It’s not what you know …
SABOA conference – a networking opportunity for operators and OEMs. The recent Southern African Bus Operators Association (SABOA) annual conference proved to be an outstanding success.
The conference serves as a good platform for bus operators, OEMs, related suppliers and the public transport industry in general to network and strengthen the industry’s participation in the broader economy, according to Ray Karshagen, executive board member, MAN Truck & Bus SA.
MAN has been involved in sponsoring the conference for many years, and once again had a strong presence. “With more than 400 delegates in attendance, the conference is a premium event at which OEMs and suppliers can display their products, latest technology and show their capabilities that translate into benefits for the customers,” he said.
“From an OEM and supplier perspective, the event provides an excellent networking opportunity, which in turn gives operators the opportunity to be exposed to products and services that are new in the market, and it enables them to remain in touch with these latest developments,” said Karshagen.
The various sponsors exhibits were set up during the afternoon prior to the conference and networking began in earnest during the pre-conference dinner in the evening, and that set the trend for the duration of the conference the next day.
Associate members sponsor the conference by taking indoor exhibition space for setting up displays, as well as in the outdoor exhibition area, and require a return on their investment through exposure to potential customers and business partners. This year, as a change from previous practice, the refreshments and lunches were served in the proximity of the exhibition stands, which created an excellent opportunity for delegates to spend more time viewing the exhibition stands and networking with associates, OEMs and other suppliers.
Besides the already established bus operators, this conference was attended by many new entrants into the public transport market, including many smaller businesses and SMME (Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises) operators.
“The quality of speakers was very good and the papers they delivered were relevant,” said Karshagen, “especially in the light of developments in the industry around BRT implementations, the Division of Revenue Act, the introduction of the Customer Protection Act, and fuel efficiency related matters.”