October 4, 2011
Quality Expo 2011
A few weeks ago, I was attended the Quality Expo in Chicago, IL. I was there to give a presentation on global quality management and also represent InfinityQS at our expo booth.
I’ve been doing these shows for a long time now, and I’ve got the flat feet to prove it. 15 years ago I attended my first Quality Expo with InfinityQS in Charlotte, NC. The show was massive. Exhibitors spanned every square foot of several show floors and exhibit halls were jam-packed with people looking for solutions to their quality needs.
Fast forward to the Quality Expo in Chicago last week and I could not help but ponder the extraordinary differences between now and 15 years ago. An understatement would be to say that the show has changed. Has it ever!
First, the size of the show has changed dramatically. Last week’s Quality Expo was much smaller than the Charlotte event. Although the Expo was held in Chicago’s enormous McCormick Place, only a fraction of a single show floor was devoted to the exhibition.
Over the past few years, the Quality Expo has become progressively smaller as the economy has challenged manufacturing firms and suppliers across the globe. However, the good news is that this year the show was very well attended.
On the first day, I arrived with my colleagues Rich and Ross an hour prior to show opening. I was happily surprised to find that even an hour before the show opened, attendees had already lined up for entry to the show floor. There were quite a few people, and they were more than an hour early. I haven’t seen that kind of excitement from such a large group in a while.
InfinityQS Booth at the Quality Expo
As exhibitors, we went about setting up our booth prior to the official opening of the expo. While we completed the setup, I couldn’t help but wonder about that line. Why were they there so early? Were they confused or did they just want to be the first ones into the show? To satisfy my curiosity, I determined to go back to the entryway just prior to the show’s start. I figured that if the line had increased in size, then it might indicate an enthusiasm for the Quality Expo that I have not seen in a while. However, if the line length did not change appreciably, then it might indicate that attendees just got the start time wrong.
When I walked back to the show entrance five minutes prior to the opening, I was surprised. There was no line. Instead, it was a mob of humanity. An enormous number of people stood patiently bunched up near the entryway awaiting entry. The security guards seemed fidgety and nervous with all those people looking at their watches and staring at the entryway.
Bottom line: this year’s Quality Expo was a hit. We were quite busy talking with our customers who graciously visited us and shared their stories of success. We also enjoyed our many interactions with prospects who were curious about our company and our products. It was such a great show that I didn’t even notice how much flatter my feet had become.