An interview about Magna ExpoMueblera in Mexico with Jürgen Köppel, CEO at Leitz and president of EUMABOIS.
Deutsche Messe AG: Mr. Köppel, you are the President of EUMABOIS, the European Federation of Woodworking Machinery Manufacturers, which represents around 850 companies. EUMABOIS advocates for its members on a variety of industry matters, including government policy, technical standards and market developments.
You also advise your members on which trade shows are the best springboards for entering particular markets. Given the healthy state of the global wood industry at the moment and the success of this year’s LIGNA show, what are your thoughts on non-German trade shows that are relevant to your membership?
Jürgen Köppel: Generally speaking, trade shows are an important – if not the most important – market development tool, especially for SMEs, which typically lack worldwide networks of in-market representatives. The challenge for these companies is to identify the most promising markets and then to develop these markets with their limited resources. EUMABOIS continually monitors and assesses relevant trade shows around the world. We use our findings to advise the companies of our national member associations on which trade fairs best fit their needs. We also advise the tradeshow companies on how to make their events more attractive. This advisory work keeps us quite busy, especially considering that tradeshow standards and thus quality differ from market to market. Of course we are always delighted when good tradeshow standards are "exported" around the world. This is important because, no matter how positive the business climate might be, trade shows are big-ticket items for our members and therefore must deliver a good return on investment – which basically means confirmed orders during and after the show.
Deutsche Messe AG: Getting back to my previous point, part of EUMABOIS’s role is to make recommendations as to which regional trade shows are of value to your industry. Key selection criteria include market size and growth and the level of international participation at the show. The European woodworking technology sector is highly export oriented. How do your member companies use international trade shows?
Jürgen Köppel: Our German members, and many of their peers in other European countries, are indeed very export focused. For these companies, regional trade fairs in key markets around the world are hugely important. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that they want every single target country to have multiple competing shows. In fact, when there are multiple events in a particular country, our members often have difficulty deciding which one is right for them. We at EUMABOIS would prefer there to be one strong show for each country, provided, of course, that there is sufficient market potential to warrant it. Apart from the selection criteria I already mentioned, when we assess trade shows, we also look at things like showground and local transport infrastructure, and the level and quality of support offered by the tradeshow organizer, etc. The objective is to build a comprehensive information base that will help our members make the right investment decisions.
Deutsche Messe AG: What is your assessment of the global market for woodworking machinery at present? And what about the Mexican market in particular?
Jürgen Köppel: The current climate for our industry is excellent overall. The USA and China are still the main growth drivers, but we are also seeing strong growth coming from small and mid-sized markets, such as Mexico. In 2016, Mexico was ranked the world’s 12th largest furniture producer, and in recent years the country’s domestic market has enjoyed double-digit growth. These sorts of figures highlight the great potential Mexico harbors for our members. Mexico’s geopolitical position is also a plus, alt-hough the current debate in the USA has put a slight dampener on the country’s growth prospects of course. Even so, I am confident that the prevailing market forces will lead to further, sustainable growth. This growth needs to be underpinned by a strong trade show – a trade fair that provides a highly professional setting in which our customers can efficiently gather information on the latest trends and technolo-gies in our industry.
Deutsche Messe AG: Last year marked the first time that Magna ExpoMueblera was staged by Deutsche Messe, the organizer of LIGNA, via its local subsidiary company Hannover Fairs México. Next year, from 17 to 20 January, the show will be in its 24th season, and Hannover Fairs México will again be solely responsible for its organization. The 2018 edition of Magna ExpoMueblera will feature a more transparent structure and a bigger international exhibitor contingent, both of which will help to consoli-date the event's position as the country’s number one trade show in its sector. It comprises two shows: Magna Expo Mueblera Industrial, which features woodworking and timber processing plant, machinery, tools and solutions; and Magna Expo Mobiliario e Interiores, which focuses on furniture and interior decoration. Each of these two constituent shows has its own distinct exhibition area within the overall event format, plus its own unique communications focus. This dual approach reflects the differing needs and interests of the different visitor target groups involved. How important is Magna ExpoMueblera from EUMABOIS’s standpoint?
Jürgen Köppel: We at EUMABOIS are very pleased about the recent changes in Mexico’s tradeshow sector because, as I mentioned earlier, for us and the members of the national industry associations we represent, it’s important to have strong trade shows in our key markets around the world – trade shows that allow us to showcase our solutions in the best possible setting. Deutsche Messe is one of our strongest partners, which is why we welcome its investment in Mexico. Deutsche Messe’s professionalism is already clearly evident in the run-up to next year’s show. A good example of this is the company’s decision to clearly distinguish the displays of woodworking and timber processing plant, machinery and accessories from the furniture and interior decorations exhibits. A clearly defined tradeshow concept and a clean separation of the two constituent flagship fairs is very important for us as exhibitors and, more im-portantly, also for trade visitors.
Deutsche Messe AG: Thank you very much for the interview.