IBA Mission (Im)Possible

In the week that saw the whole country dramatically enter lockdown back in 2020, The IBA Buying Group halted its March trade show in favour of safety… but with the promise that the show WOULD go on as soon as possible. Two years on, almost to the day, and the Group finally had the opportunity to conclude its original IBA March mission. Read on as they share details of the event with EW readers.

With a portfolio of over 120 electro-technical key preferred supply partners on negotiated terms, this is the second of two main trade shows that The IBA runs every year to maximise networking and engagement time and showcase product.

Held at DoubleTree by Hilton Forest Pines Spa & Golf Resort, most delegates had stayed the evening prior to attend a Casino night. Familiar faces met again, new faces were warmly welcomed and conversation flowed.

IBA members were tasked with a ‘Mission ImPossible’ to commercially visit as many of the 42 stands as possible in the time allowed. Tom Cruise is reputed to undertake all his own stunts, climbing the world’s tallest buildings and jumping from planes. Our members were asked not to perform dangerous stunts and we banned all helicopters, but their mission, should they choose to accept it, was to embrace the event as positively and fully as possible. The challenge was laid, and the members were set. Friendly competition grew and we could clearly see how seriously some members undertook this action-packed challenge – could they, couldn’t they visit them all?

The success of the show-room is reliant on the collaboration of The IBA, its members and supply partners, so it was a pleasure to see the room so vibrant and buzzing with almost 200 delegates dedicated to the task at hand. As with any good action film, innovative ‘gadgets’ were in abundance, with Link2Home aptly exhibiting their Security Control App. Heatmat raised the temperature and took ‘Best Stand’ concept ‘UP’ to a new level. Both Link2Home and Heatmat were voted by the membership as Winners of the “Best Stand” competition.

Oliver Nicholas of Lightsave joined in 2021, and said of his first March show: “Today’s trade show was brilliantly set up and we had the opportunity to see existing suppliers but also to meet prospective suppliers which was great food for thought.”

The event saw a special partnership in Jack Stokes from Greenwood Lighting attending with his grandfather, Harry Greenwood, who has been a valued part of The IBA community since the start.

Post-event, all delegates were asked for their honest views. “Excellent engagement”; “Great discussions”; “Workable and realistic leads.” One comment especially sums up the serious commercial element to our IBA trade shows… “The Orders!”

The IBA was founded in 1993, with a mission to become the go-to Buying Group for established Independent electrical wholesalers. This ongoing mission has seen Independents join from all over the UK to fortify the Group. Paul Jenner, IBA COO, said: “2021 was an incredibly successful year for the Group, generating record spend for our suppliers and enjoying record rebates for our members. As a Group, we have set ourselves a mission to reach the 100 member mark.”

Just like ‘Tom’, IBA members don’t send in their second ‘body double’ to act for them. They are hands-on, industry focussed, like-minded businesses who join together in their common mission. The morning’s AGM saw member elections to the Board and Commercial Committee within the IBA Leadership team. IBA Chairman, Russ Gratton of Recon Electrical, said: “The IBA’s key focus to be the go-to Buying Group for any established Independent Electrical Wholesaler can only be achieved by providing every member with their best return on investment into the Group, along with the best negotiated supply deals possible. The networking and transactional success of the March trade show proves that we are heading in the right direction. Being built and run by our members, for our members, not only holds the IBA Board to account, but also means that the Board, as Independent Wholesalers ourselves, are 100% focussed on providing that promise for every member company.”

The word at the end of the day is POSSIBILITY. Impressively, six members had proven the day’s fun task was Mission Possible by visiting all 42 stands. But there is a seriousness to The IBA storyline: a continuous show of engagement, collaboration and fulfilment. There’s no stopping IBA members, only new and exciting ways to grow!

For more information, visit https://theiba.co.uk/

Posted in: Industry News