Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘Research and Development’

Town Call Review: Word on the Street — July 23rd thru July 27th

July 29th, 2012 2 COMMENTS
Town Call Meeting

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Classic’s Town Call

With July almost past, I am beginning to question where summer has gone. In Oregon, it doesn’t begin until July 5. I’ve heard Mel’s wife refer to June in the Pacific Northwest as “Junuary.” Very true, particularly this year.

Well, with August around the corner, we are already in full blown busy mode. Lots and lots of designing and quoting for fall shows. Thank you very much for the new opportunities both large and small, kits and custom. From what we’ve seen, some amazing work lies ahead in the coming months.

Our sincere thanks to those distributors who attended our first Classic Town Call on Thursday. We had a very good crowd and plenty of questions. As with any new initiative, we were a little nervous, but based on your feedback, we are excited to continue this format following the end of each quarter. With each one, we’ll refine the presentation and the message.

For those who missed the call, here is a link on YouTube to the recording of the call.

Those who joined us heard about the market trends we’ve seen in the first six months of 2012,  such as:

  • Retail. More Retail Display projects, both prototypes and production runs
  • Custom. More and more true “Custom Elements” whether as standalone projects or as components of kits both inline and islands
  • Silicone Edge Graphics. SEG is not only here to stay, but it’s also becoming a “standard.” Classic is bending as many TSP profiles for SEG graphics as possible, much to the chagrin of our Production crew 🙂
  • Personnel. New Additions to the Classic Family of Employees to handle your sales growth
  • Research and Development. New Products coming such as more iPad Kiosks, and many new products that were added in the first half of the year
  • Rentals. Custom Rentals have not slowed as Purchase sales have increased. Rentals are up 20% YTD, on top of the increases over the past four years. Lots of hybrid island rentals
  • ClassicMODUL. We’re opening another regional depot in the next 45 days and if you haven’t checked the prices lately at CM . . . you should. They’ve gone down on many common profiles.

Well, I hope you take a few minutes to check out the Town Call recording and please let us know what you think. How can we make this quarterly Town Hall meeting with you even better in the future. We  want your thoughts and your constructive criticism.

For now, I am back to painting my house. Some idiot (ME) thought that this could be done in two days. Which makes sense if each day was 64 hours long.

Be well and have a great week ahead.

–Kevin Carty




Word on the Street — April 19th thru April 23rd

April 25th, 2010 1 COMMENT

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

R & D:  Seven (Not so Simple) Steps

Just writing “Seven Steps” makes it sound so simple, like it has a defined start and finish. But if you do much of it, you know it’s a living, breathing thing that never really rests. To stay ahead, you have to constantly be thinking of innovative and practical designs for your customers (See Design Monday this week for example).

Coming off my last trip that living, breathing thing was full of life. This week was all about intensive R & D planning on a series of exciting products rolling out over the next nine months. More products in a compressed time frame than I can ever remember.

So, how do you approach R & D? What are some of the steps you take? For me, I try to keep it the same and maintain a process.

My basic steps are:

  1. Develop a basic idea with a trusted team of people and partners. These can be vendors, Classic Exhibits employees from various departments, customers, or all of the above.
  2. Put the concept to paper with a great design team. I like to utilize both internal and external designers and engineers for this step. It gives you the best shot at something truly unique and infuses it with several different design perspectives.
  3. Give the designs to a trusted group of builders/creators: our Production Engineer, shop guys, and project managers. 🙂
    They know how to transform the impractical into the practical and how to re-engineer the needlessly complex into the real world simple.
  4. Get input on the initial product demos from trusted industry partners and customers. This is the tire kicking step. Will it sell and does it function according to plan? Then send it on the road to see if it’s durable.
  5. Rework it after you receive feedback.
  6. Turn over the final product details to Marketing to make it pretty on paper and e-broadcasts.
  7. Release the product to the Distributor Network.

Visionary Designs VK-1017

Now as I re-read those Seven Steps, it seems too simple, and we all know it’s not. More than anything, if you take the time to ask for input from a trusted team inside your own building and a trusted team inside your industry network, you give yourself the best chance at success. But even with all that, sometimes products never really take off  . . . or at least take a long time to take off. Look at the Visionary Designs VK-1017 for example. We spent a long time developing that kit, and it was just one kit. After we released it, it did nothing for nearly two years. Yet, when we were developing it, we were convinced that it would be a home run.

That was over three years ago. Now it sells quite well and is a very popular kit. So you never know what will be an immediate hit, what will fail, and what will take months or years to find an audience.

Take the Perfect 10 — a great example of a product line where we followed all Seven Steps to a “T.” And once released, it clicked conceptually. People loved it! Loved the design . . . loved the price . . . loved the packaging . . . loved it all.

In the end, I will always follow the Seven Steps, even though they are not so simple. I believe it gives us the best chance at success as we develop new products and designs.

How about you? What are your thoughts about Research and Development in our industry? Please comment.

Be well and have a safe and restful weekend.

–Kevin Carty