Well, it’s finally here. This week is FIT Show week and from Tuesday morning the hype will stop, the doors will open and the people of the industry will finally have their chance to see what is new and exciting in the industry. Or will they? There has been a lot of hype with regards to some product launches being conducted at the exhibition, and I sincerely hope that live up to the expectations that have been built for them.
Regardless, we are going to be doing a lot of learning and discovering as an industry over the coming few days, so here are five things that we’re going to learn as the dust settles and the Telford International Centre closes it’s doors late Thursday afternoon.
1. Will the game have really changed?
There have been quite a few product launches that have been built as “game changers” throughout the build up to this exhibition. This week, even as early as Tuesday, the industry and myself will get to see these new products for ourselves and really decide if they are indeed the promised game changers.
You raise the bar high when you describe product as such things. Visitors will expect something dramatic, something they have not seen before and something that could bring them new business. If those boxes are not ticked, then I’m afraid the hype will be just that, hype.
Also, I do wonder if the game does indeed need changing. There has been a lot of development and evolution in the window and door sector over the past few years. I would argue that the window and door game has changed significantly in the period of time. Does the industry genuinely need to be changed yet again?
2. New benchmarks
Regardless of whether the game is in fact changed or not, with such a large number of products being launched this week, the industry is going to have a whole new set of benchmarks in which to measure itself.
I don’t think there has ever been a time, at least not while I’ve been involved in the industry, where so many products are going to be launched at the same time. I do also wonder, with the industry coming along so far in recent years, is the UK window and door market as far behind our European friends in Germany, Austria and Scandinavia?
Perhaps still behind, but that gap has been bridged significantly.
3. The front runners
At the end of this week we shall also find out who are the companies truly pushing the boundaries of what is possible and those who are coasting.
Every company says they are the best at what they do, but when they’re all in the same building, showing off their wares, it’s the best opportunity to size them all up and see who is really top of the pile and who are the ones giving it some good old political spin!
4. Industry mood
During the three days there is going to be a lot of people talking to each other. There could be around 8000 visitors over the 3 days, which means a lot of conversations. I will of course try to speak to as many as possible.
Events like this give you a rare opportunity to really get into the mindset of the industry and gauge a genuine feel for the industry. I suspect, and hope, that the industry remains positive and reports back that business during the rest of this year is going to be brisk.
5. The path ahead
After this year’s FIT Show is over and all the products have been launched, we will begin to see in which direction the industry is going to go in over the next one, three, five and even ten years.
New product trends may appear from it all. Some ideas may never get off the ground. Some could become instant classics and be real winners for the companies making them. No matter what happens, the future for our industry in terms of product development and innovation has never been as strong as it is right now. The future looks bright, the future looks positive and we should all treat this week as a springboard to even better things.