Posted on 02 Feb, 2016 by Neil Sharp

Southern Manufacturing planning your tripArguably the UK's largest regional manufacturing technology, electronics and subcontracting exhibition, Southern Manufacturing and Electronics 2016 is fast approaching (9th – 11th February 2016).

With a large number of Electronics Manufacturing Service (EMS) providers attending the event, along with some of the UK’s top engineering firms and component distributors, the show provides an ideal platform to discover new suppliers that can make a positive impact on your busines

In order to help you get the very best from the show and make sure your time there is well spent we have put together a simple 12 point checklist which we hope you find useful.

1. Location

The show is located at Farnborough International Venue & Events – or Five as it is also known.

2. Directions

If you are planning to drive and have a SATNAV the postcode to use is GU14 6TQ. From the M3 take junction 4 and then follow the A331 to Farnborough. The show will be clearly AA signposted on all roads once you approach the venue however it is worth noting that there are planned roadworks taking place during the duration of the show so make sure you allow extra time for these. Full details of the Farnborough Queens roundabout improvement scheme can be found here.

If you are travelling by rail, air or bus please click here for further information including maps and timetables.

3. Parking

Unlike many other UK trade shows which can charge anywhere between £10 and £20, parking at Southern Manufacturing and Electronics 2016 is free with plenty of spaces around the exhibition hall.

4. Pre-registration

You can pre-register to visit the show on-line straight from the Industry South homepage. It’s recommended you do this in advance not only to avoid queuing on the day but you also receive a FREE Show Catalogue upon entry which otherwise costs £10.

 5. Floor plan

Unfortunately it’s not possible to get a copy of the latest floor plan until you arrive unless you are an exhibitor. Although the show runs annually and the majority of spaces get booked very quickly, some companies still try and book the week before! The show catalogue which is available upon entry will however have the latest copy included so make sure you either pre-register or pay the £10 to avoid walking up and down the aisles hunting for specific suppliers. An exhibitor listing is available from the homepage of the Industry South website and you can then either search by a category or company name. Each exhibitor will then have their own profile page which will tell you their stand number and other contact details.

6. Plan your route

Armed with the show catalogue and floor plan we recommend you head straight to one of the catering facilities and grab a coffee. There are two large catering areas at opposite ends of the venue along with a couple of tea and coffee lounges in each corner. Try and avoid getting distracted straight away by the impressive robotic displays or glamourous assistants keen to give you a goody bag as you walk past. Although you will have only just arrived and keen to get started we recommend taking 30 mins or so planning your day to ensure you meet all of the suppliers you intend to in the most efficient manner.

7. Make appointments

If you already know who you plan to meet then it makes sense to contact them in advance and pre book a time slot with them. Clearly your time is precious but those exhibiting will also want to make sure they give stand visitors an equal opportunity to discuss requirements. By pre booking time with key suppliers you not only get to keep control of your own schedule but also reduce the chance of turning up at the same time as other interested parties and missing an opportunity to talk.

8. Follow the activity

If you have a Twitter account the official Twitter page for Southern Manufacturing and Electronics 2016 is @Industry_co_uk and the hashtag to follow both before and during the show is #southmanf. You will find exhibitor news, guest speaker details and changes to any seminar schedules are often posted up on this platform. The official show blog also contains a number of articles and press releases submitted by exhibitors. A LinkedIn group does exist for the show (you will need to search for INDUSTRY.CO.UK) however this doesn’t appear to be quite as ‘active’ as the blog or Twitter page.

9. Recording your conversations

If you are planning to visit multiple suppliers or looking to attend the show over a couple of days you will need a quick way of capturing your conversations so you can refer back to them after the show. If you already use some kind of supplier questionnaire or checklist you may be able to adapt this easily. Determining what essential capabilities each supplier must have along with those which are ‘nice to have’ will make comparisons easier once you are back in the office.

10. Request for quote

With a number of potential partners all under one roof Southern Manufacturing and Electronics 2016 creates a perfect opportunity for benchmarking. You will certainly get a good ‘feel’ for the people behind the organisation and the knowledge they have of the products and services they offer. We would recommend however holding back from issuing out ‘live’ quote packs during the show; unless of course you are confident the supplier has the capability, quality and ability to deliver your immediate requirements. Inadvertently you may be creating artificial demand which in turn could drive pricing up or risk becoming bombarded with quotes and follow up sales calls the moment you get back. Instead we recommend using the show as a way of creating a shortlist of potential suppliers and then spending time sending tailored request for quotes (RFQ) when you are back in the office.

11. Learn something new

During the three day event Southern Manufacturing and Electronics 2016 plan to host over 25 thought provoking seminars on topics including CE marking, 3D Printing, 6 Sigma, Patents, Trade Marks and Design and Flexible Manufacturing. Typically lasting around an hour these seminars are a great way to break up your day (your feet will thank me after) whilst keeping up-to-date with a wide range of industry related topics. The seminars are taking place in 2 separate theatres which are located at opposite ends of the hall so make sure you plan these into your route also to avoid having to walk back and forth more than you need to.

12. Follow up

After all the buzz and excitement on the day it’s easy to head back into the office and then get caught up in the next/latest operational issue. However as you’ve just invested precious time in attending the show failing to follow up and make contact with the key suppliers you’ve met would be a shame. To avoid being ‘chased’ you should try and manage the supplier expectations at the show. If you need to carry out a review of your options using the information you gleaned on the day then tell the supplier they shouldn’t expect to hear from you until a certain time.

Hopefully this simple 12 point checklist on the forthcoming Southern Manufacturing and Electronics 2016 show will prove useful to you. If there are any further questions regarding the show then feel free to leave a comment below and we will do our best to answer it for you.

Achieving quality, consistency and delivery within electronics manufacturing

Image by Russ Allison Loar

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About the Author

Neil Sharp
Neil Sharp
Previously holding sales, account management and customer service roles, Neil has over 18 years’ experience within the Electronics Manufacturing Services industry. Neil heads up the marketing departme...read more