‘Progressive growth’ for material handling
The biannual NA Show in Cleveland will show off the latest in innovations in material handling systems and products. As manufacturing comes out of the recession, it’s also the time to show off a little confidence. John Nofsinger, CEO of the Material Handling Industry of America, talks about how his organization and his industry sector are preparing for this year’s event and the recovery at hand:
PE: There seems to be a much improved mood among manufacturers in 2010. If we’re not in a robust rebound, at least everyone believes the worst of the recession may be over. What’s the view from MHIA’s perspective?
Nofsinger : Our latest Material Handling Equipment Forecast now predicts 2010 orders up nearly 10% over 2009. It’s certainly nowhere near the record levels before the “great recession,” but it’s the beginning of progressive growth through 2012.
PE: As NA approaches, what should attendees be looking forward to this year? What’s your expectation for attendance, both among vendors and end users?
Nofsinger : NA 2010 will showcase solutions from approximately 400 Exhibitors. Pre-registrations are up slightly from 2008, which was the largest Cleveland event on record. All equipment, systems, services and IT sectors are well represented and have been busy over the recent downturn developing and evolving new products, features and solutions to the new challenges and opportunities faced by end users.
The expansive exhibit floor is supported by 50 on-floor Educational Seminars as well as a Keynote Seminar Series on The Future Track for sustainability, training, retail distribution and workforce, with speakers’ unique market insights and innovative solutions %%MDASSML%% all complimentary to visitors.
NA 2010 will also feature the Supply Chain Summit. This first-time event brings together four distinct views of the supply chain from industry, the military, universities and government. Attendees will gain from their insight into today’s supply chains and discover how they will mold and shape leading supply chain models of the future. They’ll learn first hand the impact of these supply chain shifts on their business. In addition to presentations, speakers will be available to talk directly with attendees during the reception following the full afternoon event. This exciting event starts Wednesday afternoon at 1 p.m. in the I-X Center Ballroom.
PE: Sustainability is the big manufacturing buzzword, but many plant managers wouldn’t see a conveyor system for example, as sustainable. Where do you see this sector’s contribution on sustainability?
Nofsinger : Visitors will find both quantity and quality of exhibits that speak to sustainability. Some examples would be returnable/reusable packaging, numerous motive power/battery/fuel systems, energy efficient motors, air handling equipment, controls and monitoring equipment, to name a few.
PE: On the other hand, productivity is a major opportunity for the material handling industry. What are some of the ways plant managers can and should use their systems more effectively to achieve greater productivity?
Nofsinger : Productivity has long been one of the strong suits of the material handling industry. NA is a must go destination for users wishing to reduce labor costs, save space, reduce inventory and enhance safety.
PE: What are some of the key areas of emphasis for MHIA in the coming year?
Nofsinger : MHIA and the 18 Associations operating under the MHIA umbrella are engaged in a wide variety of activities that address a number of relevant and timely issues, including:
Development of national and international product and safety standards
Workforce education and training materials
Research grants to universities to address things like worker and workplace design, efficiency and safety
Tools to help properly select and apply material handling and logistics solutions
Development of networks to effectively respond to natural and national disaster
Research on various technology and demographic issues
Enhancing all activities, including tradeshows, to deliver greater value for all participants.
PE: What will we see in the way of new products and strategies for the material handling industry at NA this year? Why should plant managers go to NA this year?
Nofsinger: As mentioned above, NA will showcase a wide variety of new products and features for handling, moving, storing, protecting and controlling the flow of goods within and between supply chains. Margins for error in selecting and applying material handling and logistics solutions have never been smaller. There is no better way to sort through the options than to see them firsthand and to talk with experts who have a long track record of successful implementations. NA 2010 quite simply assembles the broadest and most comprehensive array of productivity- and profit-enhancing solutions.