WEE speaks to Mr. Sunil More, Chief Promoter – FairAct, President – IESA
It is our honor to bring to our readers the very 1st interview of 2020 with Mr. More, President IESA. WEE AFFAIRS Spoke to Mr. Sunil More on a wide spectrum of topics. The interview will give you an insight into the personal and professional life of this very experienced and ever learning Grand Master of the Exhibition & Conference industry. It will also inform you about the path taken by IESA, under his leadership as President. Read on to get to know, THE PERSON, THE LEADER, and his views on Industry & Economy.
WEE: Tell our readers about yourself, what drives you, what are your hobbies, what excites you as a person?
SM: The first question itself is a rather difficult one! Though nowadays it is a common practice to speak about oneself, I am rather a misfit! I am not sure if others agree to this, but I can say that I am a modest, down to earth, humble person!
What drives me most? Well, the announcement of an event and subsequent preparations for the same are presently the most important activities of my business life.
I have a number of hobbies. Some unfulfilled and some unusual. The top of unfulfilled hobbies is painting followed by enjoying peaceful evenings at my ancestral village home. The unusual hobbies include collecting figurines from different parts of the world of which I have a collection of more than 100 from about 50 countries where I have traveled during the past two decades. I am also a collector of coins and matchboxes!
WEE: That’s interesting! Do give the readers a little peek into your family life as well.
SM: I am married to Mrs. Anagha, who is a homemaker. We have a son, Nikhil, who lives in the US with his wife, Kiran.
WEE: Tell our readers a little bit about your journey into the field of Exhibitions, Conferences, and Events.
SM: An electrical engineering graduate with post-graduation in management, I have landed accidentally in the Exhibitions and Conferences field. After a stint as an engineer in an electrical manufacturing industry for 7 years, I joined an association representing electrical manufacturers. Apart from the usual Association work like resolving member queries, representing to the Government, etc., we started organizing technical conferences on various electrical subjects in the year 1980 followed by organizing our maiden exhibition of electrical equipment, where I was associated in various capacities since 1980 finally heading the Event since 1996 till I retire from the services of the Association in the year 2012.
The exhibition grew from 250 companies and 12,500 sqm of gross area in 1990 to 900 exhibitors and 90,000 sqm of gross exhibition area in 2012. Today, it is even bigger than in 2012! Having gained experience in handling operations of such a large event apart from conferences, we three partners started our own company, FairAct (FairAct Exhibitions and Events LLP) extending exhibition management services to exhibition organizers across India. FairAct today is proud to be associated with a large number of events organized by industry Associations as well as exhibition organizers.
WEE: How did FAIRACT EXHIBITIONS & EVENTS LLP come into existence?
SM: As mentioned above, we felt there was a need for a company that could provide operational support to the Organisers and hence, FAirAct was born.
WEE: Do share a few achievements of FAIR ACT EXHIBITIONS & EVENTS LLP with our readers.
SM: Today, FairAct offers turnkey solutions as well as management consultancy to a number of exhibition organizers. We are associated with very large exhibitions like ITME India, PLASTIVISION and bcINDIA apart from working with organizations like Indian Dental Association, Nurnberg Messe, FIEO, EEPC, etc. The unique feature of our short existence of 7 years is that almost all of our clients give us the opportunity of working with them, event after event.
Our Chennai Chapter is the most enthusiastic and progressive amongst all over regions having taken lead in organizing its own local exhibition and now a Conclave.– Mr. Sunil More, President IESA
WEE: How did your association with IESA start and how has your journey been so far?
SM: Having worked in an Association for more than 30 years, I understand the need for a common forum for the industry to collectively express its issues and difficulties as also to help each other in promoting individual’s businesses. So, FairAct was amongst the first few companies to join IESA formed to further the interests of the industry. The journey with IESA has been satisfactory so far and we at FairAct look forward to more initiatives from IESA for promoting the industry.
WEE: IESA, recently celebrated the completion of 5 years of its existence. Please share the key milestones in this short but eventful journey of IESA.
SM: IESA is still in its nascent stage of existence and is learning to improve its services and grow further. In this short span of 5 years, IESA has grown to a membership of 350 with an immediate target to reach 500 members. The annual Show, Exhibition Expo Shop is a successful exhibition of the industry where players meet in one place to explore business possibilities. We are also working on safety standards – a guide, which is expected to be released shortly.
WEE: Give us a brief overview of the work done by IESA for the Service Provider Fraternity.
SM: As explained above, bringing members on one platform is a major activity. We have now 5 regions, where regular meetings are held to discuss industry problems and also help each other for their requirements.
WEE: Do you see a change in perception in the minds of organizers towards the Service Industry?
SM: 5 years is not sufficient time to change perceptions as the first 2/3 years were spent in consolidating the Association and its activities. We are now gearing up to having a structured dialogue to help each other.
WEE: Is the Indian Service Industry at par with the Global counterparts?
SM: I am afraid, though Indian Service Industry follows a lot of good business practices, certain constraints do hamper reaching global standards. The constraints are both internal as well as external. While external constraints include working environment, time availability, lowest bidder strategies, unskilled workforce, etc., internal constraints include mindset issues, ignorance of safety norms, undercutting. Globally, the Organisers follow certain standards, which are adhered to religiously, whereas, in India, many deviations take place knowingly or unknowingly. I must add here that some progressive exhibition organizers have started specifying safety norms for service providers while working on sites.
WEE: What, according to you, are the 5 key aspects that the Service Industry needs to work on?
SM: I feel our Industry must look seriously at the safety of equipment and workforce, training manpower, standard terms of conditions – both commercial and operational, improving business dialogue amongst member companies and benchmarking itself with best business practices followed world over.
WEE: Are there any programs that IESA is currently running to impart and improve the knowledge and information of the people working in the Services Industry?
SM: We have carried out some programs for educating the people working in our industry. These include taxation programs, safety guidelines, etc. However, a structured program has not been developed so far.
WEE: IESA organizes the INDIA EXPO SHOP every year. How would you describe the response of the visitors and the enthusiasm of the participants?
SM: We will be organizing the 5th INDIA EXPO SHOP this year. The exhibition has certainly helped vendors of our industry to touch-base with their clients so as to improve their business prospects. We plan to make the Expo more inclusive to help all participants and have some ideas which are presently under discussion stage.
WEE: Recently EEMA & IESA, CHENNAI CHAPTER, organized the EVENTS TODAY CONCLAVE 2019 for the first time. How was the experience and tell us a little about the thought behind the concept?
SM: Our Chennai Chapter is the most enthusiastic and progressive amongst all over regions having taken lead in organizing its own local exhibition and now a Conclave. The Conclave was a success with a lot of ‘Take Home Value’ to it. Participants at the Conclave, not only learnt from experts but also from the fellow members who shared their ideas and experiences.
WEE: Safety of the workers and visitors to any Exhibition, Conference or Event is paramount. Is IESA conducting any training programs for the safety issues?
SM: Yes. The subject of Safety is on top of the IESA Agenda. We have already worked on safety norms for our industry and are in a final stage publishing a booklet containing ‘Guidelines’ while working on the site. We have conducted training porgrammes on fire safety in the past.
WEE: Do elaborate a little on the collaborations with International Associations and the benefits received.
SM: The benefits can be manifold. We can learn from each others’ experiences, better business practices, the new and innovative ideas being implemented by them and so on. The list can be unending!
WEE: Please elaborate on the CSR initiatives taken up by IESA.
SM: IESA has taken up CSR initiatives during the past 3 years. We organized blood donation camps in Mumbai and New Delhi; collected funds for the Kerala flood victims and helped an NGO working for the upliftment of the Tribals living in remote areas about 100 kms from Mumbai. We intend to continue these efforts in the future too.
WEE: What is the current market size of the Exhibitions, Conference, and Events Service Industry and where do you see it in the next 5 years?
SM: It is estimated that the Indian Exhibition industry size is estimated at Rs 65,000 crore with over 700 major exhibitions taking place every year and we are experiencing a growth of between 10 and 12% year on year from now on.
WEE: $ 5 Billion target and the contribution of the Exhibitions, Conference and Events Service Industry. Please share your thoughts on the matter.
SM: We believe that the exhibition industry creates a big impact on the economy. It boosts trade and motivates innovation. It is a driver for sectoral growth and has a great impact on travel, tourism, hotel reservations, etc. It helps in generating revenue for the Government through taxes and levies. Finally, it helps our own industry to grow and prosper.
WEE: What do you think is stopping the Exhibitions, Conference and Events Service Industry getting a formal ‘INDUSTRY’ recognition from the Government?
SM: I must say that as an Industry, we have not been successful in convincing the Government about the benefits it brings on the table. It is necessary for us to explain to the Government in one voice with substantial reliable data for the Government to consider our request for Industry Status.
WEE: What support do you think this industry needs from the Government?
SM: Development of infrastructure, simplification of procedures and processes, incentivizing the industry for its effort are amongst the few initiatives the Government can take to support the industry.