When Omniflex UK want to maximise their marketing effort in the nuclear sector, there’s only one choice – Ind-Ex.
Estimating one exhibition to be worth up to 20 site visits – and a return on investment of 10:1, it’s not hard to see why Omniflex UK are in their 20th year as an Ind-Ex client
Status : UK subsidiary of international company
Omniflex UK Ltd is an established supplier of both products and systems to the UK’s nuclear industry. Omniflex has offices in the UK, South African and Australia and over the last 51 years has established itself as a major international company.
The Business Challenge
- Building rapport with site personnel is vital to our business in establishing trust in our capabilities.
- Site operators benefit massively from the close technical collaboration between ourselves and their key people – but on large sites frequent personnel changes mean that, without regular contact, we can quickly lose touch with engineering teams that are essential to this collaboration.
- Time pressures (on our own part and that of site teams) add to this challenge meaning that valuable market intelligence can be missed.
- Difficulties in co-ordinating diaries of busy on-site teams presents a major challenge to maintaining face to face contact.
- On highly secure sites (eg A MAJOR UK DEFENCE SITE) it is difficult, on a normal site visit, to acquire sufficient information to assess an application’s suitability, as it is frequently not possible to access areas where the application will be located, and technical documents are normally classified.
- Maintain rapport with established contacts to ensure our performance remains on top line.
- Identify newly appointed personnel and create rapport.
- Identify potential application issues.
- Identify supply opportunities.
- Gain market intelligence.
Previous Attempts – Other Strategies
- Omniflex UK Ltd has been exhibiting with Ind-Ex since 1985 and, next to individual site visits, it is our primary route to market.
- We participated in an event organised by another provider (because Ind-Ex do not operate on that site) but we were disappointed in the organisation and attendance and provided little return on investment. Conversations with other suppliers confirm our experience.
- Our other marketing strategy is regular site visits.
- Email correspondence, whilst essential and useful for day to day communication cannot compare to the power of face to face engagement.
- From the outset our marketing strategy has relied on face to face engagement to build rapport through site visits and supplier exhibitions.
- This strategy enables us to meet contacts in an informal environment and this is the primary source of our market intelligence and quality assurance.
- Focused supplier exhibitions enable us to demonstrate our full product range, which is impossible on normal site visits. This is particularly effective on the sensitive sites (referred to in the business challenge section above), where the exhibitions provide a focal point for engineering teams to actually see the products demonstrated.
- Ind-Ex events provide an opportunity for office based engineering personnel to meet the customers on sites where they could not normally gain access to and consequently helps to build rapport – so that they are just not names on emails or a voice at the end of a phone.
The positive outcomes, over the years, have been many but here are three examples:
- SELLAFIELD SITE (CUMBRIA)– ‘PlantEx 2014’: At our request, our display was located next to Bilfinger Ltd (an SME system integrator with which we occasionally collaborate technically). During discussions an obsolescence manager highlighted a challenge facing his team. We invited the Bilfinger representative to join the discussion and, together, devised a solution using our RSS (Radiological Surveillance System). The obsolescence engineer invited his team to discuss our solution and the issues they had and a solution was agreed at that meeting. The equipment was ordered by September and installation was completed in March 2015.
- SELLAFIELD (RISLEY) CE&I 2014: A design engineer identified our multiplex system (a system of transferring data down redundant cabling – it even works down barbed wire!). The challenge was to transfer data between two buildings 1.5km apart and the existing solution would involve laying cable under a car park. An investment of £10k in our system resulted in a ~£1 million saving for the site operator.
- AWE 2014: Enquiries initiated at the Preferred Manufacturers exhibition resulted in two contracts being awarded in 2015; the first for a fire alarm reporting system and the second a large alarm annunciator/alarm management replacement system. The value of these two orders was about 10% of the UK’s office annual turnover.
- We estimate that one Ind-Ex event equates to between 15 – 20 site visits and, in terms of bringing engineering teams together to discuss solutions, they are unique.
- We would estimate our overall return on investment at 10:1