The manufacturing and supply chain community came together in a big way after four years for a record-setting ProMat event, according to show producer MHI. With an overall registration count of 50,924 and 1,051 exhibitors, the event featured 562,700 net square feet of exhibit solutions and over 150 educational sessions encompassing 1.2 million square feet at Chicago’s McCormick Place, according to MHI's announcement recapping the event, held last week in Chicago.
This was the largest ProMat event to date for MHI, with 12% more registered attendees than the last pre-pandemic show – ProMat 2019, according to MHI. The event also saw a rebound in international attendance with attendees representing 178 countries.
“MHI is committed to bringing this industry together to share leading-edge trends, technology, and innovations. The success of ProMat 2023 is proof of that and the supply chain industry’s continued relevance to the marketplace and central role in commerce,” says John Paxton, CEO, MHI. “No other event showcases all this industry has to offer to improve operational productivity and efficiency across manufacturing and supply chains. With so much tech and end-to-end solutions, ProMat offers this industry a one-stop-shop for solutions and the unparalleled education attendees need to survive and even thrive in a constantly changing marketplace.”
“The energy on the show floor and the connections being made is a clear sign of the power of this industry,” added Daniel McKinnon, EVP of Exhibitions at MHI. “Attendees representing the Fortune 500, the top 100 retailers and consumer goods firms brought large teams to ProMat to source the latest technologies and to learn leading trends impacting supply chains. They came to ProMat with plans in hand and budgets in place to improve their operations and build resilient supply chain operations for future success.”
The dominant trend at ProMat was a focus on digital supply chain solutions including automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, augmented reality, the Internet of Things, and end-to-end data transparency. These new technologies work seamlessly in conjunction the traditional material handling solutions that are also on display on the show floor to make efficient end-to-end operations possible.
“We’re seeing a big acceleration in the adoption of these technologies over the next five years in manufacturing and supply chain operations,” said Paxton. “The solutions on display this year were evidence of this trend.”
The tech trend was also evident in ProMat Supply Chain Conference sessions which included over 150 educational seminars and four keynotes. On March 20, Michelle Dilley, CEO of AWESOME led a panel of senior-level women supply chain professionals. Chef and founder of World Central Kitchen founder José Andrés discussed his work in delivering humanitarian relief in some of the world’s hardest-hit areas including Ukraine and Turkey in his March 21 keynote.
During the March 22 keynote, MHI’s John Paxton and Deloitte’s Wanda Johnson released the findings of the 2023 MHI Annual Industry Report: “The Responsible Supply Chain: Transparency, Sustainability, and the Case for Business.” during a panel discussion with four industry thought leaders. The report details the revolutionary adoption of supply chain technology that is predicted to make operations more responsive, agile, and responsible. The report can be downloaded here.
The March 22 afternoon keynote featured Academy-Award-winning director Ron Howard who inspired the audience with his tales of creativity and mentoring during his storied film career. Industry Night with comedian Nate Bargatze was an exciting and entertaining evening. Fifty-one thousand dollars in proceeds from the event were donated to the Material Handling Education Foundation to fund scholarships and programs for students and educators in our industry. MHI also announced a $15,000 donation to World Central Kitchen.
ProMat also featured two paid conference sessions, the Women in Supply Chain Conference on March 20 and WERC Connects on March 21. Each event had over 200 attendees and featured lunch, networking, and an educational session. The 2023 WERC Annual Conference will be held June 4-7 in Orlando.