Conceptualizers and Consultants, not Carpenters!

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Exhibitions are physical activities and many teams work in tandem to ensure networking and promotion of trade during an event. Aesthetics play a very significant role in the exhibition industry. While Exhibition Organisers bring the idea and capital for exhibitions, they need service providers to execute those plans. Stall Fabrication agencies are an integral part of any exhibition. Basic stall structures provided by organizers to exhibitors need to be designed and made presentable in order to attract visitors to the stall. For this purpose, Stall fabrication agencies are hired by exhibitors. These agencies build customized booths for their clients and their budget range from thousands to lacs of rupees.

The exhibitors owe a lot of success in their tradeshow participation to such agencies, who sweat out during the set-up days in dust and heat, to make sure that their client catches the most eyeballs during the event. In the 1st Meet-up of exhibition agencies organised on last month, Exhibition Showcase spoke to many agency owners & tried to figure out their concerns & challenges. There are 5000+ Fabrication agencies working in the country with a turnover of 1-5 Crores per agency, and the most common problem that was faced by all the agencies was a lack of recognition of their work in the industry.

About the contribution of stall fabrication agencies in the exhibition industry, Ankur Sarin from Deli Staple commented that “Every event/exhibition requires the collective involvement of all the stake holders. We as service providers play a major role in the smooth functioning of the event. Without us the mega events or the smallest get together will not take place. We are the ‘BACKBONE’ of the industry.” However he also mentioned that despite the necessary role played by Stall fabrication agencies, they receive 3rd grade treatment from Organizers and Venue Owners and face a lot of on-site difficulties due to that.

Writuparna Phalguni Datta, DWP Design Communication said, “the fact that designing agencies are called Stall fabricators is part of the reason behind their identity being reduced to mere carpenters.” She further added that she sees their role as Conceptualizer or Consultant. “Organisers provide octagon structure, we understand the client’s vision and make a brand statement for them at the show.

We are sandwiched in the gap between what the organisers are offering and the clients are getting.”  Writuparna Phalguni Datta has an 8-9 years experience in designing and started DWP Communications in 2015. The Agency has its own fabrications unit, set up to cut cost. With a team of 5-10 people, the agency works towards helping its clients in achieving their maximum potential at exhibitions. The facilities they provide include marketing, post lead nurturing for maximum benefits and consultancy for expansion.

Another issue faced by agencies from out of market sources is “Huge security amounts charged by the organizer and penalty being levied by them without any reasons” according to Nitin Ahuja from Angelz Exhibitions. Angelz Exhibitions has been in the industry for over 7 years and was started in 2011. They provide

services in designing, product launches, media solutions at events, exhibitions and conferences for a variety of industries including pharmaceuticals, hospitality, telecom, handicraft, and steel.

Basic facilities provided by exhibition organisers like Toilets are often cut off a day before the exhibition starts. This leads to a lot of discomfort to the people from Fabrication agencies that are working on-site. Nitin Ahuja also pointed out that even parking facilities are often not available for agencies.

The issue of copyright was highlighted by many fabrication agencies, it is an issue that needs to be solved at inter agency level. Often designs by agencies are used by either clients and other agencies without permission. In Kulpreet Ahuja’s words, “Designs are the biggest assets of Designing Agencies, but they are not safe”. Addressing the same issue Vipin Mittal, India Exhibition said “Sometimes clients use your design without your consent and when you see the design at the venue and some other vendor fabricating it, it hurts you badly. But we leave it without taking any action and I personally feel that it encourages the client to do it again. So it is my suggestion to all the agencies working in the same field that we should make some policy to avoid this kind of nuisance.” India Exhibition is a complete Design and Display Solution Company and offer its services to Domestic and International Exhibitions, it entered the industry in 2012. It is an Empanelled Agency with organizers like Messe Frankfurt, Ficci, ITEI, JJS, Service, International, CONEX.

Competition in the Fabrication Industry runs on dirty tricks and unfair play. In the 1st Meet-up, the need for rules and regulations for fabrication industries was brought forward. The formation of an association and appointment of an HR to govern the activities of the agencies is under discussion. The importance of Unity amongst fabrication agencies had been highlighted at the Meet-Up on 11th July as well. Sahil Mangla, Sapphire Media Promoters Pvt. Ltd. Said that “Price Wars are a major constraint, everyone is ready to work at any cost in the industry.” Sapphire Media Promotions Pvt. Ltd. Was found in 2009 and operates mostly in North India. Services have been provided to clients like Idea, Mahindra 2 and 3 wheelers, State Bank of India, Mi and Appo. According to Writuparna Datta, the Price Wars amongst the agencies contribute to the ill-treatment of agencies. Many fabrication agencies lower their charges to win clients over their competitors. They compensate the charges by lowering the quality of work as well. This result is exploitation of agencies by clients.

Problems faced in context of workforce were also mentioned by Ankur Sarin, “Due to non-existent entry barriers, employees tend to steal our clients and do their side business.” Varun Sagar from Dezine Display Solutions also mentioned that finding skilled workforce is often an issue. Dezine Display Solutions was found in year 1996 and has a global presence. Other than India, it also operates in Dubai, Germany, Thailand, China, North America, Turkey and Russia. Its services provided include Exhibitions, Events, POI/Pos, branded retail and exhibitions. Clientele includes companies like Nikon, Titan, Pepsi and Havells.

Changes need to be made both at the level of organizers and amongst the agencies for the agencies to receive the respect that they deserve. Recognition of their contribution in delivering the Brand identity to visitors must be acknowledged in the industry and a set of Rules and Regulations must guide the conduct of both Organisers and Agencies.

 

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