W14, the UK’s national joinery and furniture manufacturing exhibition opens at the NEC this Sunday 5th and runs until Wednesday 8th October. Unless you’ve just arrived in the industry during the last couple of days you are going to know that anyway!

Yes, our publicity has been at an all-time high this year. All of the trade press titles have excelled in getting the word out, especially our media partners such as Furniture  Production.  Exhibitors are filling every bit of online space with W14 fever and you only have to flip through the bulging previews in print to realise that something rather special is going on with this exhibition.

Our own online pre-registrations of visitors threatened to overwhelm us in the last few weeks (thankfully the technology held together!) and the W14 office has been working pretty much around the clock.

So, when FP editor John Legg kindly offered me this slot to ice the cake with a few pre-show words I was unsure at first what there was left to say. In a good show, exhibitors do the talking for you and, for

W14, the quality of those exhibitors is going to be obvious from the moment you walk through the NEC doors. Plans for stands and exhibits look stunning, and exhibitor announcements of product launches, live demonstrations and new attractions have flowed in a way I can’t remember since joining the show exactly 10 years ago.

Then it struck me… There is something important still to be said about this show which gives a unique insight into our industry every two years.  And it will come from you, the visiting manufacturer.

We rightly heard plenty about the difficulties of all the UK manufacturing sectors during the recession.  Now, a different story is getting a voice as manufacturers invest in machinery and design – often hand in hand as the clear revival in our manufacturing base breaks cover.  I speak to manufacturers who see themselves as product designers, keen to use the array of possibilities out there.  (Except that they are very much ‘in here’ at the NEC for our 4 open days).  If you are in the industry you are going to be at W14 – but I’m going to ask you for more than that…

I would like you to join us, and the industry media, in shouting about the new look and mood in UK manufacturing.  Tell us about investments you make at the exhibition, tweet about the good stuff you’ll most certainly see and let us hear where you are taking your own manufacturing business. Manufacturing is about to have its time in the limelight and our sector is a very sexy place to be these days.  Oh, and just for once governments of all colours are doing something real to encourage our talented manufacturers.

We’ll celebrate the most interesting news from the exhibition by sending you a bottle of champagne but the big win will be for the industry.  We all know that ours is an industry gearing up for a bright future – let’s tell the world!

The picture shows the start of the four day build-up of W14. By the time you arrive, no matter how early from Sunday, those halls will be full of pristine stands and a huge range of machinery will be whirring and a cornucopia of components and fittings will be on show – with the full excitement of an industry ready for good times. Raise your voice and tell us what YOU are doing with your time at W14.


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