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Behind the glitz and glamour of Auto Expo

autos Updated: Jan 16, 2012 15:14 IST
Vivek Sinha
Vivek Sinha
Hindustan Times
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The recently concluded 11th edition of the Delhi Auto Expo will go down as another successful showbiz adored by glitzy cars, sleek bikes, svelte models and glamorous film stars, yet a crucial cog that makes this jamboree is quietly forgotten.

Behind this razzmatazz and glam lie an intricate plan executed by scores of small entrepreneurs in event management, technology solution providers, logistics and freight forwarder companies.

Over the years, this has grown into a Rs 500-crore industry that functions like a well-oiled machine, ready to take off to the next city soon after completing one big event.

"There is no re-take when we are on the job," Sanjay Seth, general manager, Siddhartha Logistics told HT. "Everything needs to be done with 200% accuracy." Siddhartha Logistics is among three major logistic service providers — RE Rogers and Orient Marine Lines being the other two —that work for auto firms to bring their vehicle-shipments from various Indian ports inside the Pragati Maidan in large containers and help in display of vehicles.

“Even a minor scratch on the car-to-be-displayed means we have committed a major error in our job,” said Seth. “Thankfully this does not happen.”

It is not only the logistic providers who run on a tight rope, even the caterers who serve 5-star continental dishes to business visitors are on their toes, all the time. “Strict fire safety norms mean we cannot use gas stoves to cook food inside the lounges,” said Himanshu Bose, assistant general manager of Gurgaon-based Epicurean Hospitality Services. “So we get cooked food from our kitchen at Noida which gets unloaded at the gates and this hot food is transferred by our ten spot boys to the lounge.” Epicurean arranges for business parties at Expos and catered to the Tatas, Bosch and AMW, among others, at this Auto Expo.

Ditto for electrical engineers, fire safety workers, scavengers and private security personnel, who over the years have mastered the art of walking the tight rope at exhibitions.

In fact, each such company has a core team that consists of 15-20 “exhibition specialists” and hires temporary staff depending on the work load at any exhibition.

Also, given the intense workload one would expect tempers to run high among them. However, it is quite the opposite. “We do compete with each other to bag contracts, but once inside the venue we are the best buddies,” said Seth. “Each one alerts the other if there is an emergency that needs urgent attention.”

The next big gathering of these exhibition specialists? Well, it is from 18 to 22 January at the Bombay Exhibition Center in Mumbai for Elecrama — a B2B exhibition for the power sector.