Last week we attended FABTECH 2013, North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing event. More than 40,000 attendees and 1,573 exhibitors took over 650,000 square feet at McCormick Place in Chicago. We were blown away by the sheer number of attendees, exhibitors, innovative machinery displayed, and the general energy at the show.
We had the chance to meet a number of different manufacturers from companies that range from welders and fabricators, to lasers and robotics. We had some great conversations with these folks and immediately began to see a theme. We asked every small business owner/operator that stopped by our booth, “what visibility do you have into your business back at home while you’re here at the show?” 90 – 95 percent said absolutely zero. We then asked, “what if you did have access to this visibility? What if you could visualize your business’ performance from anywhere, anytime?” This is what really got them excited, and in turn it jazzed us up, because it reaffirms our entire value proposition and mission as a company.
The ability to talk to our potential customers face to face for four days at FABTECH was invaluable. The biggest takeaway for us was the confirmation that our software is filling a discrete need in the marketplace. Our customers’ businesses are becoming more complex and harder to manage, and they need help with the management, but can’t afford to spend the money on technology and software designed for large enterprises. This is where we come in with easy-to-use, affordable, cloud-based software.
In addition to talking to potential customers, industry experts and media members, we enjoyed two fantastic keynotes at FABTECH from Alan Beaulieu, president, ITR Economics and Scott A. Kartvedt, executive consultant, Afterburner, Inc. The show also featured 100 targeted educational sessions that focused heavily on skill development, which is becoming increasingly important in the manufacturing industry. Perhaps the biggest takeaway at FABTECH was this: While manufacturing is an industry that has been around for a very long time, the reality is, thanks to technology, it is evolving and innovating right before our eyes, and we all can play an important role in this transformation.
What were your big takeaways at FABTECH 2013? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Kae Kronthaler-Williams, VP of Marketing, Exact Cloud Solutions US