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Make ConExpo-Con/Agg work for you

By |  February 14, 2017
Photo courtesy of AEM

Photo courtesy of AEM

We are rapidly approaching another ConExpo-Con/Agg.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not headed to Las Vegas for the overpriced Kobe beef or to set a record on my Fitbit. ConExpo-Con/Agg has so much to offer, but trying to figure out how to best to spend your time can feel like drinking from a fire hydrant.

When one factors in the cost of travel, lodging, entertainment and time away from our regular lives, the cost to attend and participate is significant. We owe it to ourselves – and to the organizations we represent – to make the most out of the experience and maximize their investment in us.

An approach to consider
One of the pillars of ConExpo-Con/Agg is that it is where many manufacturers launch their newest innovations. Although it is easy to cruise through this mammoth event, keep in mind that many innovations are not always visible to the naked eye.

For example, as it pertains to portable or track plants, a new product on display may appear to be similar to an older design. But some innovations may include groundbreaking innovations “under the hood” that could open up new possibilities for your business.

So consider selectively mapping out the booths that interest you. Rather than walking 80 percent of the show in two days, consider focusing on the 20 percent that really pertains to you. Slow down and take the time to really absorb the new products and speak with booth representatives.

One unique characteristic of ConExpo-Con/Agg is that representatives from virtually every level of the exhibiting companies are in attendance, including factory representatives. It is common to see senior management, sales, product support and engineering personnel from any given company all standing within 100 ft. of each other.

They are not all there to sell machinery. ConExpo-Con/Agg is the perfect forum for suppliers to catch up with industry partners, end users and others all in one week. Their real motives are for engineers and product developers to get your feedback on new products. Company leaders want to assess your confidence level in their perceived business horizon. Product support people want to learn how they can improve.

Of course, sales reps are always happy to sell you something.

Other show benefits
How else can the show benefit your business? Surely something can be learned from every attendee. Just about everyone in attendance brings a wealth of knowledge that is available to us – and for free.

I love our industry because most people are willing and eager to sit down to discuss your challenges. If you’re looking for ways to reduce operating costs, relieve a bottleneck, improve your plant efficiencies or, perhaps, look for ways to build a stronger, safer workforce, bring those challenges with you to ConExpo-Con/Agg and be ready to discuss them.

In addition, ConExpo-Con/Agg offers an education component that rivals anything else in our industry. Classes on safety, workforce management, processing innovations and techniques, and equipment fleet management are just some of the classes on the agenda.

Then, of course, there’s the networking. Many suppliers host some sort of a VIP event. These suppliers want you to take advantage of their hospitality. The trade-off is that your attendance gives them another opportunity to learn about your business and get a feel for your perception of market conditions. Industry organizations also provide networking opportunities – many of which include impressive speaker lineups.

Some of my strongest and most valuable allies outside of my company are people I forged relationships with during gatherings like these. Who knows, you might even meet some great people that will end up being valuable resources or lifelong friends.

Of course, once the workday is over, the sights and sounds of Las Vegas can provide a few more ways to enjoy time away from your routine. My mantra is to “stay in the moment” and take in the show. I am one of the fortunate people chosen to be at this event. I will have a full week to see the new products and talk to the great people of our industry.

Who knows, I may even set a record on my Fitbit.

Paul Smith is international marketing manager for Astec’s Aggregate and Mining Group. He can be reached at psmith@astecindustries.com.

About the Author:

Darren Constantino is an editor of Pit & Quarry magazine. He can be reached at dconstantino@northcoastmedia.net.

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