If there is one skill we’ve all mastered in the past 20+ months, it’s the ability to pivot around the fallout from the pandemic. While our first trade show was a success through and through, the attendance at the International Fastener Expo’s return to Las Vegas was lower than in previous years.
Covid may have played a part in this year’s attendance at IFE, but I can’t tell you how nice it was to connect with others in the industry outside of a computer screen. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the benefits of remote work, but I do believe that balance exists between in-person and zoom meetings.
We all agreed there was a silver lining to fewer people – and I heard it throughout the show floor – and the ability to move beyond the superficial and have actual conversations. This worked in our favor as the majority of our booth visitors started a conversation with our favorite question, “So, how does it work?”. But it was also great to catch up with customers and acquaintances and log some much-needed face time, sans screen.
We run a digital transformation company. However, there is still no substitute for good, old fashioned human interaction. We all work for companies, but it’s the people and the relationships that drive this, and almost all, industries. Post-Covid, this show drove home how much this is still a thing.
Having been at the show for many years prior, our founder, Lyndon Lattie, loved being “the shiny, new thing” and enjoyed connecting with familiar faces around our technology. Krista Stephens, our sales & marketing coordinator was appreciative of the warm welcome and vibe from the Women in the Fastener Industry’s (WIFI) presence.
Even in its limited capacity, the presence of so many businesses and thousands of parts was a sight to behold, and a powerful reminder of the impact we collectively make in the supply chain and beyond. It was also an affirmation of the limitations companies feel in managing their cert requirements. Even with the most robust internal processes, many of our conversations at the booth were focused on the pain points around inbound and outbound certs. I’m not sure there’s a better feeling than sharing how SmartCert’s universal platform solves that.
I also know we all agree that it was great to get up from our desks and away from our keyboards and screens for a few days and connect in the ways we need and want to. We felt this was the perfect start to building our presence in the industry and helping companies big and small work smarter.
As an IFE newbie, I can’t say enough about my first experience, the friends I made and the memories we created. While there are unknowns related to what’s possible in coming years, I’m already looking forward to #IFE2022 and have confidence they will continue to deliver on the value and benefits of bringing people together.