ScotPlant 2014 – another successful trade show at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, witnessed magnificent machine debuts and the usual flurry of big-money deals, top class leads and serious enquiries.One of the biggest success stories was Hardox Wearparts Stirling. Their commercial manager Gordon Cameron was thrilled with the amount of business done, including one order which could provide three months’ worth of work.
“The show’s been great for us,” he beamed. “We took about £150,000 worth of real, tangible enquiries in one day alone.
“On the Friday we had 30 real enquiries, mainly on buckets. In fact, even if we hadn’t come back for the second day the show would have been more than worthwhile.
“Most of the enquiries we had came from people we didn’t previously know, though we also had some existing customers interested in our new product ranges and things they didn’t even realise we provided.
“The organisation of the event was flawless. We had no complaints whatsoever, everything was really straightforward. We had lots of footfall and passing traffic.”
Pat Bulcock, Managing Director at Steelwrist UK was also delighted when Project Plant caught up with him on the Saturday morning. “We’re having a storming show!” he said. “It’s the best one ever for us, we’ve done £65,000 worth of deals this morning alone. It just goes to show, if you make an effort on presentation it’s all worthwhile.
“Interest has been fantastic. We’ve had some great buyers, some proper business owners, so from our point of view it’s been amazing.
“This is our third ScotPlant. Scotland’s a big business area for us.
“The industry is growing stronger day by day. We’ve had our best quarter so far and certainly Scotland seems to be at the head of that. To come here and exhibit was a “had to be” for us and it’s paying off.”
Case Construction had the biggest stand in the history of ScotPlant and used the event to introduce their new Scottish dealer – Hodge Plant.
Scott Freeman, Business Director for Case Construction UK and Ireland, said “Hodge Plant will bring us a lot of long-term business, especially in the heavy-line products where Case is really strong. Hodge Plant is well known in Scotland, an excellent family business. With this partnership I would hope that in the next three years Case will probably be the market leader in Scotland.
“The Scottish market is absolutely imperative for us. We’ve got lots of customers, all we need now is a good solid distribution.”
One of the highlights on the Case stand was their rodeo event.
“The Case Rodeo is something we do every year,” Scott added. “We’re looking for the best operators in the business so we can take a UK team to our European challenge in Paris to compete against all the different countries in Europe.
“The ScotPlant show is always good and has been successful for us over the years. Case has always been very loyal to ScotPlant, we recognise it’s a big part of the industry so we have to be here and will be in the future.
“All the people here are key people in the business. There’s been a lot of interest in the wheel loaders and excavators.”
Finning’s John Gallacher, who looks after product support for the west coast and central belt of Scotland, took time out to explain the Caterpillar Operator Challenge which held its Scottish heats at ScotPlant.
“The challenge tests the prowess of operators in Scotland. Much of it gets quite personal but it’s a long established challenge. In July there is a regional final which heads towards a European final in September.
“There are six props, each one has a tee and a golf ball. The operators have to use their expertise to lift each golf ball and drop them into the bucket. We’ve had some very quick times including one guy who managed to get all six balls in the bucket in just over two minutes.
“Finning has been one of the longest established companies at ScotPlant. Primarily it’s always revolved around machine sales for us but this year has been a bit different. Product support has played a big part, which is every bit as important as the machine sales so we’ve encompassed both to give a more complete offering to our customers.
“This is my second time at ScotPlant with Finning and on both occasions it’s been very positive.
“A lot of our customers will use ScotPlant as a springboard to buy new machines and some will hold off from buying until this event. There are always deals to be had here.
“The industry right now is very buoyant. As everybody knows it’s been a very trying time but the housing industry has picked up and some big contracts have been awarded.
“We’ll be back again in two years time.”
Alan Kane, Marketing Manager for Blue Group, said, “The ScotPlant exhibition is an excellent event for us because it enables us to target the Scottish market and also the north east. We try to use it to showcase new products to this specific target market. ScotPlant gives us a perfect medium to communicate with those guys.
“One thing we certainly say with ScotPlant in terms of the volume of people is that it’s the right people – a lot of buyers, a lot of owners and also a lot of plant operators who are massively important to the whole buying process. These guys need to comfortable with the machines they’re operating or using on site and they play a big part.
“Trade shows form an important part of the marketing mix. These guys like to touch and feel the machines, they’re big toys effectively. It’s okay seeing a brochure or a video on the website but trade shows have a massive part to play.”
Carl Longhorne, Regional Sales Manager for Liebherr GB, responsible for the northern region and Ireland, said, “We’re here to introduce new products to the UK market. It’s a good opportunity for us to show them to the general public for the first time and get the word out there about Liebherr and our product range.
“We’ve always sold machines from this show, which is always a bonus, and it’s always been very successful. It’s not what you get over the show, it’s what you get over the period of a few months afterwards.
“We always get loads of enquiries and take a lot of leads.
“These shows are very important, especially with the launch of new products and technology. A lot of people don’t see that and it’s a good opportunity to show the range of products.
“We’ve had really good feedback this morning. A lot of people are surprised about the way Liebherr’s moved forward with technology and different design developments which benefit the industries we produce machines for.
“We’ll be back at ScotPlant again in two years, without a doubt.”
Graham Dobbs from inspHire said, “ScotPlant’s new to me though the company itself has exhibited here for a number of years now. What I’ve found is that there’s a lot of our existing customers that potentially we don’t get to see very often and it’s great that they’re coming onto the stand and we’ve been able to show them the new stuff that’s available in our software.
“We’ve been able to see new customers as well so we’re getting to see the end users as well as business owners, which is pretty important for us.
“I like these sort of exhibitions as there’s a lot of nice equipment on display and it does bring the crowds in.
“The visitors to ScotPlant have most definitely been our target market.”
Rupert Craven, Sales Director (UK and Ireland) for Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, said, “We sell construction, agricultural and transportation equipment from our site in the UK at Donington Park.
“ScotPlant is excellent. There’s a good market up here, a lot of end users and contractors. I can see the Scottish market becoming a considerable part of our business.
“I’ve been to ScotPlant before as a visitor. This year it’s been good to have a base where people can come and see you. If you have a stand you gets lot of people walking by and think “Oh that’s interesting, what’s this about?”, ask the questions and lead on from there.
“These shows are very important as everybody is busy through the week and through the year. People have made an effort to stop their work for a bit, come here to the show so it’s great you can catch people and have that 5-10 minute conversation which you’d normally have to drive a long way, organise a meeting and interrupt their work for.”
Ben Pilkington, IT & Marketing Manager for Fuel Proof, said, “We’ve had six confirmed orders so far and sold three fuel-cube tanks for £1,000 each. We’ve been to ScotPlant a few times now – it’s a good event with serious buyers.”