MODEX 2020 Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know Before You Go
Attending trade shows is a great way for companies to learn more about new technology, changes in their industry, their competition, and their vendors. They can also be a great way to drum up business and fill gaps in the sales pipeline.
Unfortunately, getting real value out of trade shows and conferences takes more than just showing up. You’ve got to come prepared with a plan of action, or else it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of possibilities. For instance, you may find yourself asking: Where do you stop? Who do you talk to? Where should you network, and where are the hotspots?
Did we miss you at MODEX 2020? Still happy to connect!
If you’re attending MODEX 2020, planning ahead can take a lot of the confusion out of the equation and help you get the most value out of the conference as possible.
What is MODEX? Why should my team attend?
Powered by the Material Handling Industry (MHI), MODEX is one of the largest trade shows for professionals working in the field of supply chain logistics. MODEX 2020 is scheduled to take place in Atlanta, Georgia from March 9-12, 2020. The conference itself will take place at the Georgia World Congress Center located at 285 Andrew Young International Blvd NW, Atlanta, GA 30313.
As with any industry trade show, there are a variety of reasons your company may want to attend. Here are some of the reasons you may want to consider attending MODEX:
- Innovation: With more than 800 exhibitors from a wide range of industries exhibiting their supply chain solutions and innovations, attending MODEX is a great way to keep atop new technology and industry developments.
- Education: The MODEX Supply Chain Conference allows attendees to learn from dozens of industry experts through seminars and keynote lectures about manufacturing and supply chain trends, technologies, and innovations that can inform your business strategy and operations.
- Networking: Bringing together so many vendors, presenters, and attendees makes for a powerhouse networking event. Leveraged correctly, this can help you maintain existing relationships or develop new business relationships with potential partners and customers.
How to get the most out of MODEX
Once you’ve decided that your team is going to attend MODEX, it’s important that you come up with a clear plan of action well before the conference begins. Below are seven of our tips for getting the most out of your MODEX 2020 experience.
1. Book travel accommodations far in advance.
As with any trade show or industry conference that attracts thousands of people to a single city, it’s always easier to find a decent hotel room and a cheaper flight if you can make your reservations far in advance. If you wait until just a month or two out—or worse, a few weeks—you’ll likely be disappointed in the remaining options. For example, hotels on the outskirts of the city usually require lengthy pre- and post-conference commutes or have subpar amenities, and outrageous airfare.
You can find information about the local hotels by visiting the MODEX Travel page and browsing available rooms.
2. Know how to get to the conference.
If you are unfamiliar with the Atlanta city area, it’ll pay to do a little research to figure out the best way to travel to and from the conference, your hotel, and nearby airport. . Knowing this in advance will help keep you from scrambling at the last minute.
Refer to city maps to know whether you should book a car reservation or rely on Uber, or if walking would be a reasonable expectation. Also, be sure you know a bit about what rush hour traffic looks like in the city so that you know when you should leave your hotel in the morning to make it to your lectures on time. Other transportation options to and from MODEX include a complimentary shuttle bus service for participating partner hotels, taxis, and Atlanta’s bus and rail system, MARTA.
Just as important as navigating to the conference is making sure you can navigate the showroom floor. Though you should receive a map and brochure with your badge upon arrival, you can also reference the building map below to help contextualize what the conference will look like (shown below).
3. Browse the list of exhibitors and make a list of your top priorities.
Have you ever attended a trade show or conference with more than 800 exhibitors? It’s an exhausting endeavor, especially if you don’t have a plan of action on how best to attack. Trying to view all of the exhibits is a surefire way to lead to burnout.
By making a list of exhibitors most related to your company, industry, or business challenge ahead of time, you can gain the most out of your MODEX experience. Prioritizing which booths to visit works much better than trying to cram in a visit to all exhibitions (or worse, just wandering around the show floor aimlessly). Once you have worked through your A Team, move on to your B Team, and so on, until you’ve seen all of the exhibits that could bring value to your operations.
Alternatively, if you are attending with a whole team, you could divide and conquer the trade show floor by splitting it into sectors or quadrants. However you proceed, the important thing is to have a plan before you get there. You can view a full list of MODEX exhibitors here.
Do you know the primary obstacle that’s holding back your operation from taking it to the next level? Maybe it’s a labor shortage, or a need to improve a specific metric. Maybe it’s a desire to design a new facility or upgrade an existing one. Maybe it is a reliance on old technologies. Whatever your main pain point is, you should prioritize visiting the booths of companies that can help you move beyond that primary obstacle and propel your business to success.
4. Identify your prime networking opportunities and make plans to meet up.
Trade shows are hectic events to attend. Between attending lectures, observing the exhibits, eating, and carrying out general business, attendees schedules are liable to fill up—and fast. But the fact remains that they are often the best opportunity to meet face-to-face with clients, colleagues, and vendors when those business relationships don’t require in-person meetings. This can be an incredible chance to nurture those contacts and learn about their business changes and challenges, which may even lead to opportunities that might not have arisen otherwise.
If you are planning on attending MODEX with a goal of meeting with a particular person or company, then it is in your best interest to reach out to them far ahead of the conference to book some time in their calendar. If you don’t, you may find that their schedules are so packed, they are unable to set aside time to meet up.
5. Make time in your schedule to attend a few educational sessions.
Networking is an important function of attending trade shows, as is exhibiting your product or services (if you’re an exhibitor) to potential customers. But it would be unwise to so completely fill your schedule with meetings that you are forced to forgo the educational opportunities offered at MODEX.
With more than 100 seminars presented by industry experts, MODEX offers a lot to learn. The lessons here could have serious implications for your operation, should you put them to use.
Conveyco’s Ed Romaine and Dave Lodwig will be presenting 10 Applications Using Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) & Robotics to Solve Labor, Throughput and Accuracy Requirements on Tuesday, 3/10, from noon to 12:45pm in Theater A, and again Thursday, 3/12, from 11:15am to noon in Theater H.
Additionally, keynote lectures by visionaries such as George Prest, CEO of MHI; Tan Le, Founder and CEO of EMOTIV; U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley; and former NFL star Quarterbacks, Peyton and Archie Manning offer inspiration to keep you and your team dreaming big.
6. Download the MODEX app.
Through the app, you can browse the list of exhibitors, “favorite” those you are most interested in so that you can easily create a schedule, view the schedule of lectures and events, view information about speakers, and more. It also includes a handy map of the show floor in case you find yourself disoriented trying to find your way to your next meeting.
Additionally, the app includes a helpful function that allows you to directly message other attendees—perfect for setting up meetings and prospecting potential partners.
7. Make some time for fun.
You’re already going through the trouble and expense of booking a flight to Atlanta! Be sure to take in some of the opportunities for fun that MODEX and the surrounding area have to offer.
- Hasan Minhaj will be performing for MODEX attendees on Wednesday, March 11 from 4:30 to 7pm. Tickets are $50 and include beer, wine, and hor d’oeuvres.
- The Atlanta Hawks have a pair of home games at Philips Arena during the week of MODEX, firstly against the Charlotte Hornets Monday, March 9th and then against the New York Knicks Wednesday, March 11th.
- Those interested in news can take a tour of CNN’s headquarters
- Foodies and shoppers should check out the Sweet Auburn Curb Market
- Check out the World of Coca-Cola to learn more about America’s favorite soda
- Blow off some steam at Andretti Indoor Karting and Games
And be sure to check out the popular Atlanta area events calendar for more ideas to fill your downtime after the conference.
8. Wear comfortable shoes.
Trudging miles over thinly-carpeted concrete flooring for several days in a row can take its toll on your feet. If you’ve chosen to wear unsupportive shoes, the punishment will have you in tears by the end of day two.
A simple way to combat this is to choose shoes which are comfortable rather than fashionable, and which have a thick sole. (This means no high heels for any ladies attending the show!) Another way to avoid sore feet is to use gel insoles in your most comfortable pair of shoes. Even better—if you’re traveling with a large suitcase, pack an additional pair of shoes and switch shoes every other day. Your feet will thank you.
Have a Plan
If you want to get the most out of your MODEX visit, it’s important to go in with a plan of attack. Following these eight tips above will help ensure that the conference is a valuable one for your team—one with the potential to impact your operations and your bottom line.