Next week is the International Manufacturing Trade Show, IMTS, which is the world's largest manufacturing trade show event. The week starts on Sunday (9/9), when I will be hosting the Manufacturing Entrepreneurship Summit at mHub, which is right down the road from IMTS. Then it's on to IMTS! This show is huge, and the days can be long. There is so much to see that you don't want to miss anything. So, here are some tips on how to survive IMTS 2018!
- Plan Ahead!
- Make a list of vendors that you would like to visit and plan those visits to avoid doubling back within an exhibit hall – or worse, bouncing between the exhibit halls.
- Make a list of technologies, processes, tools, etc that you want to learn about. For us, these have been topics like high volume drilling, precision boring, and entry-level machine automation.
- Make these lists before IMTS, as it is difficult to “plan” at the show.
- If something catches your eye, ask! Don’t be scared to go into a booth or talk to a vendor because you don’t recognize the company name or you are intimidated by a sales person.
- Be willing to say “No”! If you aren’t interested in a product, politely tell the salesperson ‘no thanks’ and move on! Tradeshow time is valuable – and limited!
- Get outside your comfort zone! Don’t spend time learning what you already know! Find new vendors, new technologies, new machines, and new tools!
- When evaluating a product, ask the salesperson its advantage over a competitor. Ask the competitor the same question.
- If you are interested in a specific product, reach out to the company ahead of time to set up an IMTS meeting. Salespeople love being able to report meetings scheduled with potential new customers and you’ll get preferred treatment!
- Talk with the “Apps person” (e.g. Application Engineer)! They are more in-the-know on technical details than salespeople.
- If you can bring a sample of your product – or even a video of what you’re trying to do – it will help you get better information from the salesperson.
- Visit Tormach! Booth 432488 (West Hall) with A.B. Tools. Tormach will have a production-beta 1100MX under power, and you can be one of the first to see it!
Quality of Life Tips:
- You are going to walk. A lot. Wear comfortable shoes and socks.
- Bring a water bottle or, better yet, a camelbak. Staying hydrated –and avoiding the concession stand lines and prices – is a key to staying in good shape throughout the day.
- We prefer a backpack – it is easier to carry SWAG and pamphlets, plus the USB battery pack, water, etc.
- Register for an Uber account ahead of time if you’re planning to head out on the town in Chicago.
- Bring a USB battery pack! We find the interior of McCormick Center seems to drain cell phone batteries. We use this $30 charge from Amazon: https://amzn.to/2PjF0mG