Supply Chain Event 2021 – Back to normal?

Supply Chain event QAD DynaSys

Lockdown, curfew, working from home office, buying everything online, “you are on mute”… for more than one year, we used those words more than ever before. After a 1/2 year of working from home, I have finally had the pleasure of going to the office. My colleagues are indeed real people, and do not exist solely on my screen! It has been wonderful to finally meet them; and connect with my first customer a few months after joining QAD DynaSys. Most recently, I participated in my first trade show after such a long period of time; which was very exciting and professionally enriching!

Pre-event workout!

Regarding the planning and preparation that goes into an in-person event such as a large-scale trade show or expo, there are several different elements for companies to consider. Of course, the main focus remains the lead generation, and secondly, the networking aspect of the event. This is the opportune moment to catch up with former colleagues and partners. The supply chain industry is a very small world! It is also a great time to discover new technologies appearing in the market by going around to the different booths, and thus growing one’s professional network, and even exchanging business cards–yes they do still exist!

Additionally, it is an excellent opportunity to meet the press and get interviewed on topics of interest within the industry. There is no denying that the competition is also present. So it is always judicious to (discreetly) have a look around. Finally, and one of the most enjoyable aspects for me personally, is watching and participating in the various conferences taking place during the event.

As a former Business Developer, it was important for me to drum up as much interest as possible for QAD DynaSys prior to the show. With my colleagues from the marketing team, I contacted many registered companies of interest. The goal was to obtain a meeting with them, and to encourage them to come and stop by our booth. I also let them know about our customer feedback presentation with Maroquinerie Thomas. This pre-event outreach worked quite well, and I was very happy with the result.

Showtime!

Before I knew it, it was the big day and time to pull out my (admittedly dusty!) suit. One thing I can say for sure is that my feet did not miss being in heels during lockdown! It really felt like everything was back to normal; hopping on the metro before it was even light out (not something I particularly missed either!); but I was excited and ready to have a good expo! Upon arriving at Porte de Versailles, everything was ready to go; the company video running, pens and paper at the ready, drinks in the fridge, and the espresso machine waiting only for sleepy coffee drinkers in need of their morning dose of caffeine–it’s showtime!

The meetings we had planned were now beginning. Some people arrived on time. Ohers were late or did not show at all, although this proved to be quite rare. Others came earlier than planned, and some stopped by asking to postpone the initial meeting due to a lack of time or resources at their respective booths. 

The fact that this was a dedicated event to supply chain professionals helped a lot. Both with the quality of the people attending and the interest for QAD DynaSys’ supply chain solutions. I found this to be very motivating. 

People stopping by the booth often asked if they could take a biscuit or candy, which was a great starting point of conversation, especially once they realized that the manufacturers were our clients. 

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Maroquinerie Thomas success story conference

Several participants stayed to talk to us after watching the video on loop at our booth presenting and demonstrating QAD DynaSys’ Digital Supply Chain Planning (DSCP) solutions covering demand, distribution, production, and procurement planning, as well as sales and operations planning and DDMRP. Others wanted to know more about our activity after perusing the brochures on display.

Ready for the next editions!

Ultimately, the time flew by, and the meetings went by even faster, with each one being more interesting than the last. My favorite part of the “qualification” part of the job is going from one industry to another and discussing problems that are specific to each one. This particular expo was a good reintroduction being in Paris, and thus entirely in French. There was none of the end of day fatigue after switching back and forth between French, English, and Spanish… I am mentally preparing myself for the bigger, international expos to come when that will be necessary! 

Overall, it was great to attend such an event after this long period during which the majority of our time was spent at home. It was a welcome change to meet people in person, and it seems that the event participants were equally as happy to do so, exchanging with suppliers, consultants, and partners. While FaceTime and Zoom are great alternatives, nothing is better than or can truly replace person-to-person interactions seeing their reactions, their behavior, their body language, and facial expressions. We no longer have to guess, we can see for ourselves. 

Although the event only lasted two days; it was intense enough that I felt like it had lasted the entire week. We are adapting to a “new normal”, working from home and going into the office every so often. The fun part of the sales job begins now: following-up after these meetings and converting them into sales opportunities! 

Virginie Sabouret
Virginie has discovered Supply Chain through her work and loves it. While studying business languages, Virginie started to work in the IT industry and has dedicated herself in the logistics and the supply chain domains. She enjoys talking to retailers, manufacturers and/or 3PL using her personal experience as consumer. Virginie is now Senior Sales Executive at QAD DynaSys and convince customers and prospects with this expertise.