Modex 2014 Show Preview: Converge and connect

With more than 750 exhibitors, three keynotes, and an extensive educational program, Modex 2014 is adding 50,000 square feet of show floor space. Here’s a guide to every inch.

By · February 1, 2014

In just about two months, the Georgia World Congress Center Hall B will be set to welcome 25,000 visitors to Modex 2014—the industry’s newest expo for the manufacturing, distribution, and supply chain industries, sponsored by MHI.

Attendees will find more than 750 exhibits from industry, commerce and government spread throughout the 230,000 square foot show floor (an increase from 180,000 square feet at the inaugural Modex in 2012). Also included are three keynotes and more than 90 educational sessions over four days.

Our sister publication, Modern Materials Handling, checked in with George Prest, CEO of MHI, to get a sneak peek into what’s being planned for the show, which is being held from March 17-20, 2014.

“It’s shaping up to be an incredible show,” says Prest. “We’ve moved from Hall C to Hall B to accommodate the demand for exhibit space, as well as to add 15,000 square feet to co-locate the inaugural Supply Chain & Transportation USA Exhibition & Conference (SCT).”

To further make the event a one-stop destination, registered attendees not only gain full access to Modex, but also free entry into the SCT exhibits. There, four solution centers—transportation, logistics, industrial real estate, and the future of supply chain—are located inside the Modex show, to the left of the main entrance.

“Adding the SCT show gives attendees more opportunities to maximize their time, and reinforces Modex’s position as the largest supply chain show in North and South America,” Prest added.

Although this is only the second Modex show, the event’s growth wasn’t a surprise to MHI, he says. “It validates all of the research we did before we launched Modex that said supply chain professionals were looking for an event like this.”

The growth in attendance and exhibit space mirrors the growth at MHI’s other major show, ProMat. MHI held its space draw for ProMat in December 2013, setting a new record of 229,375 square feet sold—representing 75 percent of the planned exhibit area of 305,000 square feet, said Prest.

“Our industry is at a really strong place in the economic cycle right now. Companies are looking to invest in productivity,” he adds. “We saw industry growth of 8 percent in 2013, and we’re projecting double-digit growth for 2014.”

Because of that, Prest anticipates that attendees will be trolling the exhibit aisles with project plans in hand. They’ll also be looking to get new ideas about how to improve their supply chain efficiencies. To accommodate that, MHI places a strong emphasis on creative solutions, hosting the second installment of the Innovation Awards for new and existing products.

“We debuted the Innovation Awards at ProMat 2013, and it was a huge success, with more than 75 entries,” says Prest. “With the speed of change happening exponentially, attendees have told us in exit surveys that they specifically come to MHI shows to seek out new ideas about how they can increase their productivity and maximize their bottom line.”

Additionally, he adds, Modex has 13 co-located education partners presenting events at the show, the largest being the Georgia Logistics Summit, held Tuesday and Wednesday upstairs from the Modex show floor.

Information about all Modex-related events can be accessed from the official Modex app. The app offers an interactive map, exhibitor search, educational sessions search, and information about the three keynotes. Attendees can also access their personalized agenda using the mobile app. Available free at both Android and Apple app stores, downloading information can be found here.

To make it easier for attendees to find the solutions they need, the Modex 2014 show floor is divided into four solutions centers:

  • Manufacturing & Assembly: Featuring automated assembly support, intelligent devices, robotics, ergonomic and safety equipment, workstations, light-rail and other assembly assist equipment and systems for the manufacturing environment.

  • Fulfillment & Delivery: Showcases solutions for traditional or e-commerce order fulfillment, order picking and packaging, third-party logistics, warehousing, distribution, or transportation.

  • Information Technology (IT): Highlighting supply chain software solutions, RFID, auto-ID and data collection, transportation management systems, manufacturing execution systems, logistics execution systems, enterprise resource planning and order management systems.

  • The Knowledge Center: Offering resources to educate and build awareness of what the materials handling and logistics industry has to offer the supply chain as a whole.

Keynotes talk trends and technologies
This year, Modex features three keynote presentations, each offering critical insights from experts into shipping trends, building successful supply chains, and the latest issues and trends in materials handling and logistics.

The first runs Monday from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. in the Georgia World Congress Center Hall B’s room B312-314, and features Edward H. Bastian, president of Delta Airlines. In an address entitled “Shipping Trends for Global Supply Chains,” Bastian will take a look at current and future trends and issues in the global supply chain from both carrier and shipper perspectives. He will also offer insights into advanced manufacturing customer needs and potential technology applications. Additionally, he will discuss Delta’s role in global commerce, and share his perspective on future challenges and technologies essential to competitiveness.

Bastian’s speech is presented by the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s Supply Chain Leadership Council. The council is also sponsoring a moderated shippers panel discussion taking place immediately after the keynote concludes. Panelists representing companies in the aerospace, automotive, and pharmaceutical industries will examine supply chain challenges and note opportunities for advanced manufacturing companies.

Tuesday morning, from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. in the Georgia World Congress Center Hall B’s room B312-314, businessman Lee Scott, Wal-Mart’s president and CEO from 2000 to 2009, will detail how to build a logistics and supply chain organization that is a market differentiator. As the company’s third-ever CEO—following Sam Walton and David Glass—Scott reinvigorated Wal-Mart’s mission, transforming it into a respected corporate leader on many of the major issues facing today’s global businesses.

Widely regarded as the builder of the best supply chain in retail, Scott will share what it takes to match supply chain performance to a company’s needs: hire the right people and give them the right experiences. During his tenure, the company emerged as the world’s largest retailer with more than 2.1 million associates and 7,390 retail operations in 16 markets around the world. The company earned the Fortune No. 1 spot six times between 1998 and 2008 and had sales of more than $405 billion in 2009.

Battle-tested in the war to deliver products to consumers at the lowest prices, Scott will offer tips on how to cope with today’s rapid rate of change in an increasingly complex world. 

On Wednesday, the final keynote presentation unveils the key findings of the annual MHI Industry Report, conducted in partnership with Deloitte Consulting. The “Preview of the MHI Industry Report—Trends Driving Supply Chain Innovations” will be presented by George Prest, CEO of MHI, and Scott Sopher of Deloitte from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. in the Georgia World Congress Center Hall B’s room B312-314. The extensive report on supply chain and materials handling trends and technologies draws upon a series of surveys conducted in January. Both MHI members and supply chain end users were asked to verify and rank what each group expects to focus on in the next two to three years.

Among the topics explored in the study:

  • Supply Chain Analytics and the tools and techniques companies are using to track performance and identify areas for improvement.

  • Mobile Supply Chains and the use of sensing and data collection technologies across all supply chain areas, including production, inbound and outbound logistics, inventory management and more.

  • 3D Printing/Additive Manufact-uring technology, its expanded use and its potential impact on manufacturing, logistics and transportation.

  • Multi-Channel Fulfillment and its effect on distribution strategies as companies strive to provide consistent customer experience and service levels.

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