ProMat 2013: So long Chicago. Hello Atlanta.

While final numbers won’t be available until after the show, attendance topped 2011’s figure as of noon on Wednesday, with well more than 30,000 attendees, including more than 1,000 walk up registrations.

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Sure, it’s been one of the coldest weeks of the year. What do you expect for January in Chicago? But ProMat 2013 was one hot show. While final numbers won’t be available until after the show, attendance topped 2011’s figure as of noon on Wednesday, with well more than 30,000 attendees, including more than 1,000 walk up registrations. 

“It was absolutely fabulous,” said George Prest, CEO of MHI, the sponsor of the show. “Fifty percent of the Fortune 1000 was represented and we had all of the top 100 retailers.” He added that 85% of attendees said they had buying authority and 34% had budgets of $1 million or more to spend on materials handling and supply chain solutions over the next 18 months.

“The interest in materials handling solutions may be a reflection of an economy on the mend. To have a strong economy, we need a strong manufacturing sector,” Prest said. “To have strong manufacturing, we need productivity. Our products represent an investment in productivity.”

ProMat 2013 also reflected the industry’s commitment to the next generation of the warehousing, distribution and logistics workforce. The show saw the launch of the Young Professionals Network, a networking event for women in the materials handling industry, and visits by technical high school and college students interest in joining the industry.
Perhaps the most encouraging sign of the health of the industry were the number of help wanted signs for engineers and project managers displayed at the booths of major companies.

The end of the show also sets the stage for Modex 2014, the supply chain show to be held in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center March 17 – 20, 2014. To that end, more than 75% of the available space was locked up at the space draw on Wednesday. Some 300 exhibitors have committed to 131,000 net square feet, said Tom Carbott, senior vice president for exhibitions. A number of exhibitors increased their square footage over ProMat. “Our goal is to sell at least 60% of the space,” said Carbott.

Modex 2014 will collocate with Supply Chain & Transportation USA, a new show that will showcase a complete range of products and services dedicated to transportation, logistics and the future supply chain. “The collocation validates out concept for Modex as a venue for the whole supply chain,” Prest said. “MHI is just one voice of the supply chain. We will now provide a venue where we can fill all of the needs of an organization.”

Say so long to Chicago and hello to Atlanta. 


About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Bob Trebilcock, editorial director, has covered materials handling, technology, logistics and supply chain topics for nearly 30 years. In addition to Supply Chain Management Review, he is also Executive Editor of Modern Materials Handling. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.

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