The move marks a dramatic change for the largest plastics industry event in North America. Founded by SPI in 1946, NPE has taken place at Chicago’s McCormick Place since 1971, and that venue has been linked with NPE in the minds of industry people around the world.
SPI’s leadership selected Orlando upon the recommendation of the NPE2012 Executive Committee after a systematic comparison of possible venues. The study revealed that holding NPE2012 in Orlando would provide big reductions in the chief expenses incurred by exhibitors and attendees. These reductions could save the two groups an average of 48% on utilities for booths, 19% on on-site hauling (“drayage”) and rigging services for exhibitors, 23% on lodging, and 11% on travel. The savings on travel from the U.S. Midwest—a key plastics manufacturing region with Chicago at its heart—would be even greater at 19%.
“After carrying out due diligence with an independent review of the bids on possible venues for NPE2012, the NPE Executive Committee determined that by moving the show to Orlando, SPI could save the plastics industry up to $20 million,” said James Buonomo, chairman of the SPI Board and CFO of Nypro Inc. “A savings of this magnitude will play a substantial role in SPI’s mission to stimulate our industry’s economic recovery.”
“SPI’s primary goal is to create the highest possible return on investment for both NPE exhibitors and attendees,” said Christopher Keller, vice-chairman of the SPI Board and president of The Conair Group and IPEG. “This exercise is part of SPI’s overall initiative to help infuse cash back into the plastics industry during these unprecedented economic times.”
The move to Orlando will certainly provide the industry with bottom-line benefits, affirmed John Effmann, chairman of NPE2012 and director of sales and marketing for ENTEK Manufacturing Inc. “The lower costs, simpler work rules, and more flexible logistics at the Orange County Convention Center will cut costs dramatically as well as enable SPI to build a more dynamic show experience by attracting new participants and encouraging bigger and better exhibits,” Effmann said. “The improved conditions will lead to more extensive displays of new technology and larger and more numerous machines in full-scale operation.”
SPI noted three other NPE innovations accompanying the change of venue: 1) The switch to early April from the traditional late-June dates will allow far more time for exhibitors to follow up on inquiries and leads generated before summer vacations; 2) Instead of the traditional Monday opening day, NPE2012 will start on Sunday, with educational programs and other special events; the trade show will be open from Monday through Thursday, eliminating the sparsely attended final half-day of previous shows; 3) SPI will address the longstanding wish of attendees and exhibitors that exhibits be grouped by product category.
NPE is one of the top five manufacturing trade shows in the U.S. and the largest in terms of both weight density and power draw by equipment operating on the show floor. It poses other challenges to exhibition centers because of the great size of many processing machines on display, from giant presses to towering film lines. And the show places a great demand on local capacities for dining and lodging.
“Even before considering the costs of staging NPE2012 at various locations, the NPE Operations Committee had to determine which venues could even accommodate a trade show as demanding as NPE,” explained Jim Murphy, president of Davis-Standard who chaired the NPE2009 Operations Committee and is vice chairman of NPE2012. “Our conclusion was that only Chicago and Orlando could readily meet our requirements for contiguous exhibit space, electrical capacity, and hotel availability.”
“In our comparative study of venues for NPE, Orlando demonstrated a greater range in pricing than Chicago for hotels and restaurants,” Murphy noted, “and lower costs for incidental expenses like cabs to and from the airport and convention center parking.”
SPI President and CEO William Carteaux added that SPI’s decision was not all about cost. “Orlando also was the clear winner with customer service,” Carteaux stressed. “At the end of the day, Team Orlando won the bid because of its team/community effort, professionalism, dedication to service, partnership mindset--we’re not just a customer--and innovative spirit. Orlando truly made the discernible difference!”
The Orange County Convention Center in Orlando offers 2.1 million sq ft of exhibit space in two large exhibit halls. The halls are connected by a 1500-ft walkway with moving sidewalks. Adjacent to the exhibit areas are 74 meeting rooms (235 breakouts). The total parking capacity is 8227. According to the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau Inc., there are 115,000 hotel rooms in the Orlando area, 9100 of them within walking distance from the center. Orlando International Airport is 20 minutes away.
The city of Orlando is in central Florida at the core of a metropolitan area with more than two million people. Well-known resorts and theme parks such as Walt Disney World Resort, Worlds of Discovery-- including SeaWorld Orlando and Discovery Cove, and Universal Orlando Resort have made the area an international tourist destination.
SPI’s Web site has a dedicated landing page related to the NPE2012 venue change, including background information, photos, logos and links located at www.plasticsindustry.org/goto/NPE2012Venue.