As the saying goes, timing is everything. On the heels of their successful return of their National Sales Meeting (NSM) in fall 2022, Sika USA moved full steam ahead to plan their 2023 NSM event six months later, in May. This decision was made based on the pending acquisition of MBCC Group, a chemical company in the field of construction systems and admixture systems headquartered in Mannheim, Germany. Knowing they would have many lines of diverse products new to Sika staff, and a new family of employees from MBCC Group to welcome and train, the leadership team of Sika USA decided to host another NSM to bring all employees together for two days of training, educating and relationship-building.
This time, the 2023 National Sales Meeting would be taking place over two days instead of one, with the goal of bringing together hundreds of employees to educate everyone on all the new products and services from the acquisition, while reinforcing to existing staff and introducing to new staff Sika’s upcoming strategies and target markets. The venue for such a private event was new to all—an outdoor, tented pavilion structure in Orlando, Florida.
The timing of the acquisition presented another challenge: Sika could not complete this historic business transaction without first receiving all necessary regulatory approvals and having to sell certain MBCC Group chemical admixtures assets. The acquisition was completed just two weeks before the event was to be held, meaning Sika’s event partners had to proactively plan for the pending product display and exhibit build needs for these new brands and be able to put these plans into immediate action in time for the event launch.
In proving ourselves as more than just trade show partners, Sika turned to us not only to provide the exhibits for this event like we did their 2022 NSM but called on BlueHive to become a pseudo General Contractor for the entire trade show portion of this corporate event. With our experience from the previous NSM and our turnkey trade show management approach, we swiftly and efficiently took on this new role to help Sika and their sub-divisions. This time, we were charged with the design, fabrication, shipment and installation/dismantle of 17 various-sized exhibits, as well as the logistics management, support and onsite supervision for all of Sika’s other event partners and vendors. (For instance, a separate AV company handled the design, structure and AV needs for the General Session meeting space, and we supported their logistics needs for “show” service orders.)
To accommodate the shipping and receival of such a huge volume of event assets and to ensure efficient labor control, we set up an advanced warehouse with a preferred local general contractor, just as any show organization would do. Next, we had to overcome the unique challenge of not being able to use forklifts to move in assets (due to rules/regulations of the pavilion for its raised flooring). Instead, we provided extra labor support and services with the help of our labor division, Lime I&D, and we had to offload everything in the parking lot and hand-dolly everything in.
On the creative services side, we once again worked closely with each brand team, designing unique exhibits within their varied budgets that would display their specific products as each team envisioned, and that would help attendees deepen their knowledge on how these products played into the overall services and offerings of Sika. Each exhibit needed to meet certain objectives and communicate that division’s brand personality while still showcasing the Sika corporate identity. We had clearly proven ourselves with the previous NSM; where we had handled 10 exhibit and engagement areas in 2022, for this year’s event we were tasked with almost twice as many.
And, while we try to be as proactive as possible in all our planning and logistics execution, we also proved ourselves in our ability to react and solve problems even as the event was taking place. Impending weather brought the planned “Havana Nights” outdoor evening party of Day Two of the NSM indoors. While the front two-thirds of the event space were being used for the event, we worked with Sika’s other event partners to quietly close off and reorganize the back third of the pavilion to accommodate the evening party while also breaking down assets that we could in preparation for the end of the event.
Together, we all worked to dismantle exhibits and product displays and shuffle around assets ready to be repacked for outbound shipment with the new assets needed to be set up for the party, cordoning off the area with a large black drape to hide the commotion and movement from the attendees. In theme with the overall challenges of putting on this event, timing was once again everything as we worked around and supported the other companies coming in to set up their portion of the Havana Nights party, from the furniture to the lighting, to the band that would be playing for the night.
Between the seamless collaboration of BlueHive, Lime I&D and all other event vendors and partners, the insight and vision from all our client’s brand teams, and the majestic setting of the outdoor pavilion venue—this corporate private event launched like a dream.
More than that; not one attendee knew that we had reorganized and shuffled the planned themed party while they were actively participating in the event.
And despite all the extra services rendered and emergency needs taken care of, the final balance due for the event was only 1.5% over budget from what was projected. Having Lime I&D and seasoned labor management in-house allowed us to control labor expenses and adjust our forecasting along the way and up through the event, and our open communication with the client team at every step created accurate expectations for everyone involved.
We know we can trust BlueHive and Lime to pull off a perfect show and this was no exception. We really appreciate everything you do, and we really trust the work that you do. We know there’s no problem that can’t be solved when BlueHive and Lime are involved in a project. It’s been awesome working together, as always. Once again, you knocked it out of the park for us.Brian Fernald