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September 2014: IMTS is evolving! The International Manufacturing Technology Show is bigger!

The booths are larger. Some were larger than a house with yard. The machines are larger. Some were larger than a garage. The signs were larger. Many were the size of billboards. A lot of major companies went all out in an effort to out do each other to make the biggest splash in an effort to amaze those walking into the south building where the aisles were lined with CNC machining centers one after the other. All busy cutting something. Why? Prestige, bragging rights and the desire to make a lasting impression seem to outweigh any cost benefit analysis regarding the million dollars that some exhibitors must have spent.

Attendance at IMTS set a record this year, and yet, some exhibitors are cutting back. Cutting back to a smaller booth or no booth at all. Why? An exhibitor has to sell several machines to pay for the cost of a booth at the show. Could it be that some companies have concluded that exhibiting at the show is not worth the cost? Yet somehow there are a lot of small companies that show up every 2 years to exhibit at the largest machinery show in the USA.

How to the justify the huge expense?
Lets look at the average costs for a small company:
$20,000. Booth size 10 x 20
$ 1,000. Carpet for booth
$ 2,000. Decorations for booth
$ 1,000. Renting a table and chairs for booth
$ 2,000. Adding electricity for booth
$ 4,000. Trucking 3 machines to the convention center
$ 4,000. Paying union movers to move the machines from dock to booth.
$ 2,000. Paying union electrician to connect the machines to electricity
$ 3,000. Cost of 2 employees to work the booth for a week
$ 1,000. Cost of travel expenses
$ 2,000. Hotel rooms and meals for 2 employees for a week
$ 4,000. Paying union movers to move the machines from booth to dock
$ 4,000. Trucking 3 machines from convention center back to your company

How many machines do you have to sell to make a $50,000 profit to pay the show expenses? How many machines will you sell as a direct result of being at the show? Will you sign up any new distributors as a direct result of being at the show? Will those new distributors sell any machines for your comapny? What would happen if you spent the $50,000 on magazine ads or a new website or hiring a new salesperson? Would you get more sales for the money you spent?

Some manufacturers acknowledge that exhibiting at IMTS is not profitable but they do it anyway because they feel it is important to show everyone that they are to be taken seriously. It also is a great place to introduce new equipment to the public and be able to gage their reaction. There is also the old saying that "Anyone who is anyone is at the show". Whatever the reason, now is the time to reserve a spot at 2016 IMTS before your competitors lock up the best available booth locations. Or maybe you want to take another look at the other alternatives first. Maybe you would rather go to the show as a visitor. Then you could check out all the new technology, spy on competitors and still have enough time to watch the building of a car out of 3D printed plastic body panels. That is what we did.

American Machine Tools staff at IMTS

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