This Month in Modern: Healthy anxiety breeds smart investment

Take a quick look around our environment, and you’ll see a market of end users that know they need to invest to stay relevant and compete.

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There’s nothing better for a trade show operator than a robust economy and a market facing a huge dose of healthy anxiety. With that in mind, take a quick look around our environment, and you’ll see a market of end users that know they need to invest to stay relevant and compete.

Indeed, our operations are being pressured to transform to match fickle customer demand; however, the good news is we’re seeing the old guard welcoming more innovation; we’re seeing a new guard eager to apply the latest; and lucky for us, we have a group of providers that are offering multiple levels of equipment and technological solutions to any operation willing to listen and give it a try.

Throw all these elements into a pot, and you have the perfect formula for a busy trade show. Indeed, the pre-event numbers MHI has shared regarding its upcoming Modex (April 9-12) at the Georgia World Congress Center reflect a market eager to connect and make the necessary moves. MHI reports that it’ll welcome more than 28,000 visitors walking 300,000 square feet containing more than 850 exhibitors, a new record for the fourth installment of this show.

If you and your team are making plans to head to Atlanta, the Modern editorial staff gives you a head start this month. Across these pages we highlight the new solutions centers and on-floor learning experiences and break down the four keynote presentations you may want to schedule.

However, our Show Planner is just scratching the surface of our coverage. Next month, we’ll offer the most comprehensive collection of new products offered on the show floor, and we’ll have our entire editorial staff as well as our regular contributors on the ground in Atlanta producing the official Modex Show Daily, keeping you up to date at every step of your trip.

Speaking of numbers, Peerless Research Group (PRG) finished collecting the data for our “2018 Materials Handling Industry Outlook” study just as we were about to go to press. Editor at large Roberto Michel is putting context around this year’s findings, which will be shared in Modern in April.

“At first glance, the data clearly indicates that investment is bullish and apprehension is lifting—data that’s great news for the progress of the overall market, and certainly bodes well for a productive Modex,” says Michel.

Indeed, 42% of our reader respondents indicated they’re “proceeding with investment” this year, up a healthy 7% from last year. Meanwhile, those reporting that they’re “holding off on investment” sank 7%—a statistically significant (14%) swing toward the positive. And in more welcome news, our preliminary findings see the investment outlook in some of the newer technologies—like robotics and mobile robotics—is trending up at a healthy clip.

“We were pleasantly surprised to see that 16% of readers report they ‘use’ some type of robotics, with another 15% saying they’re ‘plan to evaluate,’” says Michel. “We also found interest ticking up in the use of AGVs, 3D printing, drones, smart glassses, and voice—all indications of the new-guard’s influence on innovative process changes.”

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