“Sometimes success needs nothing more than one question”
The aptly named Alihankinta subcontracting trade fair is the largest industrial sector event in the Nordic countries, which has been held in Tampere since 1988. This industrial event has been full of life, active and successful ever since its début, and now it is already nearing the distinguished, but virile age of 30.
An averagely warm, but extraordinarily successful Olympic summer (five medals in just one day) had already turned into a rainy autumn in 1984, when Rafik Neuman, who had just been appointed the managing director of Tampereen Messut (Tampere Trade Fairs), discussed the necessity of a trade fair in the subcontracting sector with business advisor Kari Aarnio from Metalliteollisuuden Keskusliitto MET at the Finntec Trade Fair in Helsinki. Aarnio became convinced of the demand for an event like this, and the idea started to grow in the minds of both of these industry men. The following year, Neuman gave a presentation about trade fairs to an entrepreneur association. An entrepreneur from Lempäälä stood up at the back of the auditorium and asked ‘What can you offer to me?’
Based on this question, the planning process for a trade fair that met the needs of manufacturing industry began, and the Alihankinta trade fair started to gain momentum. The eager commitment of operators came as a surprise, not only to the men themselves, but also to everyone else, when Neuman and Aarnio presented their idea to the receptive business world. Many industrial leaders were keen to be seen as trailblazers back then, and the future years proved that pioneering paid off. Naturally, guidelines for implementing the event were sought from abroad. For a long time, a large exhibition in the field had been held in Paris, and the Elmia Underleverantör event had taken place in Jönköping, Sweden, several times.
“What can you offer to me?”
For Tampereen Messut, the Alihankinta trade fair was a success from the very beginning, not only as an idea but also financially. The first event was already clearly in the black, which was probably partly thanks to the fact that the organisers’ objective from the very beginning was to, primarily, fulfil the exhibitors’ wishes, then satisfy the visitor expectations, and only after that meet the needs of the trade fair company. The industrial heritage of Tampere and the city’s location as the birthplace of Finnish industry also promoted the quick growth and development of Alihankinta trade fair. With the help of these factors and through persistent development work ever since the 1980s, an event was created that is now one of the most significant international trade fairs in the field. To this day, the Alihankinta trade fair has remained a professional subcontracting event where demand, supply and operators can truly meet eye to eye.
Over the years, the cut of the suits seen in the halls has become narrower, new buildings have been erected on Ilmailunkatu, Neuman has been followed by Vähätalo, and numerous, important handshakes have taken place to cement the changes. The success story of the number one trade fair of Finland’s leading industry has continued for almost 30 years. The subcontracting field is here to stay, but it is also developing and growing.
First and foremost, the popularity of the trade fair is thanks to the partners, exhibitors and visitors. All of the nearly 1,000 exhibitors are vital to the trade fair, but the famous spirit of the Alihankinta trade fair, its never-ending and always changing power that flows through the exhibition halls, stems from the 12 companies that have been with the Alihankinta trade fair ever since the beginning. This top-tier group at Alihankinta includes Arvo Piiroinen Oy, Fiskars Brands Finland Oy Ab, Hollming Works Oy, Joensuun Tiedepuisto Oy, Oy Johnson Metall Ab, Marwe Oy, Meconet Oy, Okartek Oy, Purso Oy, Reka Kumi Oy, Sacotec Components Oy and Tasowheel Group Oy.
What will be the next question? And more importantly – how are we going to answer it?