Through a joint organizational effort between two industry players, a new type of event has emerged. Biesse America and Stiles Machinery have announced the inaugural NexGen 2009, scheduled for June 8-13. The weeklong event, designed to showcase the breadth of technology offered by the companies, will take place in each of the manufacturers’ North Carolina showrooms — Biesse in Charlotte and Stiles in High Point and Gastonia.
Stephan Waltman, vice president of sales and marketing for Stiles, says the two companies had the same objective in creating a concentrated, open-house type of event for attendees to learn about products and how they work.
“We’re hoping to jump-start the recession with this kind of educational opportunity for people to see the machines and talk to experts even though we understand we are competitors. If we tried to do it ourselves, it would just be too costly and too cumbersome. This way we share the work and will have a much more successful event,” says Waltman.
The facilities open during the event will feature the companies’ latest machines in operation, and experts will be on hand to answer questions. Waltman says 400 to 500 attendees are expected, mostly from East Coast and Midwestern states. About 80 percent of attendees are likely to be experienced in the field of high-end CNC machinery and other woodworking technology, while the remainder will get acclimated to technology to help boost their businesses. This is a free event.
Waltman explained that Stiles will not exhibit at AWFS in Las Vegas in June, and that the decision was based on pure economic reasons. He says he can better justify this open house event in North Carolina because Stiles employees already live there and the machines are already set up.
“The beauty of having an event like this is that people can call to set up their own targeted experiences. They will have the opportunity to talk to an industry expert for as long as they want,” says Waltman.
The products on display will include panel saws, CNC routers, edgebanders, finishing machinery, molders and sanders. Machinery will be available for purchase at “aggressive” prices, according to the companies.
“Both Biesse and Stiles represent machinery solutions to a number of different segments in the industry. Their machines and our machines can solve challenges for panel processing and solid wood with CNC solutions and machines like sanders. We both have the ability to impact all of those different machinery solutions. It’s really quite wide-ranging,” adds Waltman.
Federico Broccoli, president and CEO of Biesse America, concedes the event is rather unusual in respect to two major competitors joining together so effectively. But he feels the competitive environment is a healthy synergy that will ultimately give a valuable experience to participants.
Compared to a trade show, this event will give attendees the attention, time and personalization they need to look over machinery, Broccoli says.
“Let’s not forget we are selling industrial technology, and every piece costs about $100,000 on average. So when you’re buying an expensive machine, I don’t think you can do this in the hurry and the pressure of the time constraints in other environments.”
The event was scheduled to not overlap with industry trade shows, such as the LIGNA Fair May 18-22 in Hannover, Germany, and the AWFS July 15-18.
“We didn’t want to hold it later in the year, because we believe that our customers are anxious to get this recession behind them, and they’ll want to do their research now,” says Waltman.
The event trail will stop at Biesse headquarters in Charlotte, the Holzma U.S. division of Stiles Machinery in Gastonia, and the Stiles regional office in High Point. Free shuttle service will be available.
For information, visit www.nexgenevent.com or call 866-285-1958.
This article originally appeared in the May 2009 issue.