The Electronic Distribution Show was held “live” last week for the first time since 2019. The show was started in the late 1930’s in Chicago and has evolved through the years from a typical trade show to a conference where manufacturers, distributors and sales reps can meet to review their business strategies, create alignment, and develop plans to further their growth together. It is a great venue for these activities and has been very helpful to us through the years in promoting our electronic enclosures.
A BIT OF FAMILY HISTORY
I first attended the show in 1978 and have not missed one since. As most of you know, I grew up in the industry as my grandfather started Bud in 1928. The show and its predecessors have played an important role in my life, even impacting my parents’ wedding date which had to be held in late May after the show. In 1970, my father was on the board of directors and my parents took my brothers and me to the meeting (in Carmel) which was my first real direct exposure to the show. In 1977, my father chaired the show (alas the year before I was able to attend as I was completing graduate school that year.)
MY EARLY YEARS PROMOTING ELECTRONIC ENCLOSURES
In the early years, all manufacturers had booths on the floor and our goal was to get our distributors to buy the inventory package of our newest products or to place a special stocking order. In those days, a manufacturer was less worried about the end customer and we were more focused on getting enough shelf space at the distributor to insure that they would push our electronic enclosures. We would do a “show special” and provide a discount for any inventory order that was placed at the show. Distributors would come with their anticipated order and we always had a gimmick (roll the dice to see what % discount you get, pick a card with the best discount, etc.) to encourage them to increase the order. To give you a sense of the speed of business, we would bring those orders home with us after the show to have them entered. No one ever thought about even calling them in as they could wait. There were small meeting rooms in the back of each booth where “private” conversations could be held although you wanted to be sure no competitors were nearby as it was only curtains that separated them. That would be where the real wheeling and dealing would go on.
Bud offers many different 19: cabinet racks
HIGH PRESSURE 19” CABINET RACK DEMONSTRATION
Sometime in the late ‘80’s, there was an idea developed that they would do a new product showcase program allowing manufacturers to demonstrate their most exciting new product in front of a large base of distributors. We had just introduced a new knock-down 19” cabinet rack and the key sales feature was it would only take 10 minutes to assemble. We had exactly 10 minutes allotted to us for our presentation so I took the challenge and while some were talking about their newest connector or chip, I decided to prove that I could assemble a rack rapidly. The pressure was on. There I am in my suit with a screwdriver and an assistant and beat the buzzer. It was a huge success (and probably the most entertaining of the presentations).
I was the chair of the show in 1991 a “legacy” moment as my father and I became the first father/son duo to lead the show a record that I believe still holds. Up until the early 90’s, the show would rotate locations. I attended shows in Atlanta, New Orleans, Chicago and Orlando in addition to Las Vegas. There was a belief that by rotating the show between outside of Las Vegas every so often, we would draw a broader base of local/regional distributors. Unfortunately, while that was true, the falloff in attendance outside of Las Vegas caused the board to decide to permanently hold the show in Vegas.
This year marked a return to a live meeting and EDS came back full force. For Bud, it was several days of quick but extensive meetings with our top distributors attended as well by many of our reps. Our focus this year was both on our significant growth over the last few years as well as the excitement over a broad array of new products that we are introducing this year. Yes, EDS is still a great time to discuss new products with our focus no longer on stocking packages but on how the new products fit our strategic direction and support our distributors’ efforts to broaden their customer based. It also was a chance for us to pool the collective knowledge of those in attendance to gain a sense of the direction of the industry in the near and long term future. It was a great show with great information shared and with great expectations for the rest of 2022 and into 2023.
Keep watching this blog for future features on the exciting broad array of new products that we will be introducing in the coming months.