IMTS 2010: Getting the manufacturing world together

Deutsche Messe officials will bring their Industrial Automation show to the U.S. in 2012. They also want American manufacturers to head to European, Asian events


One solution to the issue of global competitiveness facing American manufacturers might be to get out in the world and compete. That’s the view of key members of Deutsche Messe, the German trade organization which has partnered with IMTS to put on its first North American trade show in 2012.

The Deutsche Messe/IMTS partnership was announced at the 2010 IMTS Show in Chicago Wednesday. In an exclusive interviw, CFE Media content manager Bob Vavra discussed the partnership with key Deutsche Messe officials in a wide-ranging exclusive interview that also included a look at the growth of manufacturing in Asia and Brazil and the optimism surrounding global manufacturing coming out of the recession.

One point was clear from the experts: getting into the global marketplace is the surest way to grow in an evolving manufacturing landscape. “In 2009 it was a difficult time,” said Deutsche Messe board member Stephan Kuhne. “Now that we’ve gotten to the point where we are going forward again, you’ve got to be a global player in order to compete.”

“If the market is hot,” said Wolfgang Lenarz, vice president of global fairs for Deutsche Messe, “you can’t expect your potential customers to come to you. You have to go to them.”

Deutsche Messe’s international trade shows, including the flagship Hannover Messe trade event, to be held April 4-8, 2011 in Hannover, Germany – are established as major manufacturing trade events outside the U.S. The lack of past American participation is traceable to a number of factors – international travel costs, post 9-11 uncertainty and the recession. Yet with global manufacturing improving and global markets looking for innovative ideas, Deutsche Messe officials said the value proposition for global expansion is strong.

“What we’re working on is providing the value proposition of coming to Hannover,” said Art Parades, president and CEO of Deutsche Messe USA. “If you can show to people that the ROI of coming to Hannover is greater than the cost, they’ll come. You’ve got to come out and see the global community under one roof.”

There are other factors in looking at an international market. Currency rates are among the most attractive in a decade, which makes American goods competitive with those in other nations. American technology is prized, and American productivity is among the world’s best. And with English as the prevailing global business language, the communications issue is not a factor.

So what holds back greater U.S. participation in global manufacturing events? While Deutsche Messe experts aren’t sure there’s a single answer, but believe a stronger U.S. presence will help it regain a stronger foothold in the global economy. “We’ve got to change the mindset and come up with a value proposition that shows that there’s no risk in coming to the shows," Kuhne said.

As part of its partnership with Deutsche Messe, CFE Media will offer special travel packages to the 2011 Hannover Messe in Germany that will include not only show attendance, but strategic global manufacturing information and a special program involving all U.S. attendees.

Never been to Hannover Fair? Look at some of the automation and manufacturing innovations introduced and discussed at Hannover Fair.

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