The spirit of collaboration and the return of LiftEx as we know it, feature as Mr Loadlink blogs again.
I am a regular visitor to Goodwood Racecourse. There’s something therapeutic about the unmistakable thud of hooves striking the turf as horses approach the winning post, whether you’ve backed the winner or not! More importantly, the course, set in the picturesque South Downs in West Sussex, is a fantastic backdrop for networking.
Such was the case during the autumn season finale earlier this month when horses thundered past our enclosure with the reds and oranges of the season making the scene even more spectacular. A number of horses were wearing blinkers to limit their peripheral vision. Use is typically governed by temperament and a horse’s ability to avoid distraction. I’m no equestrian expert, I’m sure it works a treat but it’s amazing how many people take the same approach in business.
We’ve got a room marked Top Secret at Hampshire headquarters (not far from Goodwood), as any good business should have, but it’s reserved only for ideas and concepts the leaking of which would have a seriously detrimental impact on the business. In the main, I champion the theory of abundance and am passionate about the spirit of collaboration. To some extent we’re in a race, but I like to know exactly what’s going on around me and work with as many people as possible to navigate the rolling hills as each furlong throws at us its challenges and opportunities.
Lunch with a peer
The first appointment in my diary this quarter was a meeting with Sarah Spivey, who is managing director of spreader beam manufacturer Modulift. As many readers of this blog know, we’re both UK-based manufacturers of premium, market-leading technologies and, as I’ve said before, I find the relationship between the two businesses personally and professionally satisfying. I keep in regular contact with Sarah and we frequently meet up.
As our latest meeting proved, it’s of constant value to build such relationships, share stories and explore avenues of mutual opportunity. Sarah and I share many of the same connections in industry and our products are distributed around the world by a number of the same dealers. It’s amazing how often I’ve travelled by plane, train, automobile and even packhorse, to arrive at a facility in the middle of nowhere to find she has penned her name in the visitors book only a day or two earlier. Similarly, we attend many of the same shows and trade events.
Diversification and people were the key takeaways from this latest summit. It’s fascinating how a product designed for one purpose, like a load cell, can be applied to a myriad of applications. As the oil and gas market continues to face challenges, regular readers will know how keen I am to explore new areas such as the entertainment sector, for example. Rest assured, I will be building as many relationships as I can as I tread the boards with increasing regularity.
I’d urge anyone in business to take the blinkers off and embrace such collaboration. It’s a myth in most sectors that secrecy is the key to success. I’d certainly be a poorer business leader and Straightpoint’s growth more laboured if I hadn’t reached out a hand of friendship and engaged my peers in such conversations. It’s not as cynical as quid pro quo but you do get out what you put in.
A rising tide lifts all boats
A few days after my meeting with Sarah I boarded a flight to Abu Dhabi to leverage another collaboration that has been hugely rewarding. Our partners Rigmarine were exhibiting at the Seatrade Offshore Marine & Workboats show and it was opportune to have a presence on their stand to stage the Middle East launch of our new product for measuring tension on lines—the Running Line Dynamometer (or TIMH).
The product, part of the tension in motion range, is built with dockside, marine, offshore, towage and salvage applications in mind and represented a perfect fit for the show’s audience, who dwindled somewhat in number from previous years but the quality was very high and we received some excellent enquiries. Quality trumps quantity every time when measuring trade show footfall.
I expect Rigmarine to generate ongoing interest in the TIMH, aided by their new calibration facility. The return on their investment in the calibrator will be two-fold in that they can welcome business for calibration services but, more importantly, they can provide the service to a local marketplace, thus, generating greater interest and ultimately sales. I enjoy working with such an ambitious, forward-thinking company.
Back in Europe, I attended the Offshore Energy Exhibition & Conference in Amsterdam with our marketing manager Tanya Gregory. The event has been on our radar for a while but I wanted to walk the aisles before committing to exhibition space in future. It’s the only way to get a real sense of the footfall and assess how fellow lifting and below-the-hook equipment suppliers are presenting themselves to the audience. Tanya more commonly pulls the marketing strings from headquarters so it was opportune for her to absorb a trade fair first hand.
The show also presented an opportunity to visit our Dutch distributor, Van Gool, who, like Rigmarine, is among our top partners. We typically spend time with Pieter van Duijn, commercial director, but he was at a prior engagement so we met with Timo de Bree from the sales department, who was a great host and facilitated a productive meeting. We’re back in Holland for the Europort show next week (3-6 November) where Pieter will meet Jessi Hill from headquarters, who is his primary point of contact.
Exploding onto the scene
The following week, we’ll be in Liverpool for the return of LEEA’s LiftEx show to its standalone two-day format. Now in its 11th year, and following an experimental co-location with a London-based safety event in 2014, it feels like this is the most eagerly anticipated staging of the show ever. Furthermore, we will show two new innovations, including the ATEX and IECEx version of our most popular product—the Radiolink Plus wireless load cell. We will also show our new towing device—Towcell®—for road going vehicles, which displays wirelessly the force being towed.
We already have lifting professionals from Malaysia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and Europe committed to visiting Stand 18 and I know they’re also looking forward to spending some time in Liverpool, which is a great venue city.
Readers of our newsletter will have already met our new apprentice, Zoe Silk, who continues to embrace the education we are able to offer as a force measurement, load monitoring and suspended weighing load cell manufacturer. Zoe is taking a BTEC National Diploma in Business Administration with PETA (formerly known as Portsmouth Engineering Training Association) and her understanding of the role of apprenticeships and the value such a scheme adds to a young adult is an inspiration to anyone approaching the end of education and looking to make their first big career decision.
Such is the volume of trade shows and events we attend at this time of year, even as I close this blog, John Molidor, the general manager of Straightpoint Inc., and Aaron Orsak, technical sales engineer, have sent me pictures of our stand at the Louisiana Gulf Coast Oil Exposition (LAGCOE) in Lafayette, Louisiana.
To keep up with our team across the world, follow us on Twitter—@LoadCell—and use the hashtags #loadcell and #belowthehook.
Thank you for reading!