It has been a while since the Alihankinta 2016 trade fair. We have been very busy since then, as we are collecting feedback from many different directions. The goal is to get a good overview of the event that will help us in setting out the goals and guidelines for the Alihankinta 2017 trade fair. So there’s plenty to do, even if we remain quiet in public for a while.

First, the acknowledgements.

The success of the 2016 fair makes it a pleasure to thank all the fair visitors, exhibitors, and partners. However, special thanks go to those who had the courage to first set the entire event up nearly 30 years ago. In 1988, the fair was quite different, although meeting others was still the key.

Thank you also for all the feedback and the hundreds of development suggestions we have received, including about parking, restaurant services, visitor cards and cleanliness.

For the Alihankinta 2016 fair, we received the best-ever assessment from visitors and exhibitors alike. But the work has just begun, and there’s much room for improvement. And these improvements will be a joy to implement given the great feedback we’ve received. I believe that this generous praise and development suggestions shows that the visitors and exhibitors truly find this event meaningful.

What made Alihankinta 2016 such a success?

Self-criticism can be useful even when things go well. This is why we here at Tampere Trade Fairs have in recent weeks given serious thought to the reasons behind our record-breaking number of visitors and the success of the event. The main wish is that the record-breaking number of 18,422 visitors would predict that industrial operations in Finland are picking up. This is not just optimism due to the event producer’s line of work. Several conversations during the trade fair week and afterwards support this view.

A successful event always requires three things:

  1. Fair visitors with a real desire to keep up to date with what’s happening in the field, look for new solutions, ideas and operational methods for developing the business, and, naturally, meet old and new partners for cooperation and continued progress.
  2. Exhibitors who believe that face-to-face meetings bring added value to customer relationships and to the development of their own operations. This demands resources, i.e. time and money.
  3. A fair organiser who knows what makes for a successful event, and what visitors and exhibitors want from each other.

Whatever success is possible comes from combining these three factors in some way. What do you feel was the biggest reason for the success of the trade fair?

Innovation is a choice.

This year we tried several new things, including the startup event AlihankintaHEAT and Videokiosk. Not all innovations work out. Implementation can be lacking, or perhaps the world is just not ready yet for all the new changes. But the culture of experimentation must be maintained. We can’t afford to stand still, imagining that our service product called Alihankinta trade fair is now complete. In September 2017, we face another moment of truth. We now have the chance of reclaiming our position as the number one event in the Finnish industrial sector. For this reason, we hope to receive feedback of all the experiments. It is only through feedback that we can judge what is necessary to our operations, and what is not.

Partner Network: theme of Alihankinta 2017

Partnership is the key to success, both to us and others. We cannot succeed in this world alone. Partner Network was chosen as next year’s theme. For me, this whole idea has really opened up through different conversations during the last year. In main contractor and subcontractor relationships, creating and developing a reliable partnership is becoming more and more important. Why is that? The main contractor is responsible for the end product or service. But competent, specialised subcontractors are increasingly included in the product development process. For the main contractor, it is fantastic when the subcontractors are constantly sending in development suggestions: ”Hey, they are really thinking about our problems and what could be improved, and really are looking for solutions!” The demands of product development are so challenging that we need fresh ideas and creative thinking. These are things that partnerships at their best provide.

For a subcontractor, a partner network is a question of livelihood. Trust in your partner must be strong, even when times are tough. Complaints are easier to manage if there is mutual trust. It makes apologising and forgiveness easier, and fosters progress. We will build next year’s programme around this Partner Network theme. A high-quality programme is essential to a successful trade fair event. For this we need good partners to share their experiences of partner networks. What should be brought up? Who should be interviewed, what should be discussed? Contact us and make a suggestion!

On the death of trade fairs…

Premature, I would say. I believe that face-to-face meetings are important to us when we are looking for new innovations, improving our product or service, or looking for peer support in the challenges of business life. So far I have not met many people who would deny the importance of personal meetings. Schedules are tight, travelling has been restricted, HR resources have been optimised. But still the best ideas and insights often come from outside the familiar environment and relationships.

”Wisdom lives outside our office.” This is the phrase I like to use to keep our eyes open and remain modest enough to seek help and solutions from further afield than our own doorstep.

This was an excellent year for trade fairs in Tampere. We held six different professional events. One of these was completely new. In all events, the total satisfaction of both visitors and exhibitors increased. I’d like to think of this as a sign that our vision of Tampere as a great location for trade fairs is gaining ground. The work is not yet finished, but the direction is right. We are looking forward to making 2017 a year of growth for our industry.

We will see you again at Tampere for Alihankinta 2017, 26–28 September 2017.

Looking forward to seeing you at the fair!

Jani Maja
Product Group Manager, trade fairs
Tampere Trade Fairs

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Jani Maja is the Product Group Manager of trade fairs with Tampere Trade Fairs. He is in charge of Alihankinta trade fair. The international Alihankinta trade fair is the leading industrial trade fair in Finland. It is held annually in the Tampere Exhibition and Sports Centre. Alihankinta presents metal, electronic, plastic and rubber industries and showcases industrial ICT solutions. It also showcases design and consultancy in these fields. Over three days, the fair offers a unique insight into the industry’s current state, its future prospects, and the innovations in the field. Tampere Trade Fairs organises Alihankinta trade fair in cooperation with its main partners, the Federation of Finnish Technology Industries, the Rubber Manufacturers’ Association of Finland, the Finnish Plastics Industries Federation, and the Finnish Association of Purchasing and Logistics (LOGY). Alihankinta was first held in 1988.

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