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MIDLANDS MODEL ENGINEERING EXHIBITION

THURSDAY 17TH- SUNDAY 20th OCTOBER 2019 WARWICKSHIRE EVENT CENTRE

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Neil Wyatt21/10/2019 22:16:00
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Posted by D.A.Godley on 21/10/2019 20:12:05:

Neil , I quite understand you defending , what apparently is a major advertiser , and with the MMEE being organised by a competitor of the magazines , and thus the forum , to be expected , however , to claim that Arc took massive bits of kit to the shows , does not ring true with me .

 

Hi,

I know just how much it cost Arc to attend shows, and how many days it effectively put their day to day business out of operation. The same for Chester and Warco. In the 'grand old days' they were bringing stock in articulated trailers and fork lifts, the likes of Tracey are able to get by with a Luton or similar.

We have no axe to grind with Meridienne Exhibitions -we get on well with them and are pleased that they keep their shows going; unlike MyTimeMedia they have the major advantage of having their own venue which makes the economics of such things a lot easier. It's not just exhibitors who face the pinch. Also, we aren't competitors, EiM has been sold on, and we still wish it success - the hobby needs a variety of voices. It's something of a myth that all the different companies, magazines and exhibitions are at each other's throats. In general we all get along and look forwards to seeing each other at the shows and elsewhere. I would have gone to MMEX except I was in Scotland, it always seems to be timed around my October break... (although I have exhibited a model there in the past!)

The economic of shows has changed, just as the people attending are changing. Shows need to be broader and wider in appeal (hence the tamiya, TRC trucks etc.) and more focused on putting on an event that stands on its own where the traders are secondary to the show rather than its main attraction. The main reason for this is that such shows are more likely to bring new blood into the hobby.

It's worth thinking why do we want new people in our hobby?

It shouldn't be just because we get a buzz from knowing a new generation want to do the same old things that we do (although it's always nice when others share our enthusiasm).

I should be because we see the immense benefits that our creative hobby, which combines physical and mental challenges, can bring to people from a wide range of ages and backgrounds. The benefits of inspiring a new generation of engineers whose skills we will need to tackle the challenges of an increasingly uncertain future. The better lives of older people who find the hobby a a shared interest that also helps keep them mentally and physically active. For some a way to combat loneliness and boredom. For us all a way to foster our independence and self-sufficiency and promote a make and mend attitude rather than the throw-away culture of so much modern life.

Exhibitions are only part of this, and anyone reading my editorials over the last year will know how keenly I have been encouraging readers to attend any shows!

Frankly, it's the visitors who make or break shows, and the 'glass-half-empty' reports ("it was far too crowded!" ) probably do more to undermine the future of the shows than the presence or absence of any one exhibitor.

Truly, if you want to visit a show just to see a particular trader - then take a day trip and visit their premises, you'll see more, and get personal attention!

Neil

Edit... the curse of smiley!

Edited By Neil Wyatt on 21/10/2019 22:16:45

magpie21/10/2019 22:58:08
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Neil, Ketan has in the past given full explanations of the cost, and reasons for not attending the shows. I know his explanations to be true because I owned a company some years ago, that specialised in exhibition work. Although I complained about the catering, it was more a case of it not coping too well with the number of visitors, rather than the quality of the food. I enjoyed the show, and I attend both the Midland and Doncaster shows whenever my health allows. It would be a great loss if we were to lose either one.

Dek.

Howard Lewis21/10/2019 22:58:45
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Maybe it depends on how each company organises their budgets for marketing, sales etc.

It does cost a lot to attend a show, stand space is not cheap, There are costs in taking materials to and from the shows, staff have to be housed and fed while they are there. And, the base is shortstaffed before, during and after the show. The profit generated by sales at and after the the show ought to cover those costs; but you have to sell an an awful lot of stock to cover those costs.

Some companies are prepared to write off the losses and cover them by the Sales and Marketing budget. Others may not be able so to do.

If you have ever organised, or even exhibited on a club stand at a show, you will know how much disruption preparing for, and then putting away afterwards, can be.

When I, as an ordinary Club member, organised the P S M E stand at the Spalding Show, it effectively occupied five days for me. To organise and load my exhibits, travelling (at my expense ) to set up the stand the day before, two days at the show, and then another day to put away all my exhibits. And this does not include the time spent cajoling folk into exhibiting, and then liasing with the show organisers over stand space, and location.

Every club will have had similar experiences, many with longer distances to travel to the venue.

Even more so for trade exhibitors. Did you see the size of the articulated lorry carrying the Warco exhibits to shows? At least a day to load a 40 ton artic boxvan, another day travelling from Surrey to say Doncaster, and then to set up the stand, two or now three days staffing the stand, a day to pack up, then to travel back to base, followed by unloading. All these items cost time, and therefore money, money for staff and their expenses. For a big stand, that can occupy a week in total. And only the show days will actually cause an inflow, probably too small to cover costs, of cash.

Fairies with magic wands seem to absent at those times.

I love to browse the machines displayed at a show, although I am unlikely to buy a new Lathe or Milling Machine very year. But I do realise what is involved in terms of cost and personnel to attend. Consequently, I can sympathise with those who decide that financially it is no longer worth the disruption and effort.

Rose tinted glasses are strictly for visitors, not exhibitors!

Howard

Halton Tank21/10/2019 23:42:16
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I went on Thursday and generally my partner and I enjoyed ourselves. Yes, it took us about 10 minutes from the roundabout to parking the car, and another 10 minutes to queue for breakfast, and makes me wonder what people would say now when you had to queue 2 to 3 hours just to get in at Model Engineering show when it was held at Wenbley Conference in the 80s.

Speaking to the on the 17D Minatures Model stand, they said that they decided to limit themselves to 2 exhibitions a year (Doncaster and the Midlands), not so much because of cost, but because the disruption it causes to their daily business.

Regarding Warco, from what I have read, they have not stopped going to exhibitions, just decided to not go to the Midlands, and as far as know they will be at Alexandra Palace, though I could be corrected.

Regards

Luigi

Martin Kyte22/10/2019 08:47:50
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Posted by D.A.Godley on 19/10/2019 20:26:25:

Arc May write nice words , but having used the shows ,starting at Donnington , to establish themselves with us , shew nothing but contempt by expecting continued business from us while not being there for us at Exhibitions, this now goes for the likes of Chronos , Warco , EKP and several others .

A little context may enlighten your opinions Mr? Godley.

I had a conversation with one of the guy's from EKP some years ago now when he told me sadly that it was the last show they were going to be able to attend. The reasons he gave for this was primarily that doing a show caused lost them roughly a weeks production (they manufacture their own fixings) once they had loaded everything up manned the stand for the duration and then put everything back on stock afterwards. It also caused a cessation of web trading (they usually operate a next day delivery) for a week. The upshot was that they were losing money by being at shows so reluctantly they quit.

Many of the suppiliers we rely on are small companies and just cannot afford to throw money around. The reality of life today is if exhibitions are to continue they will need to evolve to survive by being less dependent on the trade element and more focussed on the models, lectures demonstration and whatever else the organisers cane come up with.

regards Martin

PS I went on the Friday and had a great time. Nice lunch upstairs, a few chats with people I had never met before and some interesting models.

Lainchy22/10/2019 09:09:31
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I'm not a model railway layout enthusiast but was blown away with how they model "T gauge". That's some seriously small stuff!

not done it yet22/10/2019 09:21:14
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My wife has a simple layout. She is awaiting a proper ‘steam’ engine instead of the ‘inter-city’ version, currently supplied, and to find a suitable case to set it up more permanently.

Lainchy22/10/2019 09:34:31
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I did wonder about steam versions. I did think about Recurve Bow cases, but they seem to be plastic now. I'm sure when I had mine, it was alloy.

Found this though... maybe of use? **LINK**

thaiguzzi23/10/2019 07:28:58
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Posted by D.A.Godley on 20/10/2019 15:28:15:

Jason ;

Moan , Me moan ? But thank you for pointing out the subliminal influence on purchasing , brought about by Arcs involvement with the forum , however , I really do think that it’s too much to claim that the forum might fold should they not continue to take advertising space , Nor do I consider it necessary for them to increase prices in order to be present at the Shows , and the suggestion that disturbance , logistics , etc , cause them , and not just them , such financial discomfort that it’s impossible to attend, seems a bit weak when you consider Tracy’s situation , or RDG , who I believe also have interests to satisfy outside of the modelling fraternity.

Rather than shrink away , this year , RDG actually increased their stand area by introducing their proxxon range . I have no connection with RDG , or any of the others , but I respect them for attending shows with goods relevant to my needs .

Circlip : sorry but I would have to pay with the old silver threepenny piece , I have already ditched my euros , by the way , What is CNC ? 🧐.

Ah, the Little Englanders are back.

Love a moan? A good winge? Too right.....

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Clive India23/10/2019 07:53:22
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Folks - it's simply a day out. For me it was good value and interesting, with food of reasonable quality and price.

Perhaps not as good for you - It's never going to be like it was.

Times change. That's how it is. If you don't like it - don't go.

Mike Poole23/10/2019 09:03:19
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It’s £25 for a ticket bought on the day at the Motorcycle Show and you will queue for very expensive food and drink and it will be crowded, many of the criticisms voiced apply to all shows and always will. The content has changed over the years and it can only be a personal decision whether to attend. Rock concerts are now very expensive in my opinion and the days when I saw 50 top bands in a year would be very expensive to do now.

Mike

Alan Jackson23/10/2019 10:50:26
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It would be interesting to know what fundamentals have changed that create the concerns and comments in this thread. Say twenty years ago these shows were well worth a visit, the exhibits from models makers prevailed and there was plenty of entries for the competitions etc. There was plenty of variety to interest all ages. Now it seems that it is just a smattering of model entries and trade exhibits, with model clubs doing there best to make a show. There was also a good follow up provided by the magazines to describe the entries to those who could not attend the exhibition. I know that a lot of this is now shown on the internet, so this must be the main reason for the shows gradual demise, sad really.

Alan

Harry Wilkes23/10/2019 12:16:54
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Personally I think it will evntually lead to a show in the south and one in the north ! And for anyone who missed this years show photos here link

H

JasonB23/10/2019 12:40:33
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Alan one thing that has changed is the number any type of shows. When I first went to the ME show at Wembly it was run by MAP who's titles covered a far broader spectrum of model making. So you had Model Enineering, RC Models, Boat models, Figure and plastic models all under one roof and it was really the only large show and could get good foot fall for the 9 days it ran for.

Now with many publishing houses having a couple of titles each they all seem to want to put on shows so we now have MEX, Model boat show, model railway (small gauges) show, Plastic model shows, Tractor and plant model shows, RC events, the list just goes on and on.

Can a supplier who may have goods that all these branches of the hobby could use be expected to attend them all when the actual buying power of the hobbist is the same.

As to entries as mentioned earlier it is a drain on time if you need to make more than one visit to deliver and collect so unless you are retired or live within reasonable distance people won't be able to show. Gone are the days when models were collected and returned.

Staffing is another thing, take My Time Media as en example, most of the staff are part time and work from home and their time is already fully taken up by just getting the mag out each month/2 weeks so hard to organise an event. Different for Meridian as they are an events company nor a publishing one and have their own site which helps with a lot of the shows they put on there.

Also gone are the days where you had to send off some stamps for a poorly photocopied catalogue and then guess the postage when you sent off your check. This meant people would hold off making purchases as the show got near preferring to see and buy the goods at the show. Now it is so easy to see pictures of items and place an order and pay with a couple of clicks of the mouse and have the item arrive next day. So amount purchased at shows goes down.

Edited By JasonB on 23/10/2019 13:09:34

Martin Kyte23/10/2019 13:13:04
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Posted by Alan Jackson on 23/10/2019 10:50:26:

It would be interesting to know what fundamentals have changed that create the concerns and comments in this thread.

Alan

At last, a usefull question. Purely as someone who attends shows and have done for the last 30 years I'll have a go at my ideas of an answer.

Once you have got past the people who are just grumblers and the tendency to see past events in a rosy light there are as indicated serious concerns. I shall take it as a given that shows are a good thing and that there is a general wish that they continue. So first of what are the current dificulties?

Clearly as an economic model shows have at least in recent times been very reliant on trade stands both as a revenue stream and as a major attractor of footfall. This relies on traders making enough to warrant attending and the pressures on traders at shows is no different to the pressures that all our high streets face in these days of internet commerce.

Maybe the next point is that there are more shows both numerically and given the ability to travel more in range distance wise.

I have no idea how many people are actually involved in model engineering but judging by the numbers at shows it seems sufficiently large to be considered a ready supply of attendees. However those new to the hobby generally will find shows more exciting than old stagers purely because everything is new, certainly even if a model has appeared at a show many times it will be new to them rather than those of us who go every year.

So to move on to exhibits. I have never been involved in running a show but I can appreciate the enormous effort it must take by people who I understand are largely volunteers so don't think I am criticising. However if a show ends up just recycling models people have seen many times before they can tend to get a little tedious. Now I know organisers have no ultimate control over what is offered, that has to be down to us, some influence can be effected.

For example showcasing particular models or aspects of the hobby can be successfull as was done with the recent Mallard anniversary etc. Demonstrations are another draw which are under some kind of control before the event and of course the same goes for lectures. Shows I have particularly enjoyed are usually where one or two special exhibits were showcased. The Bentley engines are a case in point as were Cherry Hinds models. There are more. These things cause you to come away from the show thinking 'I'm glad I came to see that'.

To exist into the future shows have to innovate to survive. I'ts no good just trusting to the old formats and thinking they are going to work forever. Take Trade stands for instance. If traders don't find it economic to attend with all the kit then how about a collection service coupled with a showcase demo at shows. Order your stuff online, have the trader take all the items to the show along with a particular machine to demonstate. That way they meet the public, have guarenteed sales, can do the wole thing cheaper and we get to save the postage on heavy items.

Maybe it's time to get a proper discussion going on this forum. Who knows we may even come up with some gems to save the day. I'm sure there are many people more innovative than me.

regards Martin

 

Edited By Martin Kyte on 23/10/2019 13:13:23

JasonB23/10/2019 13:23:53
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One thing I will add about the same models being seen each year, Generally I do not notice this with competition or display entries by individuals. You do get the same thing on club stands even SMEE have the same models and the EDM machine has done the rounds quite a bit.

Martin Kyte23/10/2019 13:48:02
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Fair comment Jason, possibly because individuals have to make such an effort to display a model usually involving three trips to the venue to deliver, attend and then collect. However even frequent fliers can with a little inventiveness be made more interesting. For example grouping or pairing versions of the same thing allows a comparison as well as a perusal of the individual model. All of a sudden one can see how a modeler has made their own variations.

regards Martin

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