Interview with Mariane Ewbank Chairwoman – IELA

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Q. What is IELA. What is the role of IELA in the Global exhibition industry? What has IELA been able to achieve since its inception? Please share some statistics if you can
A. IELA is International Exhibition Logistics Associations and it means excellence on supporting the entire events chain in all aspects of logistics: customs clearance, transportation (air/sea/road), on-site handling. We are today 165 members from 54 countries. Our association was founded in 1979.

Q. How do your view the relevance of exhibitions in today’s era? How can they become even more relevant?
A. I strongly believe that Exhibitions are extremely relevant for every industry. Transformations, development of new technologies always happened and will continue – that’s evolution. But the human contact, the need, we human beings have to interact, to touch, to smell to taste and to try are un-replaceable. There is must a be solid engagement from all the segments of the events industry on working together to find ways to combine
the new technologies and actual expectations.

Q. How is the role of logistics in exhibitions evolving? What is the change happening
A. Imagine a food show without the food samples for the public to taste; a machinery show without the machines. That’s not possible, right? The freight forwarder is the key for the success of the exhibitor’s participation. Without professional support of a specialist with a wide network and expertise on logistics for events there is no show. The freight forwarder does much more than moving crates. We guide organizer and exhibitors through out different customs procedures, time frames, operations complexities. What is normal
and legal in India might not be in other countries. This guidance is priceless. Regarding changes, we have the digitalization and the reduction of the budgets for exhibitions. These are our main challenges and I am confident that once they affect the entire industry must be solved together.

Q. What are the major challenges surrounding the global exhibition logistics industry today?
A. Digitalization and the reduction of the budgets for exhibitions.

Q. What are the opportunities or bright spots for exhibition logistics industry?
A. Digitalization and all new tools allowing us to work closer to our customers.

Q. What are the upcoming trends that will influence the exhibition logistics industry?
A. Security and tracking technologies.

Q. How is the year 2018 slated to be for the Global exhibition logistics industry?
A. The projection for this year is very promising. Exhibitors and Organisers highly value working with IELA members worldwide as THE right partners in security, quality and in-time logistics.

Q. Can you share some interesting incidence where you or any member organization handled a crisis situation during exhibition, recently?
A. As per Mr. Petros Michelidakis (Director boat Düsseldorf, the world’s greatest boat & watersports show) testimonial in his interview with IELA the hand in hand work with the logistics partners (IELA members, of course) were fundamental for the boat show when due to water tide they had to move yachts and boats two days earlier. This operation saved the show and according to Mr. Michelidakis this operation was only possible because his logistics partners are extremely professional and well prepared. And that’s what IELA members are capable and always prepared to face any kind of challenge in process to contribute for the success of the show.

Q. How do you view the Indian industry? What do you personally like about the Indian scenario? How many members do you have here?
A. I see the Indian industry with a strong potential of growth. And this is not only me who see it. Big organizers are in India making shows. We have 7 members from India.

Q. Three things that you love about this exhibition logistics business?
1. Dynamism
2. Capacity to face challenges, come up with solutions for situations that most of people would consider lost
3. The importance of making the cargo reaching the booth in time and secure.

Q. Exhibitions are a busy industry and you keep travelling so often. How do you maintain work life balance?
A. I am literally married to my job. My husband Claudio Machado is my partner, which makes my life easier, and the running keeps my balance. As long as you love what you do you have the balance.

Q. What are IELA’s key events?
A. Our annual congress is key for our association and the IELA Partnering Event (open to non-members) is the key event for the industry worldwide. But actually our KEY event is the IELA WINTER SEMINAR dedicated to the youngsters, the platform where our future is built. And the key event for operation level we have also the IELA Operations Summit focused on operations.

Q. Any other feedback you would like to share
A. Yes, we, IELA, strong believe that the success of any event is based on the trust and relationship between show organizer and the suppliers. The same is for the exhibitor and the suppliers.

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