Real Work After the Travel Season

Like many of you, my spring was chock full of travel, providing many opportunities to meet new readers, review new products, and discuss the industrial lifting market with professionals from across the globe. Although at press time, I have yet to complete my travel rounds—Industrial Lift and Hoist's own Industrial Crane & Hoist Conference in Houston, Texas, is still two weeks away—the information I've gathered over the last few months indicates that the industrial lifting equipment industry is kicking back into gear.

While there appears to be dissenting views from economists on when the recession was over (or even if it is over), manufacturers have expressed that things are looking up. At NA2010 in Cleveland, Ohio, a hoist manufacturer told me that its sales have steadily increased since January, and an overhead bridge crane installer reported that business started bouncing back last fall. Looking around the biennial trade show, it was obvious that attendees and vendors were more optimistic. The number of professionals that stopped by Industrial Lift and Hoist's booth also appeared to be enthusiastic about the economy turning around, and many attendees I spoke to were interested in buying equipment, learning about new products, and discovering new business opportunities. This is a dramatic change from 2009 trade shows where attendance was down, and those that turned out were just there to kick tires.

As a journalist walking any event, I can always gauge how busy a trade show is simply by entering a booth. If company delegates are too busy to talk and I have to return, then I often come back with the question, "How is the show going?" Many will respond with positive comments and discuss a recent sale or project where their machines are being used. When I hear comments like that, it makes my job feel much more worthwhile because I depend on these types of leads in order to bring you interesting and current information.

Back to the economy, the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI Survey on the Business March 2010 backs up claims that the industry is turning around. It reported the March 2010 composite index rose to 78 percent from 57 percent from December 2009. This is the highest level since June 2004 and points to increased confidence in the manufacturing section, said Donald Norman, MAPI economist and survey coordinator.

At the close of the travel season and back at our desks, the real work begins by following up on leads and building new relationships. My first year in trade publishing, a fellow editor gave me some good advice: Look at every business card you gathered at an event and try to remember the person's face who you collected the card from. Difficult, right? But if you train your brain to remember the person, then it is easier to think back to the conversation and follow up on the lead. These leads will provide us with real work for the rest of the year.

It was nice meeting many of you at various trade shows and events, and I hope to learn more about your businesses later this month at ICHC. As always, please send me an email or call with any questions or comments. I look forward to hearing from you.

Tags: