Industry buying consortium ENSE has reported success in the new online format of its biannual conference.
Having already cancelled its spring conference in April, the buying group was facing the prospect of calling off its autumn conference in September too.
But ENSE UK MD Bob Adams and the team instead decided to run the event online and via video conferencing on 21 September.
This gave the opportunity for the group’s supplier community to have a face to face, albeit remote, meeting with each distributor member, to build business relationships and introduce new products, ranges and concepts. While the distributors themselves could meet new suppliers and keep abreast of innovation and new product development.
ENSE reports that the feedback on the format has been positive, with 90% of the companies surveyed saying it was a great investment of time and beneficial to building and maintaining relationships.
The conference began with supplier and distributor meetings, at which the top 10 suppliers and distributors were honoured for their achievements this year. In pole position in the supplier category was Rational UK, whilst the distributor generating the most turnover within the community was the Airedale Group, for the second year in a row.
After the meeting, Airedale’s Barry Acton stated: “Airedale is proud to be recognised once again as the leader of the ENSE pack. Despite the difficult trading conditions currently, Airedale is approaching 2021 with a bold and positive agenda and ENSE is very much at the forefront of our commercial strategy.”
The conference utilised the Zoom platform to facilitate the online meetings. One participant, Phil Pearsall from CED, commented: “I was fairly sceptical on how the days would go, however, from our perspective the event went extremely smoothly and by far exceeded expectations.”
Danny Boore from EAIS added: “I was amazed at how economical and efficient the conference was handled, as well as giving the opportunity to see new faces attending.”
Finally, Scott Jones from True Refrigeration stated, “The whole 2020 autumn conference went like clockwork. I was super pleased with the positivity of nearly all the distributors.”
Many distributors reportedly had similar comments. Alistair White from KCM Catering Equipment mirrored those of Pearsall by saying: “I was sceptical at first as to how it would work, however, it was practically flawless, quite an achievement – probably setting an industry leading standard.”
Post pandemic is this format here to stay? According to ENSE’s Adams: “Judging by everyone’s responses, ENSE will be using the format again. However, our commitment to the hospitality industry will also mean a return to face to face conference when it is safe to do so.”