How associations are adapting to a very different future
Guido Fornelli , newly elected IELA chair , tells EW in an exclusive interview what matters most for IELA
hat matters most post-pandemic in the exhibition and event logistic sector ? Over the past 20 months our association has had several initiatives focused on strategy like IELA RELOAD , GET FUTURE READY , CONNECTED MINDS and TAILWIND . We are very grateful to have had the top industry minds joining the discussions with great outcomes achieved . Now it is time to work on the three top priorities in the new normal that are key for a successful post-Covid-business era : - Reset of our cost structure - Focus on talent - Centre strategy on sustainability .
How do you see cost-structure impacting the service providers ? Faced by the challenge of having new costs to share related to the recovery , the question is how can we convince governments to recognise this and help the supply chain recover ? Special interest should be made on creating insurance programmes including covering costs accrued from lastminute show cancellations .
Whether major players ( organisers and venues ) really can agree on general guidelines for collaboration in the new normal is crucial . Everybody should look for synergies in mitigating the impact of new safety protocols such as procuring and sharing sanitising equipment and systems for managing gatherings on the showgrounds . There is so much to be done together .
In certain countries , governments have strongly supported the exhibition and event industry but funding programmes were not always accessible to service providers . UFI ’ s Global Policy Leadership Series ( GPLS ) is a great start to catch up on this .
Which actions are needed to cultivate the talent of tomorrow ? Our industry lost a fair number of valuable employees in the last 18 months and our focus should now be to retrain the workforce .
One of IELA ’ s leitmotivs is excellence , therefore our commitment to education and training is paramount . We are already working on the next Operations Summit 2022 and are also ready to work on a joint project designed to attract new talent to our industry . New generations are looking for shorter working hours and more ‘ project related ’ jobs , mostly to create meaning in life and at work . We must highlight the strong sense of purpose that exists in our industry : We are the business which builds other business .
There needs to be a new campaign launched internationally addressing our industry ’ s purpose . We should create a workforce database ( a kind of market place ), and include specific training on social media promotion tools for sales people etc .
By using technologies , we can serve our customers better and make the work of logistics providers more interesting and appealing . Our teams love to serve smartly !
We must attract new talent for the digital transformation of our industry as well as create new alliances for the co-development of digital solutions . This important topic figures highly on the agenda of the IELA Board .
How can the exhibition and event logistic industry centre strategy on sustainability ? A sustainable future is a strategic and operational imperative . IELA supports members to set up a sustainable structure that is right for their company . The development towards sustainable events as an industry is also important . The UFI Net Zero Carbon Events initiative will impact us all heavily . Today , forwarders do not provide carbon footprint measurements of all shipments ( air / sea / land ) but will this soon be a priority for all organisers ? They are looking at ways to reduce carbon emissions and so are we .
Transportation via electric vehicles will be the future , including on site with forklifts . Modular and recycled stand materials may be more environment-friendly ( less waste ) but more storage will be required unless the new stands take up less space . The subject of recyclable and reusable packing materials / crates is on the table as innovations emerge .
The creation of new travelling solutions for freight between locations is an incredibly vast topic and we are still identifying the paths we should follow . We want to work closely with our industry partners for the reset of the exhibition industry . Each crisis has two sides of the coin : ‘ the crisis ’ and ‘ the opportunities ’. I look forward to talking with our industry peers to identify together the way forward during the 88th UFI Congress in Rotterdam .
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