Promat 2021 Survival Guide: Everything You Need To Know About ProMatDX
Attending a trade show like ProMat can be an excellent way for your team to learn more about the technologies, trends, and changes influencing the supply chain and distribution industry, while also giving you a valuable opportunity to scope out your competition and their vendors. They can also help you drum up business by connecting you with potential partners and customers.
But to get all of that value out of attending the show, you’re going to need to do a whole lot more than just show up. You need to come prepared with a plan of action, or else risk getting overwhelmed by all of your options.
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If you’re attending (or thinking about attending) ProMat 2021, 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 ProMat?
ProMat is often called the largest North American expo and trade show for professionals working in the supply chain, warehouse, and distribution industries. It is powered by MHI and happens every other year, in odd-numbered years. (MODEX, a related show, takes place in even-numbered years.)
ProMat is normally an in-person event that takes place at the McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois during the spring (typically early April). This year, it is taking place virtually from April 12 to April 16, 2021.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic COVID-19, ProMat 2021 is not an in-person event. Instead, it is taking place entirely online and is going by the name ProMatDX: The Digital Experience. While this may cause the show to lose a bit of the “touch and feel” experience that comes with an in-person event, the truth is that making the switch to a digital format is likely to make it easier to attend and will increase the attendance and knowledge to all levels of an organization.
With the traditional format, attending the trade show would require you to pay to physically send a member (or members) of your team to attend the show. This means you’re paying for travel, accommodations, food, and time that your employees aren’t actively working.
With a digital format, this is no longer the case. Because your employees are logging in virtually, you’re instantly saving on the cost of travel and accommodations. And because your employees aren’t actively on the showfloor, they’re able to work between meetings and sessions, helping keep your operation more productive. It’s a win-win!
Reasons to Attend ProMat
Thinking about attending? Here are some of the reasons that attending could be worth it for your company:
- AI-Based Matchmaking Meetings: ProMatDX will feature AI-driven recommendations to match exhibitors with attendees. This will allow you to easily schedule meetings and increase the value you get out of the show.
- Product Demonstrations: Being digital instead of in-person will actually make seeing new and exciting technologies faster and easier than walking the show floor in Chicago as you normally would. Every exhibitor will have their key technologies in a demo area. Attendees will be able to sort, select, and learn even faster. So ProMatDX might become the best means of transferring knowledge than previous shows.
- Experience: Attending ProMat is a great way to keep your team and your operation knowledgeable about new technologies and new developments in your industry, with nearly 1,000 exhibitors.
- Educational Sessions: In addition to helping you connect with potential partners and customers, ProMat also offers an excellent opportunity for attendees to learn from industry experts. With more than 100 educational seminars and speaking engagements from the best in the industry, you’ve got many great opportunities to listen to industry experts share ideas and solutions that you may be able to implement in your operations.
- Find Partners Easily: Bringing together so many vendors, presenters, and attendees makes ProMat 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 ProMat 2021
Once you’ve decided that your team is going to attend ProMat, it’s important that you come up with a clear plan of action far in advance of when the conference begins. Below are some of our tips for getting the most out of your ProMatDX experience.
A. Browse the list of exhibitors and make a list of your top priorities.
If you’ve never attended a trade show, conference, or expo with nearly 1,000 exhibitors, here’s a little secret: It can be exhausting, especially if you don’t have a plan. Trying to view all of the exhibits is a surefire way to lead to burnout, preventing you from getting real value out of the event. Even in a digital format, there’s just too much to try and absorb.
Instead of trying to visit all of the exhibits, you should make a list of the exhibits that you most want to visit—well in advance of the actual dates. This could include everyone from competitors you want to scope out to partners you want to maintain a relationship with to vendors you want to learn more about or even customers you’d like to introduce yourself to.
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Browse the list of exhibitors, find those that are most related to your company, industry, or business challenge, and prioritize booking meetings and reviewing information from those exhibitors first. 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 have multiple people on your team logging in, you could divide and conquer by splitting it into sectors or quadrants. However you proceed, the important thing is to have a plan before the event begins.
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 digital “booths” of companies that can help you move beyond that primary obstacle and propel your business to success.
B. Identify your prime networking opportunities and make plans to meet up.
One of the main reasons that teams attend ProMat is the networking opportunities that the event offers. From attending lectures and keynotes to putting in facetime at exhibits and booths, ProMat can give you an incredible opportunity to meet face-to-face with clients, colleagues, or vendors. While the format might be a little different this year, this holds true even for a digital event.
But people’s schedules tend to fill up fast. If you’re attending ProMat with a goal of meeting a particular person or company, you’d be wise to reach out to them ahead of time to book time on their calendar. If you don’t, and simply try to catch them during the event, you might be disappointed to learn that their schedules are too packed to accommodate you.
C. Make time in your schedule to attend a few educational sessions and product show cases.
While networking typically takes priority at these kinds of trade shows, don’t forget that there are many educational opportunities at ProMat that you should make time to attend.
With more than 100 different educational seminars presented by industry experts, ProMat offers a lot of opportunity for your team to take away some real value from the show. The lessons you learn in these seminars and lectures could have serious implications for your operation, helping you to solve a problem or anticipate a challenge on the horizon.
As just one example, Conveyco’s Ed Romaine will be presenting a lecture about Ways to Use Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) for Order Fulfillment on Tuesday, April 13 from 3:45 to 4:30pm.
Additionally, keynote lectures by visionaries such as John Paxton of MHI, Thomas Boykin of Deloitte, and others will offer inspiration to keep you and your team dreaming big.
Have a Plan
If you want to get the most out of your ProMat 2021 visit, it’s important to go in with a plan of attack. Following the 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.