This column debuted at the beginning of the year, covering a broad scope of topics from advancing the manufacturing revival and highlighting networking tips to planning your trip to the trade show. The countdown ticks to days remaining to IMTS 2006, presenting an optimum opportunity to draft and review a final checklist to maximize your visit and company's investment.
IMTS visitor research shows people spend an average of 1.5 days at the show. With that said, come with a clear set of objectives. Make sure your checklist includes meeting a maximum number of exhibitors to find out what's new. The myMap planning tool on IMTS.com is an excellent resource to help facilitate who you need to see and where they're located. Rank your list into "must see" and "want to see," and decide how much time you want to spend at the show and each booth.
Fred Young is no stranger to the exposition, attending a wealth of shows since the 1970s. You've probably seen Fred in our IMTS 2006 marketing campaign. As president of Forest City Gear in Roscoe, IL, his checklist includes underscoring the importance of a team approach in buying equipment. "Just a few weeks prior to the show," he says, "I sit down with key players and managers at my company to review some essential equipment purchases that would enhance our productivity, expand the range of offerings, and our ability to supply and verify top quality."
Fred does his homework and comes to the show armed with questions. He recommends researching technical issues you can explore on-site with technicians and salesmen at the show. "I look for things that insure rigidity, enhance quality, and are viable equipment," he notes. "I calculate resale value and evaluate the vendor's ability to support the equipment with service and parts. It's also a good idea to ask for a list of people who may have had the machine for a while to get their opinion."
Make sure you shop for machines that best meet your needs versus purchasing one with the lowest cost. Fred explains: "In the long term, the price differential divided by the expected longevity of the machine and potential resale of the higher quality machine will offset any immediate difference in price."
The new kids on the block at Forest City Gear even get an assignment. "They select a particular type of equipment in our company," says Fred, "then identify and compare the show offerings so they learn how to discern what is the highest value to our company."