Enjoying the 2018 Safety Trade Shows

Great customer service never goes out of style.

My 2018 trade show season kicked off in early February as Grainger presented its 14th Grainger Show inside the Orange County Convention Center's West Concourse. The company generously hosts a few trade press editors each year and brings thousands of its customers to the event, giving them face time with their Grainger representatives and also the representatives of about 700 exhibitors in the event's expo hall. The vendors were showcasing everything from realistic welder training stations to waterproof paper, LED lighting, fall protection gear, PPE of all kinds, tools, ladders, hazmat containers, lubricants, locks, degreasers, spill cleanup materials, and a host of other products used every day by industrial operations of all kinds. If you needed a product for managing your facilities' MRO and safety needs, this was an ideal place to find it.

This Orlando experience reminded me of the value of industry trade shows throughout the year, including the big ones I'm lucky enough to attend: AIHce EXP, ASSE's annual national conference, VPPPA's Safety+ national conference, and the National Safety Congress & Expo. I've attended the giant A+A conference in Germany twice, and it's been a very impressive event each time.

Beyond the new products that industry suppliers develop, these meetings educate me about upcoming regulations and best practices, as well as issues that safety and health professionals are trying to solve (regardless of whether these pros are readers of our magazine or part of the audience for our websites, webinars, and newsletters).

A case in point: A gentleman sitting next to me on my flight to Orlando said he would be hunting at the show for lightweight FR garments to protect workers in his company's steel plants from molten steel. He also wanted to find new fittings for pneumatic hoses that would be easier for workers to use, he said. What impressed me most during our conversation were his examples of working with two manufacturers on customized safety products. In one case, a company created a product this steel industry customer asked for even though he needed only about 30 of them initially, he said.

That's great customer service—something I see routinely from many supplier companies—and it never goes out of style.


This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

About the Author

Jerry Laws is Editor of Occupational Health & Safety magazine, which is owned by 1105 Media Inc.

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