Story of Exhibition Stall Builders
Story of Exhibition Stall Builders
Author: Mr. Aanand Kharbanda, an industry stalwart with experience of more than 30 years.
An Exhibition plays a vital role in boosting the economy. An Exhibition is attended by all the key players, thus making it an ideal platform for a company to exhibit. In a span of 2 – 3 days one can assess competition, meet suppliers and strike a deal with prospective buyers.
It is a delight to be in an industry that caters to the ever-expanding Exhibition Industry. An Exhibition Stall Builder is an unseen force working behind the scenes in the Exhibition Industry. It has been a privilege to get an opportunity to work with the finest and most ingenious group of people. We can create mesmerizingly beautiful and jaw-droppingly complicated structures in a matter of days. It is our creation which makes the Exhibitions appear impressive and noteworthy. The business of Stall Building is very exciting and innovative but it is fraught with many vices.
Lack of Understanding
As an industry, I believe we have been lacking in conveying to our clients and other stakeholders, WHAT WE DO! I have met many clients who would say – ‘Wall hi to khari karni hai’! Many clients will come up with last-minute demands at the venue and expect them to be fulfilled. As they say, there are good and bad in every field. You will find good and informed clients, who will have a structured approach to their requirements. They treat us as their partners and not as mere service providers. But, More often than not we encounter clients that do not treat Exhibition Stall Builders as their partners. They are more prone to equate our fraternity with Carpenters! With this mindset, we cannot expect to see any DIGNITY OF LABOUR in our industry. All of us who have executed projects abroad are aware of the difference in the professionalism of Clients as well as Stall Builders. We should strive to achieve an equilibrium between Professionalism and our set ways of working.
Lack of Entry Barrier
Anyone can enter the industry and flourish. It is a very open Industry and is always on the lookout for young and fresh talent. Exhibition Stall Builder seems to be a very easy job profile. In reality, it is just the opposite and requires a great deal of expertise to run a successful business in this field. Since it is not a Capital dependent business there are many young boys and girls who test the waters from time to time. What these youngsters do not understand is that it requires a level of commitment and standing to cater to the varied needs of the client. To stay on the business one also requires an appetite for loss and a certain degree of risk-taking. Competition, is healthy is good for the industry but in order to book orders, these Fly-by-Night operators give an unrealistic price for a stall. They incur losses and spoil the market price as well. We also face the issue of over-smart / dishonest employees that try to run their own side business by stealing our clients! The customer also falls prey to cheap rates given by them and in the end suffers from poor execution issues.
Work Schedule of Exhibition Stall Builders
Exhibition Stall Builders hire the most hard-working professionals one can find. Exhibition Stall Builder needs to work round the clock to meet the deadline. The organisers of exhibitions have adopted international standards of safety and working conditions. The same needs to percolate down to the Exhibition Stall Builders as well. In the course of adopting international standards what went missing is the need to provide adequate time for execution the task of Stall Fabrication. To meet the deadline, we usually get 48 hours. It is sometimes too little a time and the work-force needs to work non-stop. This brings the response time of workers and makes them prone to mistakes and accidents. We should strive as a community to regulate the working hours. This will ensure better work standards and in turn, provide better work quality.
Swatch Bharat – A Reality far away!
Even after a massive push given to the Swachh Bharat Mission by the government, some of the venues have yet to catch up. Pragati Maidan of the past had some major issues in this regard. The washrooms in the halls were always closed during setup days. The washrooms outside the halls, that were kept open, were not very hygienic and used to be locked after 8:00 pm. I hope that the new avatar of Pragati Maidan has taken cognizance of these issues. Relatively newer venues like IEML have ready infrastructure to cater to such needs.
The Way Forward
This industry has given me everything and now I see my future in giving back to the industry and society at large. To better the existing awesome industry we should strive for the following:
1. A better understanding, among clients, of what we do and how important it is!
2. Reasonable price with justified profits. Stop underquoting!
3. Reference check before hiring Employees. Weed out the dishonest.
4. The dignity of Labour. Better working conditions for employees and labor.
5. Insist on Hygienic working conditions at venues. Talk to Organisers and Venue owners.
6. Sensitize the Hall managers and Security staff towards the dignity of the Exhibition Stall Builder.
This is my first attempt in penning my thoughts, will look forward to constructive criticism and comments.