An intrepid group of us headed to Houston last week to take our first dip in the Facility Management trade show pool. Actually, we’re more of a ‘jump in head first/cannonball’ kind of company, so we went all in and shipped over our snazzy new 10’x20’ booth, unique yet useful giveaways, and a boatload of optimism. After over 300 conversations, a few dozen walks around the showroom floor, several lattes, and innumerable snacks (including M&Ms, popcorn, and cupcakes complete with a toppings bar), we realized it was insightful and a lot of fun being the new kid on the block. Here are some tidbits we felt compelled to share:

  • The IWMS/CAFM industry is huge! And there’s no cookie cutter formula for what a company in this space should be comprised of. While our research had helped us come to this conclusion, it was affirming to see it in person. Most vendors have their own perspective on how to provide value to facility managers…some try to address every issue under the sun while others have chosen to focus on one specific pain point. The range in offerings led to some interesting and friendly discussions about future opportunities and partnerships, which was a really nice bonus.
  • Our perspective has depth. Having started in the basement, we’ve spent years at the logistical ground zero of most facilities. We understand what the facility manager needs because we already get what their mailroom, warehouse, repro, and service teams need.
  • Facility managers should let down their hair. Apparently all the vendors secretly got together and decided that attendees needed to relax while they perused the showroom floor. Stress balls, massages, playful coloring books, luscious lip balm, laid back music, events in the park, and lots of snacks all cued people to unwind and pamper themselves as they strolled about. No reason why making big logistical decisions for your organization can’t also be relaxing, right?
  • Paper is dead, trees rejoice. Not a shocking revelation, but certainly good to confirm as we expand evermore into the realm of automated processes, check-ins, validations, approvals, denials etc.
  • Dueling piano bars are actually pretty fun. Especially with a room full of inebriated trade show people who’ve just let down their hair, this is a surprisingly amusing way to cap off an evening.