Promat 2023: Touch the Future of Supply Chain and Manufacturing
Promat 2023 is on the way! In this guide, we break down everything you need to know to make the most of the upcoming event.
If there was one thing sorely missed in business over the past couple of years, it was in-person events and trade shows. So it’s extra special that ProMat is back with an in-person event this year after a successful digital edition in 2021.
ProMat is a leading supply chain and manufacturing solutions event, and this year’s theme is “Touch the Future.” The event will be held in March in Chicago.
Returning to in-person activities is an essential milestone for ProMat and all B2B events in general- mingling with fellow industry professionals remains crucial in the marketing mix.
Businesses are looking forward to sharing their products, processes, innovations, and stories in one of the most significant industry events of the year.
Let’s peek into what the event entails in this edition.
What is ProMat 2023?
ProMat 2023 is a gathering of professionals in the fulfillment, materials handling, distribution, and supply chain industries. The goal is for different businesses and organizations to link up for new opportunities and share technologies to improve industry standards and performance.
The event started in 1948 under another name: The National Material Handling Show. It was launched by the Materials Handling Industry (MHI), the same organization behind the current event. The name ProMat comes from the event’s slogan, “Productivity Through Material Handling.” By 1985, MHI officially dubbed the event as ProMat.
The biannual event showcases improvements in managing the flow of products and materials through supply chains.
The process starts with manufacturing, moving through distribution, consumption, and finally, disposal. Over the years, ProMat has seen the inclusion of barcoding, radio-frequency-directed technology, and other innovations that include modern technology in the supply chain. Recent additions include automated storage and retrieval systems, smart cranes, and artificial intelligence.
Technologies may change, but the core mission of material handling remains the same- efficiency and productivity in manufacturing and distribution.
Who Goes to ProMat 2023?
ProMat 2023 is one of the most sought-after in-person events in 2023. It will gather over one thousand globally renowned manufacturers and supply chain solution providers.
Visitors and participants can expect to enjoy first-hand and expert accounts of what the future holds for products and materials handling and distribution sectors.
Technology will inevitably be the center of many discussions, so businesses that want to move forward must attend the show to learn. There will be hands-on demonstrations from industry greats and over 150 education seminars. The event will also showcase cutting-edge supply chain solutions.
ProMat 2023 is not just the perfect venue to learn, it’s also the place to connect with professionals from the same industry so that you can share knowledge and skills to move the trade forward.
Suppose you are involved in any supply chains for products and materials. In that case, you are precisely the target market, target audience, ICP (ideal customer profile) of ProMat 2023, and it’s a must-attend event for you.
Some of the specific industries and professionals covered under the ProMat industry umbrella are:
- Material handling
- Logistics equipment and systems manufacturers
- Third-party logistics providers
- MHI members
Only 16 years old and above can register for the event. All attendees, whether attending as individuals or as part of a group, must register online. You will be asked to complete a brief form and provide contact information, including your email address.
When and Where is ProMat 2023 Taking Place?
The event will be held in Chicago, Illinois from March 20 to 23, 2023. It will use over 370,000 net square feet of McCormick Place, which has been ProMat’s home for the last few years.
The four-day event will have show hours starting at 10 a.m. From Monday (March 20) to Wednesday (March 22), the show will end at 5 p.m. On Thursday, March 23, the last day, the event will conclude at 3 p.m.
The original event in 1948 was held in Cleveland, Ohio. Thousands of people attended and shared improvements in the supply chain transportation and distribution industries. Particularly important lessons learned from the just concluded world war II were also shared.
Over the years, the event has had different hosts: Detroit, Michigan; Cleveland, Ohio; Buffalo, New York; Baltimore, Maryland; and San Francisco, California. Early exhibitors included industrial trucks and cranes, monorails, shelving and loading dock equipment, and conveyors.
ProMat is held every odd-numbered year. The last one was in 2021 when organizers settled for digital events amidst the pandemic. Nevertheless, the ProMatDX, virtually held from April 12 to 16, 2021, was a success.
It may have been a challenging project, but approximately 400 leading solution providers showcased their products digitally and with live chat. The event incorporated 100 digital seminars too.
How Much Does it Cost to Register For ProMat 2023?
Registration to the show is free. Once registered, you can access all the ProMat 2023 exhibits, keynote addresses, and educational sessions.
As soon as you have registered, you should get a registration confirmation email, which you must bring to the registration kiosk of ProMat 2023. The confirmation email will be replaced with a badge, which is your key to attending the exhibits and seminars.
Why Should I Attend ProMat? Is it Worth it?
It’s a free event that allows you to network with people in the same industry. So, yes, it is worth it.
ProMat 2023 is one of the leading B2B lead generation events for the manufacturing and supply chain industries. Lead generation is not easy – several steps are involved before meeting with a potential client.
But with an event like ProMat 2023, all the important people and businesses you need to meet and network with are under one roof. It’s convenient and accessible!
There are thousands of registered exhibitors and sponsors attending ProMat 2023. See more information here on Vendelux.
Aside from the exhibits and seminars, the most-awaited events are the four keynote events:
Women in Leadership
Michelle Dilley, CEO of AWESOME, will moderate this event. AWESOME was created in 2013 to advance and transform the future of supply chain leadership. The organization has also done a great job of bringing senior women leaders to connect, collaborate, and advocate for gender equality in the supply chain workplace. Over 1,500 women from the AWESOME community are in senior leadership roles in a broad spectrum of organizations within the supply chain industry.
A Conversation With Chef Jose Andres
Jose Andres is a Spanish chef and founder of World Central Kitchen, a non-profit organization that provides meals for survivors of natural disasters. Since the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Andres and his World Central Kitchen staff have provided meals to Ukrainians displaced by the war.
Preview of MHI 2023 Annual Industry Report
MHI CEO John Paxton will present the Annual Industry Report, jointly prepared by MHI and Deloitte Consulting LLP. The report features a survey that would help businesses understand the impact of emerging innovation in supply chains. Among the important insights of the report are what companies can do to remain competitive while staying resilient amid global disruption.
The report is in its 10th edition. MHI and Deloitte have been providing valuable reports featuring industry updates and new technologies that have the potential to transform supply chains. The latest report will also provide a five-year projection for the industry, which could serve as a guide for all solution providers.
A Conversation With Ron Howard
Ron Howard is an Oscar-winning director, producer, writer, and former actor. He founded Imagine Entertainment’s production company with his frequent collaborator, Brian Grazer. Some of his notable projects are Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, and Solo: A Star Wars Story. He has 50 years of industry experience.
Dilley, Andres, Paxton, and Howard are leaders from their respective industries. Attending their keynote addresses will give you diverse perspectives about hard work and success. It is an important inclusion in your event marketing strategy.
“There is no substitute for ProMat, where you can see all the products in action. You will find the solutions to your specific operational challenges, all in one location, from the exhibits, during the educational sessions, and by speaking with the leading innovative material handling and supply chain suppliers,” Paxton told Modern Materials Handling. “We are excited to provide this market access and knowledge opportunity for our entire community.”
The themes for the 150 educational seminars at the event are as follows:
- Automation & robotics
- Data capture, analytics & information management
- Workforce & labor
- Transportation, distribution & warehousing
- Manufacturing, planning & sourcing
- Emerging supply chain technology
- Sustainability & risk management
ProMat 2023 also features various seminars and workshops for specific demographics:
Women in the Supply Chain Industry Forum
This forum will be held on Monday, March 20, at the Vista Ballroom, room S406ab. The focus will be on how to elevate women in the industry.
The forum will run the entire afternoon, from 12 noon to 5 p.m. While the spotlight is on women, the lessons are for everybody. The course will teach attendees how to become successful leaders.
MHI Young Professionals Network Reception
Following the Women in Supply Chain Industry forum is the network reception for young professionals- from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. in room S102bc. It is a venue for young material handling and supply chain professionals to get acquainted and discuss industry hot topics. Pre-registration is optional for this event.
ProMat Student Day
This will be held on March 21, from 12 noon to 2 p.m. in room S406b, and will feature show tours for students- the industry’s future. The event is a partnership among MHI, Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC), College Industry Council on Material Handling Education (CICMHE), Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA), and the Material Handling Education Foundation (MHEFI).
There is also a luncheon among thought leaders of the mentioned organizations where they can informally tackle industry concerns.
How to Get Prepared For the Event
Attending a large networking event like ProMat 2023 means you have to be prepared physically and mentally.
By physically, we mean you must bring important branding and marketing materials with you.
Mentally, it would help if you were prepared with your data-driven event marketing spiel when you network with professionals in the industry who may become future partners.
As for the materials you need, here are some tips:
Business cards are a must-have, and you must have both physical and digital cards. Make sure you have physical cards, so print more than your usual batch.
Wear your business merchandise if possible and bring along some giveaways– T-shirts, fans, water bottles, or stickers- that you can hand to people you see as potential business clients. You want people to be aware of your company- people familiar with your business are more likely to approach you for a chat.
Your phone and other mobile devices are essentials for ProMat 2023. You will use them to take photos and videos, record important discussions, take down notes, and pass and receive business cards. You cannot afford to run out of battery, so bring a portable charger.
Where to Stay When You’re There – Hotels
McCormick Place is the largest convention center in North America. Since it hosts numerous events every week, there are several hotels nearby where event participants can check-in.
ProMat 2023 makes it easier for participants to find hotels by partnering with onPeak, a leading provider of accommodations for the events industry.
Participants can enjoy discounted rates through the ProMat 2023 and onPeak partnership. Click here for the list of accredited hotels and other accommodations.
ProMat 2023 also offers complimentary shuttle buses ferry attendees between show hotels and McCormick Place. Bus schedules will be posted in each hotel and at McCormick Place.
Make sure you are dressed for the unpredictable Chicago weather during the journey.
MHI Industry Night With Nate Bargatze
Part of ProMat 2023 is the MHI Industry Night with Nate Bargatze. It is the only paid event of the show. Industry Night will be held on Wednesday, March 21, 2022. Tickets are sold at $30.
The event will feature the announcement of the 2023 MHI Innovation Award winners and entertainment by comedian Bargatze, who appeared on Netflix’s The Standups. There is also a raffle where participants can win a vacation worth $30,000.
For those who want to enjoy Chicago at night, here are the most popular restaurants near McCormick Place:
- Connie’s Pizza
- Third Star (American cuisine)
- Giordano’s (Italian cuisine)
- Woven & Bound (bar/pub)
- McDonald’s (fast-food)
- La Cantina Grill (Mexican)
- Lips Chicago (restaurant and drag show)
- Chicago Oyster House Prime Seafood & Steaks
What to Expect From ProMat 2023
Participants should expect a more dynamic event. ProMat happens every two years, but because of the pandemic, the last event had to be done virtually. After a one-year in-person absence, people are again excited to meet physically.
Participants will be more engaging, leaving many opportunities open for future endeavors.
Here are some ProMat 2023 features attendees can expect and look forward to:
For those in the tech industry, the pavilion will be an exciting part of ProMat because it is where emerging supply chain innovations will be showcased and demonstrated. You can take notes about what technologies will be helpful in your business and how much you could set aside for investment.
ProMat is an international event, so expect some participants from other parts of the world. It is a great opportunity to build up international connections.
The event organizers will make it easier for international attendees to actively participate in the show through interpreters and applications they can use in meeting rooms.
In the middle of the ProMat show floor is an interactive resource center called The Hub. It is a technological piece that will serve as your guide to everything about ProMat 2023.
The Hub will help you navigate the entire ProMat space while giving you access to networking opportunities. The space will also have a social networking lounge, a wireless internet center, and mobile charging stations.
Promat 2023 Attendee Data: Discover Who’s Attending and Prepare for it
The Vendelux event intelligence data shows that 20% of ProMat 2023 attendees are from manufacturing, 20% are software, and 11% come from trade and shipping.
Senior-level participants make up 41% of attending professionals, with 33% vice presidents and directors and 26% from the C-suite. Furthermore, participants comprise 50% professionals, 19% founders and management team, and 17% sales and marketing.
While any division of an organization will gain something from networking with these professionals, the sales and marketing teams have an edge they can leverage!
Will Attending ProMat 2023 Bring Results?
Attending ProMat 2023 will make a difference in your everyday and long-term operations. There are diverse lessons to be learned from more than 1,000 exhibitors and 150 seminars. Plus, there are four keynotes from industry titans of varied backgrounds.
You can’t attend all the activities in the four-day ProMat 2023. The good thing is that you can choose the event that will bring the most value to your business.
There are many practical benefits to attending ProMat. Here are some of them:
- Learn innovative techniques that would allow you to cut costs in company operations while also maximizing efficiencies and reducing risks
- Discover practical solutions to complex situations
- Gain contact information from other manufacturing, distribution, and supply chain businesses
- Get unique insights into future supply chain designs through available models
- Get to know real-world case studies
- Learn best practices and management trends
- Discuss innovations and industry-related current events with other supply chain professionals
- Study new approaches and solutions to current problems
Even if only one business representative is sent to ProMat 2023, they will come back with a wealth of knowledge that will benefit the entire company.
ProMat 2023 Summary: Achieving Success through Strategic Planning and Preparation
ProMat 2023 is a must-attend event among business owners, professionals, managers, consultants, and others within the supply chain industry. Not every day, you get a chance to network with thousands of individuals within the industry for free.
The show is also important because it’s the first in-person event since the pandemic. Virtual events don’t provide opportunities for personal interactions. Other professionals are inclined to remember your brand in in-person events.
There will be so many takeaways from ProMat 2023, and these will only make your business better. More importantly, it will make the industry stronger.
ProMat 2023 Event Recap
ProMat made a triumphant return to Chicago’s McCormick Place in March, breaking previous years’ attendance records with over 50,000 registrants. The signature event of MHI—the U.S.’ largest material handling, logistics, and supply chain association—hadn’t been held in person since 2019, and it seems it was missed.
The numbers obviously bode well for the IRL future of ProMat, and they also speak to a level of dogged commitment that was palpable on the show floor. Though the industry has faced—and continues to face—unprecedented challenges, it’s also evident that professionals are eager to roll up their sleeves and get back to the work of exploring solutions.
I attended ProMat to get a sense of how the community is organizing to tackle niche supply chain issues that cascade to affect virtually every person on earth.
- WHO: A sizeable portion of the nation’s material handling and logistics workforce—not to mention representatives from 178 other countries.
- WHAT: The premiere event for people to discover the latest innovations in supply chain technology and thought leadership.
- WHEN: March 20-23, 2023
- WHERE: McCormick Place | Chicago, IL, United States
- ProMat is a “must-attend” for people who work in the industry. There were ever more compelling reasons to go in 2023, due to the hiatus and all that’s changed since 2019.
- ProMat’s show floor is somewhat legendary, thanks to its size and exhibitors’ tendency to put their best foot forward with cutting edge robotics displays. This year’s demonstrations lived up to expectations.
- Despite the hubbub and my pseudo-outsider status, I still found prospects and clients who were happy to chat with me re: Vendelux. The convivial atmosphere set a tone for open-ended conversations on innovation.
- Exhibitors ranged from global titans to early-stage startups. Given ProMat’s size, this wasn’t a surprise, nor was it a drawback. It did, however, necessitate some prequalification.
- The biggest companies seem to have had the same idea—representatives were precious with their time and cautious when it came to sharing contact information of decision-makers.
- The current squeeze on the industry was an inescapable—if necessary—topic of conversation.
It’s hard to overstate just how big ProMat is. According to MHI’s recap, 2023’s edition covered over 1.2 million square feet of Chicago’s McCormick Place. About half of that real estate was reserved for exhibitors. And the record-breaking number of registrants—50,924—represented a 12% increase from 2019.
Impressive as those figures are, it’s important to place them in context. ProMat’s origins can be traced all the way back to 1948, when MHI launched the National Material Handling show, which expanded, evolved, and changed names to become the behemoth that ProMat is today. “As the industry changes, so has MHI,” says the organization on its About page. Notably, in 2012, MHI launched MODEX ”to further integrate with the larger, overall supply chain.” MODEX is held on even-numbered years, while ProMat occurs on odd ones.
ProMat’s show floor is an exciting place. No matter where you look, there’s a demonstration taking place of technology that could very well remake the global supply chain. But it’s not all gadgets and machinery. This year, there were also four keynotes and more than 150 seminars on emerging trends and technologies like sustainability, IoT, AI, robotics, and automation.
If one were to rank those buzzwords by the amount of interest attendees seemed to show in them in 2023, automation would top the list. And according to sources, it would have in 2019, too. Why? Because the issue of a skilled labor shortage was already emerging as a major threat four years ago. Suffice it to say, the outlook has worsened.
Doom and gloom aside, ProMat is a no-brainer for people who work in or around supply chain processes. And if, as the saying goes, invention is born of necessity, I can’t wait to see what’s next for ProMat in 2025.