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The Fuel Distribution Forum - networking at its very best
A full version of the following article will appear in the April edition of Fuel Oil News:
"The Fuel Distribution Forum is a great opportunity for distributors and suppliers to get together, talk to each other, share notes and learn from each others' businesses," says independent oil industry analyst Rod Prowse, of specialist consultancy, Marathon Associates.
This year's Forum is being held in Portugal for two days during the middle of June.
Rod was chairman of last year's inaugural Forum held in Marbella. He comments, "Those who experienced the event last year - especially the speed meetings - gained considerable beneft. They were exposed to products and services which normally they would never have had the chance to see or hear about. It really was networking at its best, and many business opportunities presented themselves."
He continues, "Those who have never been to one of these events really don't know what they are missing - it's a great opportuity to meet others in the same industry, share experiences and generally learn from each other. Last year's Marbella event was an extremely friendly gathering of like-minds. Hopefully June's Portugal event will be similar and attract even more distributors and suppliers.
"There are always those who decide at the last minute to attend such events. Fuel Oil News carries a lot of weight in this respect - it's the magazine that everyone in the industry reads. So, if they read about the benefits and the opporuities that the Forum offers, I am sure more will sign up for it." adds Rod.
One supplier particularly looking forward to its second year at the Forum is Touchstar Technologies - a Manchester-based business, specialising in mobile computing systems for the fuel distribution, petroleum and LPG industries. For the past two decades, the company has supplied its own range of rugged, hand-held computers and applications software to businesses around the world. Current users include BP Amoco, Shell, Air Products, Eurostar and more than 40% of the world's airlines.
Mike Smith, account manager at Touchstar Technologies, says: "Last year's Fuel Distribution Forum in Marbella was certainly very worthwhile - we were able to talk to a lot of people who we wouldn't usually come into contact with. Meeting new people is what it's all about. In Spain, we picked up several very positive busines leads, some of which have, or are about to come to fruition.
"We attend many exhibitions, a lot of which can be hit and miss. But the Fuel Distribution Forum was different - hence our attendance for a second year. If it's anything like last year's event, we will meet a group of new people - and some old friends - and hopefully it will be beneficial for everyone concerned."
Reynolds Logistics - the Ellesmere Port specialists in the distribution of bulk fuels, lubricants, bitumen, specialist liquids and hazardous goods throughout Europe - is another company attending the forum for the second year. Operations director, Chris Dlaton, explains: "We are actually attending on two counts - as a buyer and as a seller.
"As a logistics company operating 270 vehicles, it's always useful to learn what's new in the industry. But also, as a national operator, we hope to be able to talk to distributors who could really do with our services.
"Last year the Forum was a good event for us; we met many people from the industry and made some good contacts. We also picked up some business and we are still talking to various companies which, hopefully, could lead to even more business."
The conference had very high take-home value for us. Your ability to gather so many key buyers from all over Africa in one location for rapid fire meetings is a great benefit to our company.
Richard Abrams, KSS Fuels
OpenRoom runs a global portfolio of B2B forums and its business model is built around the success of combining networking with focused, pre-matched appointments.
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