The four “success factors” discernible in the responses to our open-ended survey question (see the article starting on page 90) should not be surprising to any business manager. Focusing on the customer, keeping up with new technology, engaging in continuous improvement and training the workforce are basic requirements that must be kept in balance at all times. No secret there.
Yet getting back to basics is a valuable exercise, often overlooked when shops are busy and managers are distracted by day-to-day pressures. Consider this recommendation: Attend IMTS as one way to strengthen and renew each one of these basic principles.
The most obvious one is the imperative to keep up with new technology. No other trade show in North America brings together such an extensive array of advanced manufacturing technology from around the world. According to show sponsor The Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT), the number of exhibitors and the amount of booth space they will occupy are up over the most recent show. Increasingly, exhibitors are structuring their displays to demonstrate complete solutions that involve related products from other exhibitors, such as cutting tools, software, monitoring systems, automation and so on. Show features such as the Emerging Technology Center and a number of technical conferences enhance IMTS as a venue to learn about new processes, techniques and applications.
Of course, taking advantage of these learning opportunities helps meet the need to train a manufacturing company’s workforce. Walking the aisles of IMTS and studying the exhibits can be an education in itself. Many companies choose to bring younger or less experienced employees to complement and reinforce their on-the-job training.
Whether IMTS represents the source of new equipment or new ideas, attending the show contributes to “continuous improvement” efforts that characterize shops on the move. Ways to advance as a leaner, greener, more integrated manufacturing enterprise will be common themes at this IMTS.
IMTS is squarely focused on technology, so how does the show enable attendees to focus on their customers? It’s not a stretch to point out the networking opportunities that abound during the six-day duration of the show. More importantly, IMTS has become a meeting point for manufacturing companies and their customers to bring together engineers, designers and planners to review or finalize projects.
For every manufacturing company aspiring to be a Top Shop, IMTS is the place to be. It’s manufacturing’s top show.