Interview with Małgorzata Ryttel, Member of the Management Board of Maxpol Ltd.

Friday, 30 January, 2015 Food From Poland 21/2015
This year, Maxpol celebrates its 25th anniversary of operations. What events were the so-called “milestones” in the company’s development?
The establishment of the company in 1990 took place after completion of construction investments within the territory of former USSR, conducted by a group of Polish enterprises. The project was supervised by the then Agent for Raw Material Investments in the former USSR, Tadeusz Michalak, the present President of the Management Board at PPH Maxpol Sp. z o.o. Implementation of the LEO-POL programme in Lvov became the foundation for our operation. Until 1939 Lvov was the venue for multi-trade fairs that were later reactivated in 1990 on our initiative.  The project was accepted and was generally supported by the city authorities and Walery Antoniuk, the Chief Editor of “Galicyjskie kontrakty” [Galicia contracts] newspaper. The organisation of these fairs, with significant attendance  by Polish entrepreneurs, showed that maintaining the current and developing new commercial contacts with the East is worth it. The geographical vicinity, knowledge of foreign languages and the cultural situation, as well as fundamental political and economical changes facilitated commencement of international cooperation in the new reality. After the fairs, we expanded the list of offered events with the following Ukrainian cities: Kiev, Dniepropietrowsk, Donetsk, Kryvyi Rih. Concurrently, we began the organisation of fairs in Minsk in Belarus and in Kaliningrad. Since 1993, we have been holding fairs in many European countries. Currently, we organise fairs around the world.

How have the standards of installations and equipment of exhibition stands changed in this period?

The development was always connected with the exhibitor’s intention to present their product in the most effective manner. This industry, similar to others, was  characterised by technical progress. The innovations regarded materials used to construct the stand installation itself, from the SIMA system to OCTANOROMY and MAXIMY systems, and introduction of multimedia solutions in the stands. Today, we build a significant number of stands according to customised projects with equipment providing the best presentation of the product.

“Satisfaction of our Clients is our motto” - this is the Maxpol  philosophy of operation...

Our credo, since the beginning of the company has been our clients' satisfaction. The systematic growth of the number of suppliers and the expansion of the group of patrons, annually participating in multiple fairs, allowed us to gain recognition also from the trade institutions. The activities  we have conducted have been assessed positively and have received the prestigious title of  Fairs Service Leader. We’ve also received recommendation from the Polish Fair Industry Chamber.

Year 2014 is behind us. What was that period like for Maxpol?

It was a very good year. We organised the participation of 135 companies in 20 fairs.  We built stands with a total area of 2 300 square meters in 20 countries. I believe we’ll improve these results in 2015.

What directions were the most popular among the Polish exhibitors in the agricultural and food industry in the last year?

The most popular directions in the food industry in 2014 were: United Arab Emirates, China, South Africa, Great Britain and Germany.

There still is this conviction that the Internet is a replacement for trade fairs. This, however, is probably not true... In what way can the new Polish companies be convinced to actively participate in foreign fairs?

The Internet is a tool to transfer information and correspondence with partners, but this is only a part of marketing. This form of communication cannot replace what the fairs can provide. The benefits of participating in fairs include the possibility of direct contact with the clients, the so-called B2B meeting, possibility to familiarise oneself with the products, negotiation of the conditions of potential cooperation. These are the main assumptions of fairs. It is an obvious principle that fine feathers make fine birds. The client’s success is influenced by the installations on the stand and the ability to present the product. The promotion of the company abroad is also supported by governmental and non-governmental organisations that help in obtaining subsdies for fairs and economic missions.

Polish exporters cooperating with your company are very well familiarised with  and appreciate the high quality and professionalism in your approach to performance of duties, both at the organisation and during the fairs. Could you please give us with more details what “organisation of foreign fairs”, the service that you provide, means?

Organisation of foreign fairs is a broad notion. The clients decide themselves on the scope of our cooperation and they can decide, which services we should provide for them. The main services include: renting of the stand area, accreditation of the company with entry into the fair's catalogue, development of the stand design, ordering of power supply and water connection from the main organiser according to the project, ordering insurance and cleaning of the stand from the main organiser, ordering of entry passes, parking cards and invitations for the clients, booking of accommodation and plane tickets, transfer of clients on the airport-hotel-airport route and everyday hotel-fairs-hotel transport, transport of the exhibitor's exhibits from Poland to the fair location, along with direct delivery to the stand. Furthermore, on special request from the entrepreneur, we mediate in the hiring of translators and hostesses for the duration of the fair and provide conference halls for uninterrupted negotiations and shows.  

What this means is that a company that has not yet exhibited its products on any foreign trade fair has nothing to fear, and can count on full support from the Maxpol staff...

Of course. This is, after all, our job.  If the client is properly serviced and is satisfied with the participation in the organised fairs, he returns to us.

How can one start cooperating with Maxpol? Is it necessary to book the exhibition area in advance?

We can be contacted by e-mail and phone. Our employees will prepare an offer for the fairs selected by the interested client. Here, I should mention that some of the fairs organised by us are so popular that the clients enter for them immediately after the given edition ends to ensure a spot for the next one.  Long-term cooperation with foreign organisers allows us to book the area in advance, making it possible to offer favourable participation conditions to our exhibitors.

What projections connected with the “fair” business have you got for the coming years? What destinations will be the leading ones for the agricultural and food product exporters? What foreign fair events should be entered, as fixed, in the calendar of a Polish exporter?

I look towards the future with optimism. I believe that the fairs have no successor and they will keep developing. It is difficult to speak about the export direction of particular products. Some trade fairs are highly specialised, such as the International Sweets and Biscuits Fair ISM in Cologne, attended each year by representatives of the confectionary industry from around the world. The International Food Fair ANUGA are also prestigious fairs held in Cologne. Apart from those mentioned above, great recognition is also given to: „PRODEXPO” in Moscow, „IFE” in London, „PLMA’s – World of Private Label” in Amsterdam, „SIAL” in Shanghai, Sao Paulo, Abu Dhabi and Paris. Our food trade schedule includes 53 fair events. It is always the exhibitor who choses the expansion direction. We can only base our actions on experience, assessing the attendance at the given fairs.

Thank you for the interview and wish you all success in the incoming years.
Tomasz Pańczyk, Editor-In_

tagi: maxpol, ryttel, trade fair, warsaw,

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