Having already cancelled its Spring Conference in April, the team at ENSE were facing the prospect of having to cancel the Autumn conference this September.
ENSE conferences are important dates for their members as it's the opportunity for its supplier community to have a face-to-face meeting with each of the ENSE distributor members.
It's a time to build business relationships and introduce new products, ranges and concepts. For the distributors, it's a great opportunity to meet new suppliers and keep abreast of innovation and new product development.
With all that in mind, Bob Adams (pictured) and the team made the decision to run the event online and via video conferencing.
On the 21 September, ENSE Distributors and Suppliers kicked off the industry’s first virtual conference. The feedback on the format has been extremely positive with 90% of the companies surveyed saying it was a great investment of time and extremely beneficial to building and maintaining relationships.
The conference began with supplier and distributor meetings, at which the Top 10 Suppliers and Distributors were honored for their achievements this year. In pole position on the Supplier category was Rational UK, whilst the Distributor driving with the most turnover within the community going to the Airedale Group, for the 2nd 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.”
During the conference every distributor had a chance to meet with every supplier via Zoom. Having people at home, at the office and in other parts of the world, ENSE pulled of a near flawless conference.
Phil Pearsall from CED commented, “I was fairly skeptical on how the days would go, however, the event, from our perspective, 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 had similar comments. Alistair White from KCM Catering Equipment mirrored that of Phil Pearsall by saying, “I was skeptical 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? Judging by everyone’s responses, ENSE will be using the format again. However, ENSE's commitment to the hospitality industry will also mean a return to face-to-face conference when it is safe to do so.