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Mark Harris, Commercial Director, Andel
Mark Harris, Commercial Director, Andel

The UK’s leading developer of specialised leak detection and environmental protection systems, Andel, has just wrapped up its Export Distributor Conference, which brought together dealers and partners from all corners of the globe including the Americas, Europe and Asia.

The South Yorkshire based company which has installed its Floodline® products in many prestigious buildings such as The Houses of Parliament, The Pentagon and Hong Kong International Airport, held its third worldwide conference virtually this year – live from its new head office in Dodworth.

The event was due to take place in person in early 2020 but was postponed due to the pandemic. With continuing uncertainty about bringing international distributors together during 2021, the Yorkshire company decided to run a virtual conference.

Delegates attended from more than 15 countries – nearly doubling that from the last conference in 2018 in the previous head office in Marsden.

Despite significant time zone differences, at its peak 23 participants from nine countries tuned in to the conference, including from the furthest possible place SE Australia, a full 10 hours in front of the UK.

With distributors in Ireland, Holland, Belgium, France, Italy, Romania, Poland, South Africa, Turkey, Israel, The Gulf, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia, the company needs to keep in touch and showcase the stream of new and under-development products and doing it online allowed this.

By pre-advertising strict time slots plus setting time aside for questions and answers and a daily ideas workshop for future development, the manufacturer was able to showcase no fewer than 11 new or updated products.

Commercial Director, Mark Harris, said: “I have spent my entire working life wedded to the concept that seeing people in the flesh is the only way to do these things. Well, even an old dog can be taught and shown new tricks!

“Of course, there is a different dynamic when we are all on a screen and the important after-hours networking over a meal and drinks was missing. However, on the final evening, we held a virtual wine tasting event lead by a connoisseur in which we pre-delivered wines to participants worldwide.

“But there is no getting away from the fact that by doing it online we engaged with 40 people - three times as many as we have ever had with us in a room. So, I score this a huge success. We showcased our products in our new conference room at the new head office we only moved into in March, all of which I believe says to our vital distributor partners that Andel is committed to exporting and has every confidence in the future.  

“Will it replace flying our export distributors to Yorkshire again? No of course not but, nor will we just abandon virtual conferencing once this awful pandemic is over. We will find a way to take the best bits of the old and the new. But one thing is for sure, I have been well and truly taught a lesson!”