The recent trip to Singapore for the 3-day BEX Asia trade show was a fantastic opportunity to expand focus from China alone to include the South East Asian market, and gauge what the design and construction industry there felt about TILT’s designs and service offerings.
Once again, Dominion House facilitated an opportunity for me to present TILT Industrial Design’s capabilities to several architectural firms in Singapore which was a great success. Not only did it offer a chance to meet and develop relationships with international architects, but we have also been fortunate to have received several invitations to submit proposals and been offered referrals to other firms as a result.
What has buoyed me in this exploration of international markets is that the problems TILT can design solutions for appear to be global. In the case of skylights designed for providing rooftop access, the desire for an architect to maximize build height, utilize standard architectural staircase dimensions and still provide an aesthetic outcome, is the same wherever in the world you are.
The overall feel of the trade show in Singapore was more of a ‘melting pot’ with enquiries coming from over 10 different countries. There is also a higher level of English spoken which made it more engaging for me personally as I was able to communicate more easily with visitors to our stand whereas in China I am more restricted due to the language barrier.
As I have at the China shows, I had the chance to present at BEX and although I received an equally positive response in China, the level of comprehension was higher and translated to a more participatory question time on this trip.
Much smaller in size than China trade shows, the Singapore show was consistent with the scope we see in Australia. There was also a strong international presence of architects and developers who had flown into the city specifically for the event which is not something we often see in Australia and, in my view, contributed to a better quality of lead.
The absence of a strong manufacturing sector in Singapore means there was a particular interest in Australian designed and made products and, as I continue to participate more in international markets I make sure to listen and understand what different markets think about working with a team from Australia. In particular, I listen for any barriers to overcome. My experience suggests the distance is perceived as somewhat of a risk but, having said that, the challenges of location are not new ones in architectural design and we must learn to manage expectations when presenting TILT’s offerings and working remotely.
In late November we will head back to China for Guangzhou Design Week, which will wrap up our calendar year of international trade shows. Although going offshore is no magic bullet, my instinct says this international trade show investment has been a good option for global business development. Although certainly more time consuming and not without difficulty, I am inclined to believe the focus on offshore markets are worthwhile for TILT given the potential returns.
Tim Phillips, Managing Director, TILT Industrial Design