In February, we exhibited at the Southern Manufacturing & Electronics show in Farnborough, which is without a doubt one of the most important and popular engineering shows in the UK calendar.

Over the years, the regional event has transformed into a fully-fledged national exhibition, which showcases a diverse range of suppliers — from big-name manufacturers to SMEs across the UK and Europe.

We thought we’d give a little personal insight into what exhibiting at a show like that actually involves. After all, it isn’t just about the week of the actual event; it takes a lot of planning beginning many months in advance!

Our Sales Director, Rob Moore, was there for the full three days of the show. Here’s his rundown of how we got on.

Rob’s insights

In the weeks leading up to the event, I was doing all sorts of prepping for the show — deciding what type of giveaways we would have, arranging the layout and location of our stand and personally collating colleague’s shirt sizes so I could go to the department store at the weekend and get the required shirts. I also had to deal with the embroidery company to get the shirts fitted out with the company logo.

Throw in all the forms you need to fill in about the carpet colour, display boards, insurance, furniture rental and so on and so on, and you soon start to understand why some companies hire project managers to do all the groundwork!

Upon arrival to set up our stand the day before, it was clear that some companies have a whopping marketing budget (I’m not jealous at all!) and that no expense had been spared.

There were lots of companies which had clearly engaged with stand builders, third-party designers and so on, who were leading teams of people on-site to erect a huge stand. This support allows the salespeople or exhibiting staff to be able to turn up to the event with the pre-erected stand, meaning they can just get on with the day-to-day stuff — what a luxury!

Then day one arrived…

Our branded shirts, bright orange ties and name badges are on; the stand is set with our PCBs on display and giveaway merchandise in place. Following a quick pre-match coffee, we were excitedly looking at the doors waiting for them to open and for the exhibition to start.

After what seemed to be a slow first hour, all of a sudden it was like someone had turned on a tap and out of it came flowing people! It’s fair to say it was like this for each of the three days.

Jerry, EMS’ Sales Representative, and I were supported each day by either Jonathan, Paul or Robert (our Managing Director, Operations Director and Quality Manager, respectively). Together, we engaged with many exciting new potential partners (as we like to call them), in addition to seeing many familiar faces.

Having been in the industry for eight and a half years now, I often forget how many people you cross paths with along the way, so it was good to see some contacts I hadn’t seen for a while!

Then, just as quickly as it started, the show was over for another year — not that we could stop just yet. It seemed like most of the other salespeople disappeared the minute the show ended, leaving the demolition of their stands to the professionals. But just as we had set up our own stand, the takedown was soon in full swing!

With this being the second year we exhibited, there was a lot we learnt and wanted to improve upon from last year — which I’m pleased to say we succeeded in doing. Going forward, we will continue to improve the way we exhibit, just as we are always progressing our technology, resources and processes across the whole of EMS.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some exciting new leads to follow up on…

If you’d like to know more about EMS or discuss your project requirements, please get in touch with our sales team on 01635 588871 or contact us via