Commercial Laundry: David Griggs, Superior Linen Service, Muskogee, Okla.
Attending the Clean Show can be a great way to learn what is new in the market, especially for persons new to the laundry industry. There are also several good classes that a person can gain great information from.
Over the years I have made one-day trips to the show when I was specifically wanting to see one item. Other years I have spent four days at the show. I have found that a two-day trip works best for me.
I think all veteran show goers have their own philosophy that helps them get the most out of the show. Here are a few that I try to use:
- Download the show layout before you arrive in New Orleans. This will help you know where the company booths are located that you are specifically wanting to touch base with.
- Know what your purchasing mindset will be. If you are going to purchase a piece of machinery, you should get to the show early on the first day. Many manufacturers will have machinery that can be purchased at the show. At times these deals can give you significant savings, especially on larger items. Manufacturers would much rather ship the machine from the show to you versus shipping them back to their plants. But these deals usually go fast, so get there early.
- If you are going to the show to gain information on various equipment, then you would be much better served going on the last two days of the show. The show usually thins out after the first two days. Vendors have a lot more time to give you more specific details on their equipment.
Our company usually sends four of us. On our first day we usually spread out and all go our separate ways, doing a flyby of what the manufacturers have brought. Later in the day or evening we will compare notes on what we have seen. Then the following day we have a set plan on where we want to go and what we want to see.
I wish everyone safe travels, and hopefully I will see you at the show.
Equipment Manufacturing: Brock Pellerin, Pellerin Milnor Corp., Kenner, La.
With the Clean Show coming up in June, I have a couple of tips to get the most out of your experience.
I recommend trying to get plenty of rest. This show is a marathon and not a sprint. You will spend much time standing on your feet during the day and late nights with colleagues and customers
Before the show starts, make sure you are comfortable with the layout of the show room floor. Having knowledge of the layout helps you to prioritize the booths you want to visit.
Hopefully walking the whole show once is already on your agenda. Keeping abreast of new products and trends in the industry is paramount in being a successful operator. Attending the Clean Show is one of the best ways to stay on top of new trends and products. You might notice something you missed the first time around, which is why I choose to walk the show at least twice.
Networking is an underrated aspect of the Clean Show. Try to meet other operators that process similar goods as your plant. You might not be knowledgeable on an operation that a companion laundry uses to launder the same goods. Attending the Clean Show is a good way to brush up on learning about laundering best practices. Sharing ideas only leads to better operators, and you might make friends in the end.
Meeting other operators is especially important if you are considering adding another linen item to your business. If you were thinking about taking on a new linen item, having a network of associates who may help guide on the best practices to process that product would be very beneficial and help you avoid costly mistakes.
Time management is very important, too. Try to stay on a strict schedule with a customer or vendor’s time as much as possible. You also might want to attend a seminar or a lecture, so make sure you did not over book time in a booth with a seminar you want to attend.
Take breaks, stay hydrated and consider wearing comfortable shoes. The Clean Show is going to be in New Orleans and in the month of June. As a local, I can tell you it gets hot and humid in New Orleans during the summer months. If you need to sit down or take a break, do not hesitate for the respite, especially if you are coming from a less humid climate.
Enjoy New Orleans and have fun. The Convention Center is located in the Warehouse District, which is walking distance to downtown and the French Quarter, plus there are ample amounts of ride-sharing vehicles and taxis available in the event you do not want to walk.
Textiles: Gabriel Boardman, MIP Inc., Anjou, Quebec
MIP approaches the Clean Show from two angles: As an exhibitor and as a visitor. From these very different points of view, our strategies differ except in one very important aspect: Make sure to wear comfortable shoes. All that walking (it is a very big show) or standing up time (these are long show hours over four days) can become very trying.
AS A VISITOR
Before attending the show, plan your booth visits. Who are the exhibitors you must meet with? Identify their locations and plan the rest of your visit accordingly.
We try to book appointments with the suppliers we wish to meet with. You never know what traffic at booths will be like, and you want to make the most of your presence during show hours. You ensure that the individual you wish to meet will be available and won’t need to stand waiting for long periods of time.
Take advantage of the associations’ or suppliers’ social events. This ensures you will connect with colleagues that share similar interests as well as with vendors in a very relaxed atmosphere. You never know the type of connections you might make. And then of course, there is the free food and cocktails. One must know his priorities!
AS AN EXHIBITOR
Clean has so many exhibitors and attendees. We try to differentiate ourselves either by the look of the booth or the theme we focus on.
We also try to select key products/services to present instead of having a booth that overflows with everything we have in our catalog. That often leads to a feeling of confusion for potential customers and takes too much space in what is often very limited space.
When you are in the booth, make yourself available and smile. When our staff needs to rest or make a phone call, we try to make it outside the booth. In that fashion, no show attendee ever feels like they are interrupting you or being a bother when you are representing your company at the booth.
Set appointments with your key customers and ensure that you allow enough time for constructive discussions. Make sure you have an area where you can meet with them comfortable, whether it is in your booth or in the various open areas offered by the Clean organization. It allows for an even-paced discussion instead of a rushed one.
Get interested in anyone that drops by your booth. Before starting your pitch, make sure you know the person you are talking to. That way you can tailor your presentation to their needs and make them feel important.
As a supplier, you also need to attend as many associations’ events as possible, especially the ones you are a member of. You show support and meet individuals that may give you interesting pointers for the rest of the show.
IN BOTH CASES
We always found Clean to be THE show to be at for our industry. All important players are there. There are so many social events to be at, and this is where you make the connections that will last until the next Clean Show two years later.
Healthcare Laundry: Gregory Gicewicz, Sterile Surgical Systems, Tumwater, Wash.
Ah, the “The Big Easy” in late June. Succulent Creole cuisine, the birthplace of jazz, the historic French Quarter with vibrant and raucous Bourbon Street, over 400 exhibits of laundry products …Wait laundry products?
As any member of the laundry brotherhood/sisterhood worth their weight in 1.75-pound bath blankets knows, June is the time for our industry’s bi-annual trek to the Clean Show, which is hosted in New Orleans this year. With so many compelling exhibits and sessions, it can be overwhelming. With just four days, one can’t possibly do justice to every booth, meeting or activity.
In order to get maximum benefit from Clean 2019, it is best that we, well in advance of the show, carefully plan our “Before Clean” activities, our “At Clean” activities and our “After Clean” activities. I recommend the following.
Interview your plant personnel—Speak with people in your plant to understand their needs and interests. What does maintenance need? What does production need? Customer service?
Interview your customers—Speak with your customers and explain the show. What piques their interest? New linen materials possibly? New styles? Anti-microbial textiles? Educational sessions? Other innovations?
Research show exhibits & sessions—Find out which companies are exhibiting where. Identify educational and other sessions of interest.
Make a plan—Make an hourly plan of exhibits, sessions and social engagements. Don’t forget to let your team/customers know you will be out.
Attire—Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and attire. New Orleans can be sweltering in June. Expect to cover lots of ground.
Items to carry—Carry a notebook and a camera at all times (maybe even a step tracker). Bring a bag to hold all the handouts received. Snap pictures/videos of compelling exhibits. Share with your team at home where appropriate.
Observe and engage—You will see unbelievable displays of shiny new technical innovations demonstrated by skilled salespeople. They will work perfectly. Assess what may help your plant but beware and be hyper critical. It is one thing to make a piece of equipment work in an exhibit hall with a team of engineers babysitting. It is quite another to make it work long-term, hour after hour in the harsh environment of a commercial laundry.
Network—Get out there and network. Meet vendors, other laundry operators and industry experts. Your network is among your most important assets. Clean 2019 is the best opportunity in our industry to build this network.
Identify follow-ups—Identify a manageable number of follow-up products, associates and ideas.
Enjoy—Explore and experience all that New Orleans has to offer.
Reach out—Reach out to new acquaintances, thanking them for their time.
Share—Share your experiences and lessons with your team and with your customers
Research—Research key technologies and products of interest. Ideally, gather feedback from customers using these in production.
Plan—Put together a plan to implement appropriate discoveries from Clean 2019.
So, lace up those walking shoes and prepare to prepare to grab this Crescent City extravaganza by the lapels (fully launderable and reusable of course). Happy Clean Showing!
Equipment/Supply Distribution: Janice Ayers Davis, TLC Tri-State Laundry Companies, Valdosta, Ga.
Janice Ayers Davis
“Henry, great to see you, how was the flight?” The Englishman had a bright smile and lovely accent to match his yellow sports coat and colorful tie, as he inquired about his guest’s well-being at the showroom entrance door.
This is the story I recall hearing from Chris Duffett’s team regarding his diligence to make the most of the Clean Show. More importantly, there are actions I personally witnessed as he escorted his guests around, with his assistant walking alongside detailing pertinent information.
Now happily retired, Chris, former V.P. of TLC TriState Laundry Companies, recognized the importance of being present, figuratively and literally speaking. Chris was also aware that you get one chance to make a good first impression.
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Benjamin Franklin’s quote is the sum total of how to maximize various situations, including the Clean Show. Let’s start with vendor tips:
- Make telephone calls ahead to share Clean Show information with your current or would-be clients and invite them to attend.
- Share your contact information on social media, including the location of your booth. Invite people to visit you.
- Preschedule a meeting with clients who are interested. Plan a time, place and space to meet and be on time. If you are not 10 minutes early, you are late.
- Download the mobile Clean Show App to make it easier to navigate the floor.
- Escort the folks you are meeting to the specific booths that display the products of interest to them.
- Don’t overwhelm them with data, just a few facts. They will ask questions that are relevant to their operation and to their needs.
- Provide and request contact information and take an ample supply of business cards.
- Follow up with your contacts within two (2) business days after the show.
Regarding show attendees “kicking the tires” and attendees “looking to purchase,” regardless if you are interested in purchasing new products or getting further educated on industry technology:
- Travel light to the show, wear comfortable shoes and take a large backpack or bag (tons of trinkets are given away).
- Download the Clean Show App and work your way around the event in an efficient and effective manner.
- Schedule a time to meet with vendors that you are in discussion with in order to preview products of interest.
- Record information that is important to you. The faintest ink is better than the fondest memory.
- Take a small notepad and pencil, or make notes on your cell phone.
- Schedule coffee, lunch or dinner with vendors of interest.
- Have your contact information printed and ready to distribute.
- Request follow-up documentation regarding the services or products offered.
The experience will be as meaningful as you wish to make it, with your investment of time potentially rendering remarkable results. Enjoy!
Check back tomorrow for Clean Show advice from experts in chemicals, other institution laundry, consulting and uniform/workwear.