Come to Hannover: the first round is on me

A trip to Hannover offers a virtually unlimited opportunity for suppliers and manufacturers to get together over a stein of beer and find new opportunities.


Bob Vavra, content manager, Plant EngineeringWhen I was invited to my first Hannover Messe 10 years ago, I had no idea what to expect. It's just as well; I wouldn't have been able to imagine this place. Except for 2010 when a volcano erupted in Iceland and shut down air travel from the U.S. on the eve of the fair, I've been back to Germany every spring since to attend Hannover Messe. It is a vital part of what it takes to understand the present and future of manufacturing. It is an essential event for manufacturers who want to improve their operation.

And if ever there was a year to come to Hannover, this is it.

The United States has been selected as Partner Country at Hannover Messe this year, the first time the U.S. has received this recognition. It has been a long process to secure this recognition, and it has been fueled in no small part by the efforts of all of you. The readers of Plant Engineering are the industry leaders. You are the people who managed manufacturing skillfully through the downturn and now into the global leadership role U.S. manufacturing now enjoys.

The U.S. is Partner Country in 2016 because we have earned this recognition. American manufacturing is the bulwark of our economy, and the shining example for the global manufacturing economy. While Europe works to build momentum and China continue to teeter, the U.S. manufacturing sector continues to grow, and to innovate.

Those platitudes are well earned, and they will be celebrated in Hannover on April 25-29, 2016. Those platitudes don't help your manufacturing operation, however. I'm sure most of you wonder whether the knowledge gained in that week in Hannover could possibly be worth the expense.

So simply put: Hannover Messe will deliver the highest return on your investment of any trade event you will attend in 2016.

It starts with innovation. If you were going to roll out a new car model, you'd go to the Detroit Auto Show. If you wanted to debut a new film, you'd go to Cannes. If you've got a TV character to question, you head to Comic-Con. If you want to see new manufacturing innovation first, you come to Hannover, because that's where global suppliers debut their newest ideas. It's a weeklong coming out party for cool new products.

Manufacturers who attend Hannover Messe are at least six months ahead of their competition, because often these innovations roll into Europe before they are available in the U.S. Hannover Messe puts you on the cutting edge of innovation at a time when manufacturers are looking for every advantage they can find. For manufacturers looking to grow their operation beyond the U.S. borders, Hannover Messe offers ways to help match suppliers and distributors. This year, the U.S. Commercial Service's SelectUSA program will have a significant presence at Hannover, and that agency is looking to attract both economic development directors from all 50 states as well as individual manufacturers looking to make the right connection.

We grow business by expanding markets. That can't happen if we stay in the same place. A trip to Hannover offers a virtually unlimited opportunity for suppliers and manufacturers to get together over a stein of beer and find new opportunities. Oh, yes. There is beer. Great beer. (Full disclosure: I'm not a beer drinker, but all my colleagues who attend swear the previous sentence is true.) There's also great weather in the spring in northwest Germany, and friendly people and 6,000 exhibitors and more than 5 million sq. ft. of exhibit space.

I want to meet the Americans who are coming to Hannover this spring, and to encourage more of you to attend this year. This is a week to celebrate the accomplishments of U.S. manufacturing, and to prepare for more success in the future.

So here's the deal: I'll be in Hall 3 at the U.S. Pavilion on Wednesday, April 27 at 5 p.m. local time. We'll find a place to get a beer or two and discuss what you've learned and how you plan to apply it when you head back home. The first round is on me.

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Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

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