me grounded for the past four months. Thankfully, the plates, screws, and wedges put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

Reid SherwoodThanks to everyone who reached out via phone, email, text, or social media. Your concern was overwhelming. My wife and daughter (God bless them) monitored my Facebook and email while I was in surgery and recovery for six hours. When I was back in my room and coherent, they handed me my phone and said, “Here! You have a million friends and customers who have reached out to you and we can’t keep up.”

I am so very grateful. Eleven days in the hospital teaches you a lot. It teaches patience (I had none when I started and have less now). But it shows you who your friends are. The surgery was a huge success and other than healing, the pain is gone in my back.

I was working from a hospital bed and at one point after three pretty successful sales days in a row I said to Mel, “Maybe we are on to something here. Perhaps pity is the key to sales.” ;-)  I also want to thank Jen LaBruzza (my counterpart on the West Coast). Not only did she do double duty at SKU while I was in agony, but she also checked in with me several times a day. Mike Swartout (our creative director) and I exchanged Facebook messages about our pain meds. There was a point where we thought Jerry Garcia would have been jealous of our personal pharmacy.

I also want to mention Dave Brown and Gina Porcaro from Optima. I don’t want to get all gooey and mushy, but they are more than friends. They are family. Gina lives in Grand Rapids where I had the surgery and was kind enough to sit with Vicki and Jennifer while I was in surgery and recovery. In addition, they called and texted many times just to help me keep my head clear.

ExhibitorliveEDPA was a blast after 10 weeks of not seeing any customers. I told my wife on the way home from the airport how good I felt, but when I got home and laid down to go to bed, I kicked the covers back and the pain was searing. It was the same exact pain on the right side that the surgeon fixed on the left side. On a scale of 10, it was a 15. After a couple of appointments and some heavy steroid and anti-inflammatory meds, we decided to do an MRI. It looked fantastic. There was NOTHING on the right side that could be causing the pain. Then… the surgeon had X-rays taken and says, “Well, sir, your pain isn’t from your back. Both of your hips are shot. In fact, they look like they are from a 100-year-old arthritis patient, and your sacroiliac needs to be fused as well. Your right hip should be done today.”

Nothing can be done for another few weeks until the back surgery heals. Then, nerve block in January and again in April. My goal is to have the right side done and the sacroiliac fused at the same time after SKU, and the second one done right after the 4th of July. I WILL be at EXHIBITOR. I WILL be at SKU. But I will probably not travel much other than short driving trips until this is all fixed.

A Lesson Learned from All This

While at the surgeon’s office, there was a gentleman waiting in a wheel chair. He looked to be in his late 20s or early 30s. Both of his legs were gone just below his knees. I sat next to him and was in obvious pain. He asked me what was wrong, and I told him. I looked at him and said, “Looks like you were in a farm accident or something of that nature.” He said, “No, on my third tour of duty in Iraq, I was in a school area and someone threw a bomb/grenade towards us and near some children. I dove to get to it and it blew my legs off.” I was just shocked and after what seemed like an awkward silence, he said, “It’s OK. I would do it again in the same situation and so would you.” He went on to talk about his wife and kids and how they do everything just like normal.

So here is what I am leaving 2014 with and taking to 2015. Both business and personally, no matter how bad your situation, no matter how bad you think you have it, suck it up. There is always someone worse off. Quit your whining and go forward with what the Lord gave you.

Thanks for a great 2014 and a better 2015.

As the meds wear off,

Reid Sherwood
reid@classicexhibits.com


 

You Can’t Fix Stupid — Material Handling

August 20th, 2014 1 COMMENT
Special Handling Charges? Really!

Special Handling Charges? Really!

Rising Drayage and Material Handling Costs

If you are a fan of the comedian Ron White, you know his signature line, “You Can’t Fix Stupid.” I was reminded of this line three weeks ago while attending a material handling session by Amanda Helgemoe from NuVista and Sue Huff from Medtronic at the Red Diamond Congress in Chicago. The presentation was based on a 2013 study endorsed by the Exhibit and Event Marketers Association (E2MA) Advocacy Committee.

In short, it’s disturbing.

The presentation consists of 50 informative slides, mostly case studies between 1996 and 2007, and an analysis of rising, comparative costs. I won’t summarize the full presentation because:  a) the summary would be longer than the study, and b) You’re not stupid. You can read it and draw your own conclusions. That said . . . I strongly encourage you to devote 20-30 minutes to reviewing it. Secondly, you need to share your concerns, opinions, and solutions with industry associations and show management.

Finally, if you work directly with exhibitors regularly, you need to encourage them to speak to the associations sponsoring the trade shows. I believe, and I’m going to be a little naive here, that they don’t fully understand the ramifications of their no-cost contracts with the General Show Contractors or Show Management. Costs are rising, in particular drayage, at a rate that’s unsustainable to our industry. Whatever your political bent, the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and the foundational middle is crumbling in the trade show industry. This tainted concentration of power is doing what power always does – corrupts.

Advocacy_2

Some Highlights:

  1. Exhibitors are downsizing or cancelling programs, not because face-to-face marketing is ineffective, but because rising costs are squeezing their exhibit budgets.
  2. Exhibitors DO NOT KNOW 30% of their final costs headed into a show. No other marketing medium has the same cost uncertainty/surprises.
  3. Don’t blame labor. I&D costs have increased, but those costs pale in comparison to exclusive services such as material handling.
  4. At one show material handling increased 307% between 1997 and 2009. And there were two recessions during this time.
  5. Show Organizers are not doing their homework. There is often a wide variance in costs between similar shows in the same city within 6 months.
  6. Here’s how crazy it’s gotten (example): Drayage: $116.70/cwt, One crate = 1100 lbs., Drayage cost = $1,283.70, Associated GSC labor cost = 37 hours ($35.00/hour), NOW HOLD YOUR BREATH – That equals 1 person, working 4 ½ days for one crate.
  7. From 2009-2013, the Consumer Price Index increased 8.2%. General Contractor Labor Costs increased 12.56%. Drayage increased 121%.
  8. Material Handling has (purposely) gotten more opaque. In some situations, there are 24 material handling categories. Opacity makes it much harder for exhibitors to challenge drayage charges or make fiscally sound decisions when scheduling freight. This is not an accident.
  9. General Service Contractors are shifting costs to exhibitors who do not use them for non-exclusive services, resulting in uneven application of exclusive service charges. All too often, exhibitors are paying the drayage for the exhibitor right next to them when the GSC shifts expenses.
  10. Growing use of bundling by GSCs by offering discounts/rebates to win the entire corporate program, such as waiving material handling if client rents from the GSC. The EDPA and E2MA have gone on record as stating this practice (bundling) is unethical and anti-competitive.


The study proposes solutions beginning on slide 44, which I strongly encourage you to review. Those include Best Practices on slide 49. On a personal note, I cannot emphasize enough how much your voice matters to trade show industry associations, such as E2MA and EDPA. Let them hear from you. In addition, if you are an exhibitor, please voice your concerns directly with the association sponsoring the show and show management. I believe that associations do not understand how existing contracts undermine their ability to grow the shows they sponsor. Show management, however, does understand the impact of rising material handling costs, but (many) have not felt enough financial pain to recommend changes.

Thank you for your time, and I hope you share my passion and concern for our industry. Collectively, I believe we can fix stupid. We have no other choice.

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–Mel White
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
mel@classicexhibits.com

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Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.


 

RFP Certification Program: Word on the Street — April 7th thru April 11th

April 11th, 2014 2 COMMENTS

Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits

Happy Spring! Hope your first full week of April was a good one. We are as busy as ever at Classic and continue to be very thankful for all the new opportunities.

I wanted to take this week’s blog post to share what I think is one of the BEST PROGRAMS ever developed for the exhibit industry — RFP Certification. It’s proudly brought to you from the Exhibit Designers and Producer Association, an association that Classic Exhibits Inc. is a member and an association that I serve as a Board member.

EDPA RFP Certification Program

Gwen Hill from ExhibitForce and her team of dedicated committee members spent countless hours, days, and months developing a program to answer a “call to action” from the Corporate Exhibitor Community.

The EDPA RFP Certification program seeks to verify that certain items are in existence and that industry standards and best practices are met and adhered to, based on various benchmarks. Research conducted in 2012 with the assistance of Exhibit Surveys to Corporate Exhibitors proved there “was unanimous enthusiasm for the concept of an EDPA ‘Good Housekeeping Seal’ that would prescreen exhibit house vendors on the basis of business integrity and operational practices and capabilities. Such a certification would even be a consideration in RFP and RFQ processes.” In response, the EDPA RFP Certification Program has been developed!

EDPA members in good standing are eligible to apply for certification. If the criteria are satisfied, member companies are certified by IComply, a division of BPA Worldwide (all data submitted is kept CONFIDENTIAL). The certification provides written assurance that the company meets the standards and practices approved by the EDPA. To achieve certification, the member company submits formal documentation along with the application. Once a member receives the EDPA RFP Certification, renewal will be required annually to maintain their status in the EDPA RFP Certification Directory.

The EDPA RFP Certification assures others that the member company adheres to industry standards and best practices. If desired, prior to sending a RFP, corporations can access certified members through the EDPA RFP Certification Directory.

Benefits

So, what does this mean for you as Classic Distributor? As a manufacturer that DOES NOT sell direct to the Corporate Exhibitor (end users), Classic Exhibits would not qualify to be certified. But, Classic Exhibits Distributors do qualify as the direct sales entity serving the Corporate Exhibitor community. And here are some stats we’ve learned from the EDPA ACCESS meeting in December 2013 and the most recent EXHIBITOR 2014 meeting

  • Average cost for RFP response is $6,300
  • Average RFPs cost is $252,700
  • Wasted average is $42,962
  • Even RFIs cost $3,343
  • 29% of Fortune 500 clients require RFPs, and
  • 52% of procurement for Fortune 500 are part of selection process

Now, we have all been a part of the RFP process. We know that even the “least involved/complex” RFP processes still can involve providing the same information over and over throughout the year to many opportunities you are asked to bid on. The Certification Program solves that problem in large part. For members that qualify and achieve certification, that data about your company that the Corporate Exhibitor client is looking for is captured, culled, and vetted. Meaning that your Certification is your “Good Housekeeping Stamp of Approval” at the beginning of the process. Saving time for the Corporate Exhibitor as well. Providing them with the ability to KNOW that the clients bidding on their project/program already meet the core qualifications they are seeking. Therefore allowing everyone involved to fast-track the process essentially and get to the meaty stuff! Designing and bidding on the client’s desired project/program.

Another way to view this is to think about when, as a business manager or owner, you are asked by a client for terms within the accounting process. As a responsible business manager/owner, you would likely do the necessary credit check on the client’s business. And if that comes back good, then you grant them terms moving forward.

This is not too different from that. The EDPA RFP Certification assures the Corporate Exhibitor Client that a Distributor or Exhibit House is who they present themselves as, that they do in fact provide all the services they say do, and that they do in fact have locations at all the places they list on their website.

For many of you, I can imagine how powerful this could be for you and your business when going into a competitive bid situation, especially if you are coming to the table with your certification in hand when others may not have that level of pre-qualification. You would likely jump to the top of the list in the eyes of the potential client.

Having watched the program develop and seeing firsthand the level of detail, thought, and work put towards making this program what it is, I would strongly suggest that those distributors who frequently complete RFPs at least see if you qualify.

It will prove to be a significant leg up for you and your organization when being considered for new projects/programs in the future

Kudos again to Gwen Hill and her team putting this program together, one that I believe is a benefit to all of us in the Industry and certainly the clients we all proudly serve daily.

For more information, please contact Gwen Hill, EDPA VP of Education, by email at gwen.hill@exhibitforce.com or by phone at (713) 331-3325.

And…if you are not already an EDPA member, but are interested in learning more about EDPA. Call me anytime. I am happy to share with you why I think we need MORE distributors in the ranks of EDPA membership, and why I value Classic’s membership in EDPA so much.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend with your families.

Be well.

–Kevin
http://twitter.com/kevin_carty
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kevin-carty/3/800/32a


 

 

The EDPA Portable/Modular Summit: Word on the Street — March 3rd thru March 7th

March 8th, 2014 COMMENTS

News From the Trenches

Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits

Happy March. Ready for Las Vegas? Ready for EXHIBITOR Show 2014? It’s only one week away.

There’s one event/meeting I would strongly encourage you to attend — The Annual EDPA Portable/Modular Summit. This meeting will be held at EXHIBITOR on Tuesday, March 18 from 3:45 – 4:30 pm right on the show floor. It’s free. Just head towards the Food Service Area (far right of exhibit hall) and look for the sign leading you to the meeting.

Learn about new trends and continuing trends in Design, Manufacturing, and Sales for the Portable/Modular/Hybrid segment. Hear what your peers are saying regarding design and build trends in their markets. Are there opportunities you are missing? What is selling within the Portable/Modular/Hybrid System segment? And learn some key statistics from the recent annual EDPA Portable/Modular and Economic Survey that are shaping what we all do. Expect a few big surprises from the survey.

Join me for this informative update on what’s happening. Chris Lake from Highmark and I will be moderating the session which will include a panel of expert representatives from design, graphics, distribution, and manufacturers within our industry, including Cindi Cody, Jocelyn Wells, Maureen Borzachello, Anita Mitzel, and Greg Beach.

This will definitely be a “discussion” of peers and industry leaders — LIKE YOU. So please come and be a part of the talks.

The Portable/Modular Summit is free of charge. So mark it on your calendar and stay after show hours on Tuesday. That first beer/cocktail can wait 45 minutes. :)

For more information, click on this link:  http://www.edpa.com/files/2014/02/23522-EDPA-Portable-Sell-Sheet_2014.pdf.

Hope you all have a great weekend with your families. Be well.

–Kevin
http://twitter.com/kevin_carty
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kevin-carty/3/800/32a


 

We Need Your Help with a Testimonial

October 22nd, 2013 7 COMMENTS

We need your help. And it will only take a few minutes.

Every year at EDPA ACCESS, the annual conference and showcase, there’s an award program. One of those awards is the EDDIE Award, the only one open to submissions from both EDPA members and non-members.

EDPA EDDIE AWARD 

“The EDDIE Award is an award judged solely on the self-promotion of your company not on the promotion of a client.”

Here’s where you can help. We plan to submit Exhibit Design Search (EDS) for the award. We’ve written the submission but would like to enhance it with your testimonials. If you believe, as we do, that Exhibit Design Search has benefited your company and benefited Classic Exhibits, we would love to include your heartfelt testimonial. Nothing long . . . 3-4 sentences would be terrific.

Now, if you read the guidelines above, EDS may not at first glance seem to fit. After all, Classic Exhibits brands EDS for each distributor. You’re our client and it’s for your benefit. But let’s not kid ourselves. We brand it for our benefit as well, since we want your business to flow our direction. So, while it may not be “self-promotion” in the “See Me, See Me” sense, it’s still self-promotion.

If you are not shy, use the Comments section of the blog. If you are shy, send your testimonial to Mel White (mel@classicexhibits.com) — October 31 deadline. We have to submit it by Nov. 4.

Thank you very much! We sincerely appreciate it.

–Mel White
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
mel@classicexhibits.com