In the second of a two-part finale to 2018, Mr. Loadlink remains confident that we could be at the dawn of an exciting new era.

Remember where we left off; we were talking about the inaugural Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) Awards, which took place after the first day of LiftEx. We’d also discussed a bumper show, generally. Allow me to continue…

It was a privilege to listen to celebrity guest speaker Matt Dawson, a retired England rugby union player and now a familiar face on UK television, who hosted the gala evening. His presence also gave the occasion gravitas—and we should be raising up our sector. There’s a point to my gushing praise of the night, far beyond a bit of trumpet blowing, in that even our mere association with the event enhanced our reputation as a business. Being shortlisted beefed us up some more, and claiming a piece of silverware was the icing on the cake. Not all awards do that, as I’ll explain.

Matt Dawson’s appearance raised the profile of the LEEA Awards evening.

Matt Dawson’s appearance raised the profile of the LEEA Awards evening.

To some extent that cake was baked a few weeks earlier when our Bluetooth-enabled Radiolink plus load cell and accompanying HHP app were named Lifting Product of the Year at the largest Speedy Expo ever, which took place at the Exhibition Centre Liverpool as November dawned. And it’s in the high profile of both that event and the LEEA extravaganza sits a key point. Business awards are aplenty, but not all of them carry the same weight. Where they control their own entries, I encourage companies to only enter awards when involvement alone inflates a reputation.

Fool’s gold

We’re proud of our burgeoning trophy cabinet but like so much in business, it’s about quality not quantity. We don’t want to be known for attending the opening of an envelope. By that I mean there are firms out there who enter every award going, no matter the relevance or stature, just to brag about another ‘title’. They’ll do anything to feature in their local newspaper and would happily pay for favour and recognition. The LEEA and Speedy awards are different, as Paul Fulcher, director at Rigging Services, and chairman of the association, kindly said in a recent SP media announcement:

“I had two reasons for offering my congratulations to David [Mr. Loadlink] and SP—one with my company hat on and the other as a representative of the association. The integrity of the awards must be absolute. Beyond that, with regards to the Safety Award, it can’t be subjective; there are objective measurements. A single nominee wouldn’t guarantee a winner, nor would the judges have bestowed the honour upon the best of a bad bunch. Thus, it must have been the opinion of the panel [comprising senior LEEA management and honorary life members] that SP were truly deserving—and that warrants sincere commendation.”

Thank you, Paul!

I don’t want to get sidetracked by our methodology behind the entry process of awards but needless to say a meaningful application will go further with judges than something lightweight. Phil Roch, marketing executive, did a fantastic job with our recent submissions and we owe much of our success to him. Cutting and pasting from the ‘awards entry’ document on file isn’t a viable shortcut. Someone once told me, entering awards is like writing an exam paper; constantly refer back to the question or criteria—and that stuck with me. It doesn’t guarantee success, at least not when the award is authentic, but it certainly helps separate the wheat from the chaff.

Here I am with (left to right) Dr. Ross Moloney, CEO at LEEA; Doug Price, technical manager at Rigging Services; and Matt Dawson upon collection of silverware at the LEEA Awards evening.

Here I am with (left to right) Dr. Ross Moloney, CEO at LEEA; Doug Price, technical manager at Rigging Services; and Matt Dawson upon collection of silverware at the LEEA Awards evening.

Turning a corner

Recognition from Speedy for our Bluetooth capability was fitting given that uptake of that technology in particular will be a standout memory of 2018 for me. Just as it was apparent that younger people and women are more prevalent throughout our sector now, the industry is also becoming more technologically minded and ambitious. It remains a traditional marketplace—the pyramids were assembled using many lifting and rigging techniques we still employ today—but our supply chain is definitely more receptive to state-of-the-art products versus the time when, say, LiftEx was inaugurated 14 or so years ago.

Given the extent of the tradition that many hold so dear, I doff my cap to the market for taking such bold steps. I hope that doesn’t sound patronising. It’s proof that even the most old school of industries can embrace technology and find a happy medium. The benefits of load cells that use wireless technology for exchanging data over short distances to communicate with up to eight devices, carrying the information up to 100m (328 ft.) away, are undeniable. Yet, uptake of such solutions is rarely immediate, particularly in long established spaces.

Some said I was a bit ‘bah humbug’ in conclusion of my previous blog but now with the season of goodwill closer in our sights, I’ll happily take an opportunity to wish everyone who celebrates it a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Big plans for 2019 are already afoot here at SP.

Thank you for reading Part Two. You can revisit the first installment below.

Mr. Loadlink

My favourite photo from LiftEx 2018.

My favourite photo from LiftEx 2018.