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Visiting Night Shift: "Further development through archiving & documenting."

Time for a new partner story: Night Shift from Ghent brings together complimentary businesses and atmospheric trade fair concepts. Traditional network conditions are unthinkable, Night Shift is based on openness & relaxation without mutual competition. Night Shift has a strong local base, a plus point in times of globalisation. Food & drink, engaging speakers, danceable vibes and a pleasant atmosphere: but everything still affordable. Night Shift is now operating in 4 cities, according to co-founder Jean-Michel Teerlinck: "Mathieu, Maxime and I each have our own business, but a passion for events brings us together."

Red tape

The workflow was unfeasible as a result of growth. "People were registering on paper: that data then had to be recorded in Excel. From the trade fair manager to the exhibitor, from the number of modules to the exact prices. After that everything went into another Excel file, for invoicing." Night Shift offered many options. "Exhibitors could buy and lease everything via a catalogue, but that was in paper format too. They had to print the order form, complete it, scan it and finally send it. Only for us to enter everything manually in Excel again, etc."

A lot of copying, not much archiving

A hell of a job, according to Jean-Michel: "I had a large margin of error, everything was copied several times. Exhibitors did not always know which items combined best, such as a double-sided wall with accompanying spotlights. In such cases I called repeatedly to sound them out, resulting in a lot of follow-up work." Furthermore, a contact database barely existed. "After contact names we no longer knew what was said, or why people were not participating. Nothing was documented in a structured way."

Digital registration

Teamleader was already an exhibitor at Night Shift. "So we sat down together. They genuinely listened to our feedback in order to find a way of improving together. But the catalogue had to be linked to the system as well. That was achieved in consultation with our IT partner." A top-notch piece of work. "In the normal course of things, it was on the agenda for 2016, but the Kortrijk edition 1 month ago already benefited from this. Exhibitors are now registering online and enrolling for the Night Shift of their choice, including the approval of the general conditions."

Stress-relieving in terms of structure

Everything is included automatically. "How many standing tables, how many members of staff, maybe a flat screen…" Jean-Michel looks relaxed. "The Night Shift in Kortrijk was my 7th edition and the least stressful. I am very structured and involved in both the operational and the administrative side: orders, task follow-up, management and sales." A comprehensive package, and yet the time saved is tangible. "Literally days! Certainly on a monthly basis. At the same time, everyone is better informed. Detailed invoices for customers, payments received, lists of participating exhibitors…"

All in 1

The line of communication remains short. "And that includes our regional ambassadors who do their deals themselves. Previously our work structure – using Dropbox and Excel – was difficult to impose on them, now everything is centralised." 2016 will be the first reference year. "We will definitely get more out of Teamleader then. Our sales ambitions and estimated costs, for example, which are still being done in Excel at the moment." Night Shift wants to develop further. "By archiving and documenting everything, our business gains in value. I never thought that we would have got this far 2.5 years ago."

About the author

Robin Van Cleemput

Writing something about a copywriter, always tricky… If it’s bad, he’ll hate you for it. If it’s good, he’ll hate you for it because he didn’t write it himself. Although Robin isn’t quite the hateful type, on the contrary. His sharp pen makes sure you are engulfed with – hopefully positive - words our customers have to say about us. He can turn a shopping list into a genuine page turner!