Subcontracting made a digital leap – virtuality is no substitute for face-to-face encounters
We had the great three days in the first Subcontracting and AlihankintaHEAT virtual event in history. This confusing year 2020 will also remain in the story of Finland’s largest international trade fair as an exceptional chapter and the beginning of a new phase. In the Tampereen Messut Group, we have since March had to postpone or cancel all our major events due to the corona pandemic putting not only in the event industry but also the entire world on its knees. Eventually, the autumn’s traditional Subcontracting Fair, which has brought the industry together since 1988, was finally postponed by a year.
Although Finland’s largest industrial village opened its doors this year only virtually and in a smaller form than traditionally, it was great to get a piece of the familiar Subcontracting atmosphere this autumn as well together with 250 exhibitors. In many ways, as event organizers, we faced a new situation, a corona-driven but welcome digital leap. As a whole we are pleased with the success of the virtual pilot. It is good to continue the development work of Subcontracting towards a hybrid model, in which, in addition to physical fairs, there is a virtual part bringing added value. The Business from Data theme and the program content of the companies were of great interest in the virtual event. High-quality content first, we also want to continue developing the virtual part of the event in the future.
According to the feedback we have received, the players in the manufacturing industry are already in dire need of real face-to-face encounters and those cannot be replaced by virtual networking opportunities. Virtuality brings about a lot of good things to working and diversifies opportunities to participate, but it will not replace everything else. From the subcontracting perspective, I believe that through virtual production, the internationalization of the event will be even faster. These three event days online showed that our customers, accustomed to busy trade fair days at the stands, missed, above all, the large number of meetings, occasional encounters, tangible leads and the vibe of the trade fair.
Through the networking service, the participants of the event did have the opportunity to arrange meetings, present the activities and offerings of the companies and collect leads, but based on initial feedback, this was not considered sufficient. There was commendably traffic online and there were also more encounters for some and less for others. Above all, according to the theme of the event, customers want data on how profitable their participation was virtually and who they got interested in them. This is certainly understandable, because at traditional trade fairs, exhibitors are largely able to gather for themselves the data that is relevant to them and in line with their own set objectives. The general data protection regulation GDPR poses challenges for us event organizers to share the data obtained from the event. This is definitely one of the most important things to develop for future virtual and hybrid events. Pilot is always the first experiment to arouse interest in something new. There is always room for improvement in everything.
For over 30 years, the traditional Subcontracting has been the highlight of the autumn for our customers, which is not just a presence at the stand and a presentation of the company’s offerings. Subcontracting is an experience that is experienced with every sense, full of good vibes, community spirit, subcontracting spirit, reflection on future industry and economic prospects, as well as maintaining networks and finding new contacts day in day out around the city.
The happy eyes visible behind the masks and the virtual smiles experienced online will surely brighten our days in this moment, but in face-to-face encounters, the presence of another person is felt in every cell. I sincerely hope that by next autumn we will be able to overcome this pandemic together and once again safely face the positive atmosphere in full exhibition halls.
A warm thanks to our customers, event guests and numerous partners for taking this path with us, which is a bit rocky and bumpy right now. Landscapes can always accommodate many shades and you never know what to expect behind the next curve. However, the most important thing is to continue the journey boldly forward and with confidence in the future. Together we will survive these times as well, and I hope that in September 2021, all roads will once again bring industry professionals and experts to Tampere.
Happy and successful New Year – be well!
Subcontracting Fair Project Manager, Communications Director
Tampereen Messut Group