A number of major suppliers recently held open days. Sometimes they’re called in-house exhibitions; showcases or open houses but essentially they’re designed to keep their customers informed and up to date with the supplier’s latest offerings. Some suppliers have several per year and of course, hold them in several States. To name just a few of these and in the order they were held, we had Gabbett (Melbourne); Biesse (Sydney); Felder (Sydney); Leda (Melbourne) and Weinig/HolzHer (Melbourne) with Gabbett (Adelaide) still to come.

Next year a whole new calendar of open days starts off with Biesse (Sydney) in March, closely followed by the Fensterbau trade show in Germany and then AWISA in Melbourne. Gabbett (Sydney) will host an event early in the year focusing on the aluminium sector.

These open days are designed to fill-in the gap between major trade shows and are usually timed around new equipment releases that cannot wait until a major show. The timing of these open houses is also critical to get the best result for both supplier and customer. They cannot be held too close to a big overseas show and not too close to the AWISA show either. Buyers tend to hold off major purchases close to these just to see if anyone is offering a special show-deal.

Domestic and international trade shows have suffered from a drop in attendances over recent years and this is a reflection of the state of the industry not only in Australia but worldwide. This year’s Ligna showed some improvement and this is expected to continue. Suppliers are also very much aware of the cost of exhibiting at a major show with costs in some cases exceeding one million dollars. This is such an issue that some suppliers are exerting influence on show organisers to reduce the exhibition costs.
One example of this is the Xylexpo fair in Milan, held in alternate year’s to the Ligna fair and in the same year as our own AWISA show. In recent years, Xylexpo has been in competition with the newer Technodomus show held in Rimini. Biesse, SCM and Cefla, major exhibitors at Xylexpo, swapped allegiances and backed the Rimini event. This led to much ill will in the sector and inevitably affected Xylexpo’s visitor and exhibitor numbers.

In 2014 Biesse and Cefla returned to Xylexpo and the Technodomus show was cancelled. Acimall president Lorenzo Primultini said: “We know that internal fighting and, most of all, the economic crisis, has driven Xylexpo out of the minds of a few. We don’t want this to happen again and we are willing to focus all our energy to provide international operators with an effective, functional and well-attended platform”.

SCM is reported to return to Xylexpo in 2016 so presumably the “lesson” has been learnt by Xylexpo and things will return to normal but with the exhibitors getting a better deal. The next Xylexpo will be held at Fiera Milano-Rho from Tuesday 24 to Saturday 28 May, 2016.

The number of trade shows specific to the furniture, joinery and other wood-processing industries is significant with three to five international shows per month. Suppliers are stretched financially if they commit to every show available and your machinery prices are affected by the high show costs.
For Australian manufacturer’s the main interest are the German Ligna and interzum fairs held one after the other every two years and our own AWISA show held in alternate years. For suppliers, however, the need to keep their customers up-to-date will continue and so will “open (day) season”.