Promat 2019 Survival Guide: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go
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 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 on the show floor.
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If you’re attending (or thinking about attending) ProMat 2019, 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? Why should your team attend?
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 b MHI and happens every other year, on odd-numbered years (MODEX takes place on even-numbered years).
ProMat 2019 is scheduled to take place in Chicago, Illinois from April 8-11, 2019. The show takes place at the McCormick Place located at 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60616.
Thinking about attending? Here are some of the reasons that attending could be worth it for your company:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 2019
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 ProMat 2019 experience.
1. Book travel accommodations far in advance of the show.
In 2017, ProMat saw a 20% jump in attendance compared to 2015. This means that nearly 45,000 people attended the show over the course of the four-day event. As with any event that attracts that many people to a city, it’s always easier to find a decent hotel room and a cheaper flight if you can make your reservations far in advance. Wait too long to book your flight or hotel room, and you may be disappointed by the options that remain—and the prices you’ll have to pay.
If you’re looking for information about flights and hotels, check out this page where you can see which hotels are offering special deals for ProMat attendees.
2. Know how to get to the conference.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Chicago area, you can save yourself a lot of time, effort, and stress by researching the best ways to get to and from the conference from both the airport and your hotel.
You should also refer to city maps to determine whether you should rent a car, rely on public transportation, or if walking would be a reasonable expectation. Also be sure to know 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 ProMat include a complimentary shuttle bus service for participating partner hotels, the METRA Train for downtown locations. Lyft is also offering up to $15 in free rides for any ProMat attendee who uses the credit code “15BONUS”.
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.
3. Browse the list of exhibitors and make a list of your top priorities.
If you’ve never attended a trade show conference, or exp 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.
Instead of trying to visit all of the exhibits or, worse, wandering the showfloor aimlessly, you should make a list of the exhibits that you most want to visit—before you get to the event. 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.
Browse the list of exhibitors, find those that are most related to your company, industry, or business challenge, and prioritize visiting those booths 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 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 ProMat 2019 exhibitors here, and a full map of the trade show floor 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.
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.
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 on the show floor, you might be disappointed to learn that their schedules are too packed to accommodate you.
5. Make time in your schedule to attend a few lectures.
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. 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.
6. Download the ProMat 2019 app.
Downloading the ProMat 2019 app (typically available for both Android and iOS phones) is another great way to keep you organized while you’re on the show floor. Through the app, you can browse a 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.
The app typically becomes available for download in the month before the event.
7. Make time for some fun.
If you’re already going through the trouble and expense of getting your team to Chicago, you should be sure to take advantage of the opportunities that the city has to offer to have fun and relax.
- Craig Ferguson is the event’s Wednesday night entertainment in the Grand Ballroom from 4:30 to 7:00pm. Tickets are $50 and include food and drinks along with the show, making this a prime networking event.
- If you or your team is full of museum lovers, Chicago has many great ones to choose from including The Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Science and Industry, The Museum of Contemporary Art, and more.
- A trip to the Lincoln Park Zoo or the Shedd Aquarium might be a nice quiet place to take a breather from the hustle and bustle of the trade show floor.
- Visit the Chicago Sky deck at 360° Chicago and Tilt to get a remarkable view overlooking the windy city.
- Got a team of sports lovers? Check out the Chicago Sports Museum, or catch a game with one of the city’s iconic teams.
These activities and excursions could make for a nice team-building exercise on the final day of your trip (or the weekend before, if you get there early) and might even be a good time to build connections with peers or prospective clients. Never underestimate the power of bonding over fun!
Have a Plan
If you want to get the most out of your ProMat 2019 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.