In light of current economic conditions, the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. has put in place what it calls an economic stimulus of financial incentives designed to lower the overall cost of exhibiting at NPE2009 and to prevent exhibitors from incurring unexpected move-in and move-out costs.
Show sponsor SPI announced the move March 16. It paid immediate dividends when officials of Nissei Plastic Industrial Co. Ltd., who earlier said Nissei would pull out of the show, announced March 20 that the Japanese injection press supplier reversed that decision, and will exhibit at NPE2009.
Exhibitors with less than 4,000 square feet will get an across-the-board credit of $1.50 per square foot that amounts to a 32 percent discount on the cost of general exhibit contracting services, according to Washington-based SPI. Companies with more than 4,000 square feet will get a one-time move-in allowance to help reduce those costs.
The maximum credit will be $150 for a small exhibitor, $4,500 for a large exhibitor.
Nissei was among several machinery manufacturers that announced they would not be exhibiting at the triennial show, which runs June 22-26 in Chicago, because they could not justify the cost amid the economic downturn. (Others that have officially pulled out are Netstal-Maschinen AG, Japan Steel Works Ltd., ACS Group and, most recently, Dukane Corp.)
SPI President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Carteaux said he is hopeful the incentives will lure some of those companies back. We are in extended discussions with people who are out, and some might be back in, he said.
That's what happened with Nissei, said Nobu Kobayashi, marketing team coordinator of Nissei America Inc. of Anaheim, Calif. This is all made possible by SPI's very generous package. Without that, we couldn't have done it, he said.
Nissei America is going to cut the size of its booth in half. Originally, Nissei was going to take seven or eight injection molding machines to a booth measuring 8,800 square feet. Now, Kobayashi said, Nissei will bring three presses to its 4,400-square-foot booth in the South Hall of McCormick Place.
Carteaux recently made a personal visit to Hozumi Yoda, president of Nissei Plastic Industrial, based in Nagano, Japan.
Kobayashi said Nissei leaders appreciate Carteaux's personal attention and passion to NPE2009, to try to make it successful.
Despite the pullouts, the number of exhibitors at NPE is up 130 from 2006 to more than 1,700 for this year's show, said Gene Sanders, vice president of trade shows for SPI. But the total amount of exhibit space is slightly down at 830,000 square feet, he said.
In another cost-controlling measure, SPI said exhibitors' move-in and move-out expenses will be fixed through a partnership with Dallas-based corporate event management firm Freeman Co. The program is called SPI's smart value pricing. In the past, exhibitors had negotiated such costs with individual unions and trades.
The biggest complaint in the past has been the [cost] of the trades in Chicago, Carteaux said. The price will be based on square footage, so companies will know ahead of time what those costs will be.
SPI is trying to arrange for a similar pricing structure from the companies that provide utilities to McCormick Place. SPI also is working to reduce its NPE operating costs by $3 million and would pass the savings along to exhibitors. A big chunk of that is coming off the margins that SPI would make off the show, Carteaux said.
Right now we are in uncharted waters with the global economic crisis, he said. That is why SPI's executive leadership is taking extraordinary measures to encourage exhibitors and attendees to participate in NPE.
We are taking a balanced, formulaic approach based on square footage and weight of exhibits because we recognize that the large machinery manufacturers will incur higher costs, Carteaux said.
SPI also will offer discounts to all attendees and greater savings for group delegations and for SPI member companies.
SPI will roll back the cost to attend NPE from $80 down to $60 the same price as in 2006 for advance registrants. In addition, each exhibitor will receive twice as many VIP passes for complimentary registration 40 per 100 square feet of exhibit space to give to prospects and customers. Carteaux said that amounts to about 340,000 free passes compared with 170,000 three years ago.
NPE attendance in 2006 was 64,000. SPI has projected attendance of 75,000 this year. SPI officials said that paid attendance figures are ahead of where they were three years ago, but added it is difficult to project attendance numbers until the middle of April, when registrations tend to start arriving in earnest. However, Carteaux did say that he expects companies attending the show to send smaller buying teams than in the past.
I believe the [attendance] numbers will be reflective of the economy, he said. We are very confident that NPE2009 will be a great event because of all the things we are doing differently, such as collocated events including Antec, the industry's largest technical exhibition.
Meanwhile, officials with one of the largest machinery makers, KraussMaffei AG, are really looking carefully at whether to exhibit, spokesman Matthias Andreesen said.
We are putting a close eye on the NPE. We have to say that as far as costs, NPE is the most expensive trade show in our industry, said Andreesen, head of communications and marketing at the Munich, Germany-based firm. Carteaux planned to visit March 20 with top KraussMaffei executives in Germany.