With news of the acquisition of IMHX organiser, Quartz, by Informa Group having been well received in the logistics market, the new owner is already planning a strategy for the show’s growth. Now that the Quartz team is ensconced in the offices of Informa Exhibitions – one of Informa plc’s key events divisions – in London’s Victoria, the new owner of IMHX has turned its focus to the development of the show over the coming years.
There’s no hiding the fact that Informa is pleased to have acquired the jewel in the crown of UK logistics industry events. Says Peter Hall, Managing Director of Informa Exhibitions, “The acquisition is a fantastic fit for us, as Informa has a long and distinguished heritage in publishing and events for the maritime and logistics sectors.”
This is not puff on Peter Hall’s part; although this is just one of many sectors that Informa is active in – others include printing, life sciences, energy, construction, retail, finance, IT and telecoms – its roll call of exhibitions and magazines is impressive, featuring events such as Intermodal Europe, RORO Conference & Exhibition, TOC Container Supply Chain Europe and a variety of port, logistics and maritime conferences, along with publications such as Lloyd’s List, International Freighting Weekly, Cargo Systems and Containerisation International. Now it adds the International Materials Handling Exhibition (IMHX) and the Temperature Controlled Storage & Distribution show (TCS&D) to the list, along with the leading materials handling title ‘Storage Handing Distribution’ (ShD) and its sister magazine, ‘Solids & Bulk Handling’.
“IMHX is one of the top shows in the world in this sector,” continues Peter Hall, “and the fact that it’s co-owned by the British Industrial Truck Association makes it unique. We see this as a key strength of the event, providing additional stability and ensuring that it stays an industry event. Actually, although we wholly own almost all of our events, we still see them as belonging to their respective industries. Event organisers need to stay close to their customers and it’s generally when they don’t that things start to go wrong!”
Increasing international appeal
Informa’s strategy for growth with regard to IMHX is two-pronged. Explains Peter Hall, “We are looking not only to grow IMHX itself but also to use our enhanced strength in the logistics sector to create brand-new products. For IMHX, we want to increase its international appeal, both on the exhibitor side and the visitor side. As part of a large global business, we are able to internationalise products very effectively and we definitely see this as an opportunity for IMHX. Our experience of running very large exhibitions, combined with our huge databases – we have 20 million contacts through staging some 5000 training courses and conferences a year in a variety of sectors worldwide – means that we can grow IMHX through engaging more exhibitors and visitors from outside the UK. In today’s increasingly globalised economy,” continues Peter Hall, “international buyers are key. In terms of growing the IMHX brand, we see opportunities for new events offshore in emerging markets, the success of which will also enhance the profile of the UK event.”
Content and knowledge are key
In the media business, looking into the future can be difficult, due to the impact of ever-advancing technology. Peter Hall is confident, however, that there will always be a place for exhibitions. “The face-to-face interaction possible at events is unique and I believe that it will be with us forever. What event organisers need to ensure, however, is that they are plugging the gap between shows, especially if the exhibition has a long cycle. This is where publishing comes in,” continues Peter Hall. “The event is, if you like, the kernel that brings the industry together every year or two – or three, in the case of IMHX – but magazines and social media have to keep the community engaged in between. Hence the need for high-quality content, with the right mixture of news and analysis, and knowledgeable staff. This is why we’re excited to have acquired ShD,” adds Peter Hall. “With its 54-year pedigree, ShD is a fantastic complement to IMHX. In fact, neither would work nearly as well without the other.”
Informa was also keen to migrate all the Quartz staff. “The value of existing relationships between event and editorial teams and their market should never be underestimated,” says Peter Hall. “I’m delighted that the IMHX and ShD staff, who all know the materials handling business so well, have settled in pretty much seamlessly. Rob Fisher is running the new division and I’m confident that he will continue to provide a very safe pair of hands.”
IMHX 2013 is 70% sold already
Taking place at the NEC from 19-22 March 2013, IMHX is once again expected to attract all the major players in the supply chain and logistics industry. “We’re delighted that the show is already 70% sold,” says Rob Fisher, Director of Informa’s Materials Handling Group, “and that such a large number of key brands have already committed to the exhibition. The most recent firms to sign up for the event include Cesab Material Handling, Yale Europe/Briggs Equipment, Link 51, Interroll, Industore, Egemin and Efaflex.”
The exclusive VIP valet parking scheme will return to IMHX, allowing top executives to drive straight up to the entrance, have their vehicle parked securely by a professional driver and enjoy access to the Premier Club Lounge with complimentary refreshments and Internet facilities. The Design 4 Safety competition, which proved extremely popular at the 2010 event, will take place again, giving exhibitors the chance to showcase innovative products and services that improve health & safety and operational efficiency. In addition, IMHX 2013 will feature an area for automation specialists – the AMHSA Zone, hosted by the Automated Material Handling Systems Association – that will be even larger than at the 2010 show. Plus, a popular feature making a welcome return to IMHX will be the free seminar programme, offering a series of informative sessions for visitors on a range of hot industry topics.
The IMHX team is stressing the importance for exhibitors of participating in market-leading trade shows. Explains Rob Fisher, “In independent research conducted following IMHX 2010, we found that an overwhelming 98% of visitors rated their visit as positive and said it had met their objectives, while a resounding 77% stated that their visit to IMHX would influence their buying decision. It’s those sales that potential exhibitors need to bear in mind.”