As you might expect, it comes as no surprise that the number one reason contractors tell me that they attend AHR Expo is to see new products. According to the post-show survey we did at the 2014 AHR Expo, 94% of attendees said they came to the world’s largest HVACR marketplace to see “what’s new.” 91% of respondents said they were interested in finding new suppliers, which is another way of seeing “what’s new.”
While these statistics tell about the overall value of the show, I didn’t fully appreciate the true bottom line impact it can have on a contractor’s business until an attendee came to the show office during a recent show and relayed the following story.
It seems this contractor came to the previous AHR Expo looking for a specific solution to improve his operations. He said his field technicians were taking too long to file paperwork on the jobs they completed and his office staff couldn’t read the field techs’ written notes so they wouldn’t bill some expenses. He realized his business was carrying much more inventory than necessary because the techs were so late filing their paperwork, and his cash flow was suffering because he couldn’t get his billing done on a timely basis.
He decided to visit the Software Center on the show floor where there were numerous vendors that had business management systems. One exhibitor had caught his attention with a pre-show email that stated how they could dramatically improve his company’s operations and profitability, so he decided to stop by their booth. To make a long story short, the contractor worked with the software company to initiate a very cost effective program that used his technicians existing smart phones to capture all the billing information at the jobsite and send it via email to the office where accounting could drop the billing information into a template and automatically send it to the customer. It allowed them to immediately know what inventory was in stock, freed his technicians from cumbersome paperwork so that they could handle more jobs. He said this reduced costly billing errors and improved his cash flow. They also used the system to remind field techs that there were specials being offered on various products and services so they could up-sell the customers’ onsite.
The bottom line? He estimated that it already saved his company thousands of dollars and increased billings that will have a positive impact on his business.
This is just one example, of many I am sure, where the show directly impacted a contractor’s business.
We look forward to welcoming you to the 2015 AHR Expo in Chicago, January 26-28 and invite you to stop by the Show Office and share your experiences.
Clay Stevens is President of the International Exposition Company.