Blearily, for it was before dawn, I yawned and stretched. I was off to Heathrow … again!
It is good to be noting “again”; we must resume seeing see our customers face-to-face. Video conference tools such as zoom will remain important; however they are no longer a substitute for visits, now that the pandemic has become endemic and we have vaccines.
At the end of September, I’d been to visit customers in Dubai and Qatar; this time I was going to man the Norbar stand at ADIPEC, which is held in Abu Dhabi, the federal capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Then I had lined up five days working with customers in northern Oman.
On landing, I took a PCR test so that my Al Hosn app could be re-started. Without this app showing a green pass (activated following the PCR test), one could not enter the show arena, nor even a hotel. It was a minor inconvenience for the welcome feeling of greater health-security. The show organisers were expecting over 100,000 visitors from over 100 countries – the Al Hosn app was a key plank in ensuring that ADIPEC did not become a super-spreader event and is a good example of the excellent organisation that is usually routine at ADIPEC.
As usual, Peter Barlow, our regional agent, had kindly agreed to join me for the week. We have a lot of fun working together.
Having risen early to get to the showground on the Sunday morning for set-up; we arrived to find our stand in chaos. Unfortunately, the stand-builders had not seen the memo about excellent organisation ...
We were finally given our stand about 1:30pm and began to set-up. Marketing had done a superb job in Banbury packing the box with tools and display units, and we had finished the job by 5pm, just in time.
We were on the UK pavilion, organised as usual by EIC - they are excellent. Next morning, we ignored the usual invitation for exhibitors to attend the official opening as the Emir (Prince) has never bought a tool from us, and in all probability never will. Instead we finished cleaning and preparing our stand. By the appointed hour, it all looked splendid!
The show is billed as the largest oil and gas show in the world. Whilst this point is moot, Norbar’s stand had visitors from about 17 countries; including several distributors who had flown to Abu Dhabi to meet Norbar and took the opportunity to see the range of tools we had brought. These included distributors in the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia and West Africa – all of whom asked me to come visit them soon. We also had several visitors from key end-users such as ADNOC, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, whose filling stations are ubiquitous on the UAE’s motorway network. For us, it’s ADNOC’s interest in large torqueing apps that’s important. HyTorc came to see us also, they are delighted with the calibration equipment they bought from us, are pleased with our support, and have given one of their Gulf customers a recommendation to buy from Norbar – order gratefully received last week. The most common question from visitors was “What’s new this year?” The all-new PTS-68 with its lovely light gearbox was well-received.
The show lasted four days, and was widely thought to be excellent. The second and third days were especially good; we were pleased with the quality of the visitors and the leads we got.
We are still following up on those leads, but I am glad to report that we’ve already had two orders that we can trace to the show and a third order for calibration equipment that came about as a direct result of a previous visit to Dubai.
On the final evening, we packed up and gave back the crate.
The next morning, before dawn broke, I arose blearily. I yawned and stretched … I was off to Muscat.