....a load off my mind!

It’s amazing what can be achieved with a vacuum cleaner …

Optimism Fuelled by First Trade Event of 2015

It’s amazing what can be achieved with a vacuum cleaner and a cold beverage, as proved during setup for the Topsides, Platforms & Hulls Conference & Exhibition, which took place in Galveston, Texas earlier this month (February).

Trade shows and conferences are hard work but the rewards can be great. For visitors, trade events start as the doors open but as exhibitors we often find ourselves onsite hours, sometimes days, earlier to setup. I have a huge amount of respect for companies who market themselves at these events given the scale of the time and economic investment involved.

At very large companies it is common for the top brass to arrive only as the doors to the event open, leaving setup to marketing teams and other staff, but John Molidor, the general manager of Straightpoint’s stateside operation, and I are hands-on throughout the process and we always like to have the stand just right.

No job too small for Mr Loadlink

No job too small for Mr Loadlink

We try to give ourselves the best possible chance of success by making the stand look as appealing and eye-catching as possible. That’s why our exhibition kit includes a vacuum cleaner that John kindly caught me using on camera! Seriously though, attention to detail and even the way you appear on your stand can make you seem more approachable, which is very important at any event, especially one like Topsides where end users from the lucrative oil and gas industry roam the aisles.

We knew Topsides would present a unique opportunity to interact with end users who apply equipment to the design, engineering, construction, transportation, installation, and modification of topside structures, platforms and hulls, so setup was as important as ever.
Whatever the demographic, it’s possible to get a sense for how an event might unfold even as early as setting up the stand. If you turn up at the designated time and fellow exhibitors are downbeat and unenthused about creating a visual representation of their products and services to capture the imaginations of attendees and delegates, or organisers have poorly filed paperwork and reluctantly engage with their sponsorsand supporters, it’s a good indicator that the event might not go off with a bang.

John and I were thrilled with the leads we received and quickly signed up to exhibit again next year where we will no doubt catch up with our new friends and generate lots more interest in the product range.

 

Galveston is a coastal city that reminded me a lot of Portsmouth near where I live and I look forward to returning in 2016 when the event takes place 9-11 February at the Moody Gardens Hotel & Convention Center. The seafood was also outstanding!

Topsides setup

John and I pause for breath during Topsides, Platforms & Hulls Conference & Exhibition setup.

Assembling a trade show stand is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

Assembling a trade show stand is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

The Straightpoint booth finally ready for the doors to open at the Topsides, Platforms & Hulls Conference & Exhibition.

The Straightpoint booth finally ready for the doors to open at the Topsides, Platforms & Hulls Conference & Exhibition.

New catalogue coming soon

While we all keep in touch when we’re travelling, it is always exciting to return to the office to see the great work that has been taking place while I’ve been away. It’s been all hands to the pump at Havant headquarters to prepare for the launch of our new catalogue, which will be released on 1 April and represents one of the most significant milestones in Straightpoint’s history.

We generally release a catalogue every year outlining modifications and improvements to equipment but the latest edition is generating unprecedented interest from our distributor network as it contains the details of a number of brand new products and innovations, including our new wireless handheld display. I don’t want to say much more than that in case it spoils the surprise!

The production process started a long time ago in our engineering department where the new products were tested and specifications outlined for each load cell or shackle, for example. Then the marketing team took it on to provide the written content and package the information in a way that it can be digested by our distributors and end users. Our talented marketing team highlight key product features so information about certain shackles dovetails with corresponding load cells to relate them to the variety of applications in which they will be used in the field.

Once we are happy with the content it will go through a design process so we have a working draft. Even then it will be dragged through the mangle an additional three or four times to make it as comprehensive as possible. We often get requests from dealers to top-up their supply of catalogues throughout the year so it is vitally important that we get it as close to perfect as possible.

I’m hugely excited about starting Q2 with the launch of the catalogue, especially as it is probably one of the most significant pieces of supporting literature that the company has ever produced. It will be converted into a PDF so customers can access the information digitally. Then we start the process again by adapting it to fit American A4 and convert it to imperial measurements. I know John and his team are relishing the prospect of distributing it to their stateside contacts.

It’s been a privilege to share the highlights of another busy, challenging and exciting month at Straightpoint. I hope you enjoyed reading.

Cheers!
Mr Loadlink

Start as you mean to go on …

Welcome to the first Mr Loadlink blog of 2015!

Unlike a lot of companies where communication with customers, partners and industry fades away as they become distracted by the day-to-day demands of the business, Straightpoint remains committed to keeping you informed, educated and entertained through content, tailored for our variety of audiences across the world.

Content and marketing messages are key components of our growth strategy and the busier we get (and we’re busy!) and the faster we grow, the more communicative we will become.

I’m somewhat unique as a lifting equipment leader in that I head this content campaign myself. As you may have read in the press release we circulated recently about the relaunch of the Mr Loadlink blog, I embrace communications and content marketing whole-heartedly and feel it is important that I have a voice as the company leader on social media and other platforms. Keeping in touch gives us a business advantage and this blog is very much part of that ongoing engagement.

Make sure you’re also following me on Twitter at @LoadCell where I post more bite-size pearls of wisdom!

This clarity of communication and ethos of transparency is prevalent throughout the business and is certainly a key part of our annual strategy meetings that take place at the start of every year. My first working days of 2015 were spent at Havant, UK headquarters committing the business to a plan for the next 12 months or so. Everyone was made aware of the goals and is clear what is expected of them and the tools the business will provide them to be successful.

Welcome to Hayley and Debra
We also introduced Hayley Willis, who started in purchasing; and Debra Young, who joined our sales order processing team, to the Havant operation in the New Year. Welcoming new staff always gives me a great deal of satisfaction; the requirement for more people is a yardstick by which to measure our ongoing expansion. It is important to me that they feel part of the team and it was great to see how well and quickly they fitted in.

Across the pond
On 12 January I boarded my first flight of the year to North America where we duplicated much of this planning but outlined the targets, challenges and opportunities specifically for the Camarillo, California-based subsidiary. John Molidor, the general manager of the stateside operation, Jenifer Wolfe, Johnnny Gonzalez and I had a series of hugely rewarding meetings about our goals for a business that we have earmarked for 20-30% annual growth over the next five years. We can only achieve that with a robust business plan in place.

I’ll remain in the states for another week or so. We are excited to make a debut appearance at the Topsides, Platforms & Hulls Conference & Exhibition at Moody Gardens Hotel & Convention Center in Galveston, Texas, on 3-5 February. There, we hope to see end users who apply our equipment to the design, engineering, construction, transportation, installation, and modification of topside structures, platforms and hulls. I’ll report back in my next blog. www.topsidesevent.com

mr-loadlink

Dwarfed by two great pictures is me preparing our stand for Topsides in Texas! Images are a vital part of our marketing materials particularly at trade shows. I encourage anyone who uses our equipment to send us pictures; we’re always keen to include them in our own marketing campaigns and it’s great PR for your company too. Send them to Tanya in the UK office: tgregory@straightpoint.com

Memorable moment
January was a special month for another reason as my parents joined me for part of the stateside trip on their first visit to the USA. We showed them around the Camarillo facility before driving down the coastal road to San Francisco. They spent six days with us and were completely captivated by a beautiful country where the hospitality and customer service never fails to impress even frequent visitors like myself. The picture of my parents with the team in Camarillo captures a particularly memorable moment.

Mr-Loadlink-and-his-parents

Pictured here (left to right) is me; John; mum, Linda; Jenifer; Johnny; and dad, Peter. My parents are very proud of what I have achieved with the business and found the facility to be much bigger than they expected. They spent some time chatting with the team and thought they were a great bunch.

It’s been a pleasure to pause, albeit briefly, to wrap up a few highlights from the first month of the year. Work continues on our new catalogue which will unveil several new products when it is published in April. Further details about that and much more in the next Mr Loadlink blog in February.

I look forward to catching up with you somewhere in the world soon.

Cheers!
Mr Loadlink
Mr Loadlink is Straightpoint director David Ayling