Bühler Group: turning a challenge into an opportunity
When it became clear that the cancellation of interpack due the coronavirus pandemic was only a matter of time, the idea of hosting a virtual event for customers and partners was born. Driven by the desire to provide the best digital trade fair experience for the consumer foods industry, the project team created the Bühler Virtual World in a little over two months.
“Messe Düsseldorf had to make a difficult decision today and will postpone this year’s interpack.” When the news broke on interpack’s official Twitter account on March 13, the core team had already been working intensively on a digital version of the Bühler booth.
Burkhard Böndel, Head of Corporate Communications and co-initiator of the Bühler Virtual World, vividly remembers the days and weeks when the coronavirus changed life as we knew it. “Of course there was a bit of shock initially, but with our play-to-win mindset at Bühler, I knew we would face this challenge head-on and turn it into an opportunity to show our customers that we are always there for them – no matter the circumstances.”
Collaboration and innovation
The task seemed impossible from an objective perspective. “We had to completely digitalize an entire booth for the biggest trade fair in the consumer foods industry in two months. In my 18 years in the event business, I’ve never experienced a situation like this, but from the beginning we all had this unstoppable drive to be there for our customers in a virtual set-up,” recalls Jochen Metzner, Head of Live Communications at Bühler. In no time the core team was established, and the experienced partner CueConcept was tasked with digitalizing the entire booth from a high-level virtual entrance down to machinery presentations, digital services, virtual one-to-one meetings and a live program.
The CUBIC innovation campus was turned into a gigantic film studio by the end of April with a huge green screen to pre-record presentations and host the live program of the event from May 12-15. In the meantime, the Herculean task of organizing hundreds of virtual meetings, operating a virtual registration desk 24/7 for four days and documenting all the action in the customer relationship management tool (CRM) was mastered with diligence and dedication.
A sustainable solution
As of April 30, more than 2,500 customers and partners registered to participate in this first-of-its-kind event. The live program on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 12 and 13, includes keynote speeches, for example by Germar Wacker, CEO Consumer Foods, and our partners Microsoft and Givaudan, presentations from Bühler food technologists and live demonstrations. On all four days, from Tuesday to Friday, customers can book meetings with Bühler representatives and explore the Virtual World.
Günther Sauerschnig, Global Head of Sales Consumer Foods, is counting the days until the event kicks off: “It’s been inspiring to see so many colleagues go the extra mile for our customers. We’re all excited to showcase our innovations in this one-of-a-kind format.”
Explore the Virtual World
You can experience this milestone in Bühler’s 160-year history first-hand from May 12-15 by visiting: virtualworld.buhlergroup.com