Each issue, a Gear Solutions editor talks with experienced leaders from companies across the industry to learn about their offerings, philosophy, technology, processes, and customer relationships.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am the president of TopGun Consulting based in Scottsdale, Arizona, as a manufacturing consultant with a focus on helping companies seek new opportunities for business development and quality improvement as well as in crafting aggressive strategies to achieve a competitive advantage. I work with all levels of employees, from shop floor technicians to the CEO, establishing an atmosphere of open communication that can enable change to happen quickly and productively.
Please give us an overview on the upcoming IMTS 2016.
If you haven’t considered attending this year’s IMTS (International Manufacturing Technology Show) in Chicago on September 12-17, 2016, it’s not too late.
Over 2,000 exhibitors from 112 countries along with over 100,000 attendees will go to McCormick Place in Chicago to see the state of the art in manufacturing. The show is organized into pavilions that group similar types of machines or technologies together to simplify your search for your needs. There are also other exhibitions occurring at the same time at McCormick Place as well as a full range of seminars and educational opportunities. There is over 1.3 million square feet of exhibitor space. The East and West buildings will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the North, C Hall, and South buildings will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
What are the benefits in attending IMTS?
Technology is literally changing daily in the manufacturing world. What wasn’t possible yesterday, now is. The exhibitors at IMTS can show you their latest and greatest products from small packaging supplies and techniques to the largest of machine tools.
Some of the reasons to go to the show may not be as obvious as just seeing new machines and services. You might consider the following:
- Finalizing a purchase of a machine or service right there at the show. Many, if not all, of the vendors will attempt to close an open proposal by offering, “show pricing.” This could involve price or freight discounts or even offering to sell machines right off the floor of the show to relieve them from shipping it back to their offices or showrooms.
- Initiate a machine or service purchase by engaging the companies in person to show you are serious about a purchase by coming to their booth instead of just requesting information online.
How long should attendees plan for the show?
The show is six days long, and you could spend that entire time walking the show to see everything.
I’d suggest that you narrow your search to a short list of needs. On the show website, there is a planner where you can search for vendors you know and/or search for products by type. Using this planner, you can develop a list of booths and therefore reduce your time walking. I suggest you bring a very comfortable pair of shoes to wear. Your feet will be happier at the end of the day. And food is available at the show.
As for hotel rooms, many of the choice hotels are booked and have been for a long time. However, you should check on the IMTS website when you register and book rooms you’ll need. Taxis are available and provide easy access to the show, hotels, Chicago-area restaurants, and other attractions.
What gear-related machines and services will be exhibited?
The show is organized into pavilions based on themes. The Gear Generation pavilion is located in the North Building, Hall B. In looking at the list of exhibitors in this pavilion, you’ll be able to talk with and see most if not all of the major gear machine manufacturers as well as support services. While many of these exhibitors were at Gear Expo 2015, there are some from other countries that will be in Chicago that were not in Detroit.
What tips do you have for attending IMTS?
I think it is important to go to a show like IMTS with an open mind and explore technology and systems that may not be what you are currently using. Also, you may want to look at support items or technology that adds to or automates a process that is causing you bottlenecks.
Perhaps you’ve thought of looking for a different way of packaging your products for transportation to and from vendors or to your customers. Robotics, ERP, and other software technology will be there on display for you to take a look and start your process to purchase these items. Remember, if you are not advancing the way you are producing a product, your competitors will be. While these new technologies may not be inexpensive (some are though), you must find a way to continually improve your process. I recall that during one of my company’s trips to IMTS, we were in desperate need of a drill sharpener and looked around until we found one that frankly was very affordable yet solved a pain-in-the-neck problem.
If you are planning on closing a deal at the show, let your salesperson know you are planning on going to the show, arrange an appointment, and bring a purchase order or PO number. Nothing motivates a salesperson like a PO and telling them you are going to place it with a vendor at this show.
In short, check out the IMTS site for more info, wear a comfortable pair of shoes, and prepare to be amazed.
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