K '95, which takes place Oct. 5-12 in Germany, will be the biggest plastics trade show ever held, offering American visitors unique opportunities for their companies and careers. It willgive them a truly global view of technologies and trends and provide a forum for overseas contacts and partnerships. Many Americans think, however, that attending this triennial show is difficult and too expensive. Indeed, there used to be some truth to this perception - but things are changing.
As president of the U.S. subsidiary of the company organizing K, I have initiated several actions to streamline K'95 attendance by U.S. processors. For one, we have negotiated with hotels to save about 30 percent in room rates for Americans staying in or near Dusseldorf, the site of the show.
We've reserved large blocks of rooms. But because German mass transit is fast, efficient and inexpensive, getting to and from the show is easy even if you cut hotel costs by staying in a neighboring city. This is why we've also reserved rooms in nearby Cologne (30 minutes) and Bonn (45 minutes), themselves interesting cities.
For the commute between Bonn and Dusseldorf, we've blocked two entire hotels for Americans on a beautiful park near the main train station, reserved a comfortable railroad car, and arranged for English-speaking guides to escort Americans on the train ride and on the bus link from station to show.
Another concern I often hear from Americans is, ``But I don't speak German. Won't that make things difficult?'' Absolutely not. English is the business language and most widely spoken alternative to German at the show and in hotels, restaurants, shops and transportation facilities. Virtually every exhibitor has booth personnel who are fluent in English.
The third most common concern expressed by U.S. processors might be summed up as: ``Why should I travel overseas when there are plenty of plastics trade shows right here?'' For one, the sheer size and scope of K'95. With more than 2,200 exhibitors in 15 connected exhibit halls, the K show is the only truly global exposition of plastics technology. Nearly 300,000 visitors are expected from more than 100 countries, including top management from all major end-users and processors worldwide.
Another significant difference is in the way exhibitions are run overseas. K show exhibitors staff their booths with plenty of sales and technical personnel to field inquiries and questions.
In addition, the highest-ranking officers of nearly every company are right there in the booth to meet and talk with visitors.
The last misperception about K I'd like to address is that it is only for big, multinational companies. Not true. Designers, processors and end-users of all sizes can profit from attending K. It provides a once-in-three-years chance to preview innovations before they come to the United States, make contacts and exchange ideas with new suppliers, acquire market intelligence, and cultivate global partnerships with end-users and other processors. The growing globalization of the plastics industry is yet another reason why attending K is so important.
Our company welcomes inquiries about K, has extensive literature giving further information, and can provide travel services for both the trip to K and connecting side trips. For assistance, call our office in Chicago at (312) 781-5180 or fax (312) 781-5188.
Winslow is president of the U.S. subsidiary of Messe Dusseldorf, Dusseldorf Trade Shows Inc. of Chicago.