Industry Market Trends

Trade Show Preview: Divide and Conquer for IMTS Success

Apr 24, 2014

The International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago is one of the world's biggest industrial trade shows. Companies can get the most out of IMTS by sending teams in which each member has a specific role, whether to attend educational sessions, gather intelligence, or meet with potential business partners.

In today's business environment, there are countless technological and social media solutions that can connect people, but trade shows remain the age-old and best method of bringing business partners together. Industry professionals place high importance on face-to-face interactions to build and maintain relationships with suppliers and meet potential new ones. Many companies find that fielding a buying team is the most efficient and effective way to approach their trade show visits.

The International Manufacturing Technology Show, or IMTS, has long been recognized as a must-attend, face-to-face event for manufacturing technology professionals. The trade fair is the place they come together to find answers to their manufacturing problems, see new technology in action, and make new business contacts. Held in Chicago every two years, and attracting almost 2,000 exhibitors and 100,000 attendees to more than 1.2 million square feet of exhibit space, IMTS is one of the largest industrial trade shows in the world.

IMTS 2014, Sept. 8-13 at McCormick Place, will also host two co-located shows to provide visitors a complete manufacturing technology experience. Industrial Automation North America will showcase products and solutions for production automation, and Motion, Drive & Automation North America (MDA NA) will bring together the power transmission, motion control, and fluid technology sectors.

The most successful companies get the most out of IMTS by bringing a buying team in which each member has an assignment. This way, the team can use a divide-and-conquer strategy to gather and absorb information that will be of value to the entire team, as well as attend a broad range of educational conference sessions.

Who should be part of the IMTS buying team? Everyone involved in manufacturing can benefit, but people in these key roles should be at the top on the list:

- Executives

- Decision-makers involved in manufacturing equipment purchases

- Engineers who identify equipment needs

- Plant superintendents who will set up the equipment

- Operators who use the equipment and know it better than anyone else.

These buying teams become a force of change in their companies by bringing the knowledge home. They return with the ability to share best practices, success stories, and practical solutions.

Small or large, the teams that realize the most return on their investment in spending time at IMTS plan their approach before walking through the doors of McCormick Place.

Here are some tips for preparing for IMTS:

- List current priorities and business problems -- cutting costs, throughput, business development, diversification, or other specific challenges -- and find corresponding education and solution providers with whom team members should schedule meetings. This way, the exhibitor staff knows you are coming and will have the correct members available.

- Establish a scorecard for comparing and evaluating exhibitor products and services. Having this in advance will keep conversations on track and will be the key tool for evaluating potential suppliers after the show.

- Pre-register to save valuable time and save cost. Groups receive a substantial registration discount. Pre-registered attendees receive valuable information from IMTS that will help them better plan their visits.

- Register for the IMTS 2014 Conference, which focuses on education and solutions to current manufacturing problems, such as improving productivity, improving part quality, and developing a stable, competent workforce to lower the costs of manufacturing and create new levels of market demand.

Research conducted by The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) continually shows that trade show attendees say face-to-face interactions become more valuable each year. CEIR has also found that attendees value face-to-face interaction at exhibitions because it allows them more opportunities to achieve all of their objectives.


Whitney Brown is media communications manager for AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology. The International Manufacturing Technology Show, IMTS, is produced by AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology. Based in McLean, Va., AMT represents and promotes U.S.-based manufacturing technology and its members - those who design, build, sell, and service the continuously evolving technology that lies at the heart of manufacturing. For more, visit AMT's website For more information on IMTS and to register your team, visit