W&WP April 2004
A weakened global economy and proliferation of international trade shows leads organizers to reinvent Europe's second largest woodworking event.
By Rich Christianson
> This year's Xylexpo/Sasmil exhibition is shaping up to be smaller than two years ago, when 1,450 exhibitors occupied nearly 96,000 square meters of space.
But speaking at a Feb. 28 press conference in Venice, organizers of Italy's premier woodworking technology and furniture supply show said they are not panicking. Instead, they are rolling up their sleeves and working to transform the event slated for May 26-30 at the Milan Fairgrounds, into one they feel more accurately reflects today's needs of exhibitors and visitors alike.
Luciano Costa, president of Acimall, the Italian woodworking machinery association which sponsors Xylexpo, said, "I'd like to stress that the upcoming Xylexpo/Sasmil show will be taking place in what looks like a rather more downbeat economic scenario than we might have hoped for. Our industry is feeling the pinch, as is the entire pipeline from the forest to the furniture factory, and trade fairs the world over - reflecting the ups and downs of the global economy - just cannot thrive in isolation. On top of that, the trade fair calendar is painfully crowded and many companies simply cannot afford the necessary investment.
"As trade fair organizers, we have to make high standards and unrivaled quality the name of our game," Costa added. "Xylexpo will not be too hard hit by the slight downturn that's likely to materialize and that many other international events are experiencing. The show will come through, thanks also to the huge effort we have put into satisfying the demands of our Italian and international exhibitors," Costa said.
Costa added that considerable attention has been paid to streamlining the floor plan of the show. "Xylexpo for the first time will be set up entirely on one floor, a solution that lends itself extremely well to the type of products on display." In addition, Costa said families of products would be grouped in hubs, with panel making serving as the "backbone." Other hubs include solid timber processing machinery, painting and finishing processes, primary processing equipment, semi-finished products and components and kitchen and furniture hardware.
Luciano Caspani, Sasmil coordinator, said, "Today, more than ever, trade shows must be lean, streamlined and snappy. We trade fair organizers must do our utmost to ensure that visitors can see the most in the shortest amount of time by providing optimal services, an exhibit layout that's easy to negotiate, as well as every comfort and convenience."
SCM and Biesse Return
This year's show marks the end of an era for Xylexpo/Sasmil. The show, which has been held at the Milan Fairgrounds since 1968, will move to Milan's new world-class Rho-Pero trade fair complex in 2006. "The new facility will enable all of us to close the gap that separates us from the trade show system of other countries," Caspani said.
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