Austech 2017 ‘It’s a Wrap’

Austech 2017 ‘It’s a Wrap’

The team at Integra might be old hands when it comes to trade exhibitions (and we’ve got the callouses to prove it) but Austech – a biennial exhibition run by AMTIL for the advanced manufacturing and machine tools industry – was a first for our company. We did not know what to expect but we’re pleased to say we came away with some solid takeaways and a palpable sense of accomplishment.

“We felt it was important to actively engage with the public as much as possible.”

To get the most out of Austech 2017, we felt it was important to actively engage with the public as much as possible, which put us in good stead and proved to be our ‘secret exhibition weapon’. At the very least, we wanted to cement the Integra brands (both Integra Systems and Integra Transform) as serious design-led, advanced manufacturers and, while this is not an easily measurable outcome, it is still something we confidently feel we achieved.

Our TouchSmart kiosk systems and WorkSmart sit-stand workstations were drawcards but we made sure we also displayed a curated selection of the designed and manufactured solutions we have produced for our many clients over the years. This enabled us to tell a 360-degree story about our company, which was exceptionally helpful for those not familiar with Integra.

Telling our story over and over (and over) really enabled some of the younger designers at Integra who worked on the stand to gain a greater understanding of what we are about and how our customers perceive us. It was something of a trial-by-fire for them but they all jumped in feet-first, and we love them for that.

"The community aspect of Austech 2017 was awesome.”

The community aspect of Austech 2017 was awesome. We spent a lot of time visiting the stands of our customers and suppliers, as well as the stands of those around us, many of whom were very keen on our BioSmart units for their offices, electronic sit-stand solutions for their assembly lines, and also our kiosks for the ERP terminals in their factories.

Conversely, there was always somebody visiting our stand – from government representatives and industry groups to existing customers and suppliers to potential customers and students – which made ‘Stand 17’ a bit of a ‘go to’ destination with groups like the Australian Industry Defence Network (AIDN), Australian Manufacturing Technology Institute Limited (AMTIL) and Industry Capability Network (ICN). It felt like that gave us a lot of credibility in terms of referrals and like-minded discussions about opportunities.

The suppliers of the actuators used in our AeroSmart and BioSmart – Linak – were also exhibiting at Austech, and it was fortunate that we were able to feature their own products as working examples and, as a result, support sales. You could say we were Linak’s second stand at Austech. Linak’s Sales Engineer for Victoria and South Australia spent a lot of time bringing customers to us, as well as endorsing our product. As a direct result, we’re now talking to a potential new client about the purchase of over 300 BioSmart units.

“Our relationships with already established clients, were definitely cemented through our experiences at the exhibition.”

It’s easy to focus on making new connections at trade shows but an unanticipated outcome for us at Austech 2017 was the cementing of our relationships with established clients. It also really helped for bodies who have been great supporters in our journey, like AusIndustry and the Victorian Government, to see us participating and to see evidence of our progress, growth and bravery so they know their time and money over the years has been well-spent.

With the 2017 Victorian Manufacturing Hall of Fame Awards, we had the opportunity to invite guests which proved a nice excuse to don some fine threads on the Tuesday evening of Austech and mix with fellow manufacturers and our clients in a more relaxed setting. We were extremely excited when our client Sutton Tools won the Large Manufacturer of the Year Award, as well as being inducted into the Manufacturing Hall of Fame.

“Being able to bring together powerhouse clients was something that made us feel incredibly satisfied.”

Our larger clients were able to visit our stand and were invited to the AMTIL VIP drinks night, which allowed us to introduce them to others and allow for cross-pollination of opportunities, as well as the further establishment and cementing of relationships. This was incredibly satisfying for us.

Not only were our clients able to talk together but we also introduced them to many government and industry group representatives to help them gain traction in promoting the local content of their products. This collaboration and sense of ‘community and family’ is important to us and gave us a sense of pride.

“Exhibiting at Austech has been extremely valuable exercise and we would highly recommend it.”

Exhibiting at Austech has been an extremely valuable exercise and we would highly recommend it – not just from a direct sales point of view, although the sale of 300 BioSmart units would be a welcome bonus, but definitely from a brand strength and industry credibility viewpoint.

The thing is, you only get out what you put in to the exhibition. Unless you’re proactively engaging with people and piecing together those networks, either for yourself or for others, then you really won’t get the desired outcomes.

We approached Austech with an attitude of taking the initiative and being bold about it… And we think it is going to pay off.

Further information about our products and projects can be found at www.integrasystems.com.au

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Published in Blog
K2_WRITTEN_ON May 18 2017
Written by Erika Hughes