SPA Trade Show & 83rd Conference - Report

4th April 2014

The Sheet Plant Association's Annual Trade Show & 83rd Conference took place on Monday & Tuesday, 10th -11th March at the highly prestigious venue of St George's Park, the FA Headquarters at Burton Upon Trent.

St Georges'

The Trade Show was a great success with 37 Suppliers exhibiting their wares from 1pm to 6pm on the Monday. Footfall of exhibitors and trade show visitors was 260 and it has been reported that in excess of £3 million worth of deals were done on the day.

Trade Show

Delegates were then treated to a free bar (sponsored by the exhibitors) before the evening's Gala Dinner. 160 delegates attended the dinner where after dinner speaker Jimmy Greaves waxed lyrical with a seemingly ceaseless volley of wonderfully amusing footballing anecdotes. Better still, we learned that Jimmy owned and ran a sheet plant whilst playing up front for Chelsea in the early 1960's. Jimmy Greave's encore was followed by the SPA’s charity initiative - where a plethora of impressive items (which were generously donated by members) were auctioned for Macmillan Cancer Support. SPA members rose to the occasion - raising over £11,250 for this excellent cause.

Jimmy and Tim

Following the Charity Auction delegates retired to the bar to reflect on a very successful and enjoyable day.

The Tuesday morning Conference sessions were opened by SPA Chairman, Tim Gray who, after a short welcome, swiftly introduced Dan Brunton of Brunton Publications who addressed conference by giving an industry overview before handing back to the Chairman who presented 10 new SPA member companies with their membership certificates.


The Chairman also announced the three winners of the SPA’s Supplier of the Year Awards. Winning the Bronze Award were Smurfit Kappa Cor-Trade, Silver was awarded to Hi-Tech inks, whilst the Gold Award went (not for the first time) to Board 24


The Association's AGM was rattled through at great pace and gave an overview which confirmed that SPA membership revenues have nearly doubled in recent years and that the Association made a healthy surplus last year which is to be ploughed back into new SPA Initiatives in the 12 months to come. There was then an upbeat Macro-Economic Outlook Update delivered by Tom Hooper from KPMG together with a Market Update for
the corrugated industry by Raj Bhardwaj.

Ian Grimley from Roxburgh Milkins LLP explained the SPA’s new Terms & Conditions of Sale. This was followed by a Terms & Conditions of Employment Update from the paragon of competence that is Anita Coaster of Coaster Legal.

Ian GrimleyAnita

Andy Ely of TUV Ltd delivered his Health & Safety Update with his customarily engaging style, followed by a Lean Manufacturing Update from Alan Millar of Consult It All.

N.B. All the presentations have been added to the SPA website  and can be downloaded by SPA members.

Thereafter the Trade Show continued and the Conference & Trade Show Closed at around 3pm.

All told, the event saw a record 260 delegates attend.

It was confirmed that the next SPA Conference will be held at the newly refurbished Holiday Inn at Stratford Upon Avon on 23rd June.