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A Total Recovery? Mostly, yes...

28 May 2010

Last week's Total show at the NEC, jointly owned by the PPMA and Reed, proved the Recovery is continuing. PPMA CEO Chris Buxton said the show's success met all his expectations, and that it remains the largest, most successful show of its kind in the UK.

Although official figures for Total Process & Packaging weren't released at the time of going to press, attendance and the quality of leads certainly seemed to show economic activity in the food & beverage sector is recovering and slowly returning to pre-Recession levels.

''The show isn't as busy for us as the PPMA was back in September,'' said Andrew Hudson of Advanced Engineering on the second day of Total. ''However the people we've spoken to have been very positive, and there are some key companies here - we've seen Walkers' Crisps walking around.''

David Haywood, MD of Linkx Systems, who I spoke to halfway through the show, said: ''We had a really good first day with plenty of quality enquiries. I attribute that to the fact we're showing the right sort of products - it's an eclectic mix.''

''The first day proved a good start,'' said Will Edwards of Domino. ''The second day was steady without being exceptional. We're getting better quality enquiries than usual. There's always a time lag between leads at the show translating into orders.''

Alastair MacKinnon of Pulsar said the exhibition had been 'interesting'. ''We've seen people we wouldn't usually speak to, and that has been productive from our point-of-view.'' David Hey, technical sales manager of RA Rodriguez, said the exhibition was helpful because of the exposure it was giving its new robot.

''We've found Total to be good this year, which is a sign of the upturn'' said Automated Packaging Systems' Clive Pearson towards the end of the show. ''People thought there would be a double-dip recession but it remains to be seen whether that will happen. During the show we've had some promising leads and have exceeded our lead target. The proof of the pudding will be in six months' time.''

Christopher Staub from Hapa said: ''We have experienced in general a very good Total show where quality of leads exceeded by far quantity, which in turn made the participation a very efficient one.''

But it wasn't all good news. ''We're disappointed,'' said Peter Crisp of Elmatic towards the end of the second day. ''The first day wasn't too bad, we got a decent amount of enquiries but today we've had significantly less. Hopefully there will be a miraculous recovery.''

Peter pointed out exhibitors are under pressure to at least match the amount they spend on exhibitions. ''Setting up a stand is costly,'' he says. ''There are the hotel rooms, the food, the people you need to construct and deconstruct the stand - and then there's the guys we take out the office to man the stand.''

And Nigel Platt, sales and marketing manager of ABB, said the company had received less leads than last year, and less than they'd expected this year. He said one problem may be 'time wasters' - visitors who are trying to sell their own products to ABB. ''Some are quite forceful,'' said Nigel, ''and that is time we could be spending talking to prospective clients.''

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