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American Trade Shows facilitate networking for future growth

Trade shows are a key component for building a network and growing sales in North America. Opportunities for finding new suppliers, customers, learning from industry experts and following the latest trends put trade shows high on companies’ agendas.

Trade shows are crucial venues for doing business in the U.S. These venues offer companies the opportunity to showcase and demonstrate new products and services and learn from other industry players. Accessing and networking with high-level company representatives is one of the most valuable aspects of a trade show. According to a study conducted by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), 86 percent of show attendees are decision-makers or influence buying decisions at their company. However, in order to maximize trade show participation, planning ahead is key, and it’s important to set a goal before attending. If networking is the goal, then ensuring the desired contacts are attending the trade show is key. This can be done by checking exhibitor and attendee lists. Business Sweden actively works to support local networking and facilitates Swedish companies’ attendance at a number of trade shows throughout the year.

Swedish companies build their network at OTC

Bringing together more than 68,000 of the world’s leading experts and decision-makers in the offshore energy industry, the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) is an important event for Swedish companies within this industry.

The annual conference is held in Houston, Texas, each May, and this year’s conference had more than 2,600 companies exhibiting their products and services. The exhibition floor was sold out before the conference opened and was the third-largest in show history at 672,300 ft², including outdoor exhibits. Business Sweden has been organizing the Swedish Pavilion for 43 years and has built a solid foundation for demonstrating Sweden's breadth and depth within offshore technology. Every year, ten Swedish companies get the opportunity to exhibit in Business Sweden’s booth at the conference. 

This year’s participating companies within the Swedish Pavilion included: Bassoe Technology, Bodycote, Gunnebo Industries, LKAB Minerals, MCT Brattberg, Ovako, Ramnäs Bruk, Sandvik Materials Technology, SKF,  and Quintus Technologies AB. 

OTC 2016 featured 11 panel sessions, 24 executive keynote presentations, and more than 325 technical paper presentations. The presentations covered a wide variety of topics, including future industry directions, operational integrity and risk management and were held by speakers from international and national oil companies, federal and regional government officials, and academia.

In addition to presenting insights from industry experts and the latest technology, OTC offers an excellent opportunity to network and connect with some of the leading companies within the offshore oil and gas field. Business Sweden arranges specific events in order to facilitate networking for the partnered companies. This year, Business Sweden hosted one evening networking event and one in-booth networking event. 

In-boothEvening networking

In-booth and evening networking event hosted by Business Sweden.

Sandvik was one of the Swedish companies attending OTC, and Sandvik’s Regional Sales Manager Leandro Finzetto attended the conference for the twelfth year.

“OTC is a great exposure for our company and our products and a good conference to attend. The conference is a great opening to meet with our customers as well as with our customers’ customers, and to meet challenges and define opportunities for the industry in general. Exhibiting together with other companies from Sweden is valuable and leverage together with the Swedish pavilion is a win-win relation as Sandvik is a reputable company in the industry, which of course also adds to the context,” says Leandro Finzetto, Regional Sales Manager, Oil & Gas Americas at Sandvik.

Navigating in a declining industry

The oil and gas industry is facing the second year of low commodity prices, causing significant stress for companies. Global oil and gas markets experienced large revenue declines (estimated at 10-20%) from 2014 to 2015, and companies sought new ways to cut costs and meet the new conditions.

In challenging times, the need for sharing industry knowledge about technology, strategy, and cost-reducing initiatives is vital. As such, the focus areas of this year’s OTC included strategies to decrease project expenses, increase operational efficiency, and enhance solutions to stay safe and competitive in a difficult environment.

Industry conditions had an impact on this year’s OTC. Sandvik, however, still found the show valuable. 

“The industry has been through a downturn and that is reflected in this years’ number of participants. Some companies have travelling restrictions and visitors from outside the U.S. and from outside Texas were reduced a little bit. However, the relevant network we wanted to meet was still present,” says Leandro Finzetto.

Business Sweden representatives also noticed the changes at OTC.

“With an oil price just below 50 USD it is interesting to see that the exhibitors in the main hall are all the same as last year. The main companies in the offshore industry are not slowing down in building their market position for the future, rather following for the next move from the large oil producers in the world that impacts the oil price,” says Björn Olofsson, Trade Commissioner, Business Sweden USA.

Companies have already started reserving their spots for next year’s OTC, which will take place in Houston, Texas, USA, May 1-4th, 2017.