By Bill Tice
Attending trade shows can offer some big advantages to loggers and wood products producers.
By Bill Tice
You may notice this January/February issue of Canadian Forest Industries, which includes the content of Canadian Wood Products, is fatter and heavier than most issues we have produced over the past couple of years. We are running 52 pages this time around, which may be a signal that things are finally starting to turn the corner for Canada’s forest industry. Equipment manufacturers and suppliers of services to our industry are reaching out to our readers in an effort to position themselves for the upturn in logging volumes and lumber sales that is projected to happen over the next few years, and for us as a publishing company, that translates into bigger magazines.
It’s much the same for the trade show industry, which has struggled over the past few years to bring people into venues as potential attendees have put off attending shows in an effort to save money. However, that is also starting to change as the benefits of attending a show in person, far outweigh viewing new technology, equipment and services online. And as we start to see the projected economic improvements in the industry, acquiring that new piece of equipment becomes more viable and more important as loggers, sawmillers and panel producers position themselves to take advantage of any increases in volume and profits.
So why should you attend a trade show? For starters, it’s impossible to put yourself in the operator’s seat of that new feller buncher you are interested in if you are sitting in your office in Timmins, Ont., or any other area of Canada. But if you visit a regional, national or international show, you can jump on board a number of feller bunchers, loaders, skidders, forwarders or logging trucks from numerous manufacturers, often on the same day. At some live shows, you can even put the machine through its paces yourself, or watch experienced operators run the gear in choreographed style, complete with fireworks and other special effects, that would make any Broadway producer envious.
For sawmillers and panel producers it’s a similar scenario. At many shows, you will find working models of production equipment and plenty of company experts to explain the process and the features of whatever type of technology you are interested in. At some shows, there is even an opportunity to go on field trips to see equipment working in a local mill.
There’s also the networking aspect of attending shows. You get a chance to meet your peers, talk about similar issues you might be having and simply compare notes. Plus, at most shows, industry association representatives are generally on hand to answer questions about new technology, issues, world markets and other timely topics.
For loggers in Atlantic Canada, the last week of March provides an excellent opportunity to get connected. The Canadian Woodlands Forum (www.cwfcof.org) will hold its annual Spring Meeting in Moncton on March 28 and 29, while on March 29 and 30, Master Promotions will bring its Atlantic Heavy Equipment Show (www.masterpromotions.ca) to Moncton. The last AHES brought more than 12,000 visitors through the doors, where they kicked the tires and climbed on board all kinds of large and small iron from harvesters to dozers.
Another big show for the logging community happens from Sept. 20 to 22, in Saint-Raymond, Que., when DEMO International 2012 kicks off. Also produced by Master Promotions, this show is a live outdoor show. In the two days prior to the live logging show (Sept. 18 and 19), there will be a pre-DEMO conference that will cover a wide range of topics and will be delivered simultaneously in both English and French.
For those wanting to travel farther afield, there is the Northeastern Forest Products Equipment Expo (nefpexpo.net) on May 11 and 12. The show’s organizers are expecting a near-record number of exhibiting companies to fill two buildings, a static outside display and an outside live demonstration area at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction, Vt. And if you really want to get away for a show, now is the time to start planning for Elmia 2013 (www.elmia.se) in Sweden from June 5 to 8. This live show is regarded as one of the top logging shows in the world and it attracts huge crowds from almost every continent.
Sawmillers and panel producers certainly aren’t left out of the show circuit with a number of shows coming up this year, including a new show in Portland, Ore., that will combine two popular topics – timber processing and energy. The Timber Processing & Energy Expo (www.timberprocessingandenergyexpo.com), which will be held Oct. 17 to 19 at the Portland Expo Center, will showcase the lumber, panel and engineered wood products and wood-based energy and biomass industries.
For anyone in our industry, attending one or more of these shows is worthwhile, and by supporting trade shows and the companies that produce them through the tough times, we help to ensure they will be there when we need them during the good times. Plus, there’s nothing better when you are in the market for a new piece of gear than jumping on board, sitting in the operator’s seat, and talking face to face with the equipment company’s product specialist.
Bill Tice, Editor