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Interview: Alejandro Blitstein, owner, Dodecaedro S.A.

What is Dodecaedro and what is the story behind the company?

Dodecaedro is a company based on the architectural field that developed into this industry with this perspective in mind to provide architectural quality to the tradeshow industry at a global level.

With three offices in Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and Barcelona, and with more than 20 years of consolidated growth, we’ve grown at a slow pace but with firm plans for the future. We have had the opportunity of winning international awards.

Our original intention has always been to have full control of a project, from its inception. Because of the complexity and logistics involved, we like to be prepared for any possibility and respond with certainty and good service at all levels.

Our team is formed by architects, professional designers and people with degrees related to architecture, marketing and logistics.

ECN 092014_INT_Interview.Alejandro Blitstein, Dodecaedro S.A. (headshot)

In your opinion, what are the major differences between the European, American and Latin American markets with respect to fabrication and design of exhibit booths?

Globalization has changed in some respects in the last decade, it has become a multifaceted and more dynamic than ever. However some differences are still present such as pricing. Quality has become more and more an issue in being competitive, and in some countries quality is paramount. The U.S. market apparently will still be the most advanced in this industry for the near future.

The Latin American countries have perhaps the best advantage as far as pricing concerns, but there is still the need of responsible companies to take the initiative of improving their quality. Docecaedro as a multi-national company has taken quality very seriously since we’ve been founded.

The process and quality controls are still not present in some countries; however, there is a slight gradual change happening in the last five years that is noticeable. Modernization seems to be more apparent now more than ever in relation to other more advanced markets such as the U.S.

It is not easy to find companies that have these processes in place and that follow them invariably, though they do exist companies today and more are appearing everyday with increasing international reach and capabilities.

Which market has been the most influential to the Latin American market?

Definitely the European market has by far the largest presence of the tradeshow industry in Latin America. The Asian market has had a smaller influence; however, there is a new trend with events such as IFES 2010 which was determinant in bringing new technologies and the elective options currently in existence that were presented at this event.

The language barrier has determined the influence in our market, and perhaps is the reason why the U.S. market has developed in its own fashion.

What are your thoughts on the Asian exhibition industry?

The Chinese market is the one that saw the largest increase in growth in their companies during the last decade. This is perhaps due to the constant education and cultural habits being influential in the impressive development and substantial growth in such a short period of time.

However, there is still too much to achieve for the Asian market to be at the same level as the U.S. market, which, in my opinion, still has the best education with respect to the industry.

What would be your advice to companies that want to have more global presence such as Dodecaedro?

Be aware and up-to-date on the advances in the U.S. Consider that some countries have a better system by using unionized labor. Create strategic alliances with reliable local companies. Have full constant collaboration with all parties involved in any project or show. Learn from the advances and methods, and consider very seriously quality and punctuality on any project regardless of size.

To have international reach, a company has to have all aspects I mentioned above; quality or punctuality are not sufficient anymore if a company wants to have international reach. There is the need for a professional team with familiarity on other countries industry and methods. A more profound knowledge and understanding of the cultural acumen and above all have pricing and a well-defined strategy.

Adapting and aligning with the global situation of the industry is now the only option to grow. Customers seem to be more and more aware of the excesses and are observing more carefully the related cost-benefit.

The relation between challenges and results is huge. In the future, companies in the industry must have a better understanding of all these factors before trying to globalize their operations or to further prepare even for their own local markets given that, even at that level, the repercussions on design and fabrication will be determinant for their survival.

The ethical aspect is another issue to consider. Ethics vary by country or region – while some regions or countries have more relaxed ethical rules, others are more marked and practically enforced by the industry. Therefore a readjustment by a company entering the global market is the best plan to conform with local customs and ethics, and that will assure a positive relation with the local companies and industry in general.

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