Commentary: Check out virtual M&T Show this week for ideas on moving your business forward

Nov. 30, 2020
Manufacturing & Technology 2020 may be able to provide some fresh insights for those willing to look outside the plastics industry for inspiration.
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Trade shows are important. There is no better place to kick the tires when you need a new injection molding press or extruder. Shows also provide small companies that do not have big marketing budgets an opportunity to get their latest technology in front of large numbers of potential buyers.

But after more than 30 years or attending multiple trade shows worldwide every year, I have to admit that there is a sameness to what you see from show to show and even year to year. You get the feeling you have walked down this aisle before.

Trade shows have been shut down since March and there is no clear date when they will return. So this might be the perfect time to sample something new without spending money and time to travel.

I recommend a virtual event this week for manufacturing and engineering professionals titled Manufacturing & Technology 2020. It covers the gamut of manufacturing from design to delivery. Conference topics will address:

  • Navigating disruption with agility.
  • Best practices and trends from the people creating them.
  • Getting ahead of manufacturing’s digital transformation.
  • Building relationships to grow your business.

We tend to focus on events aimed specifically at the plastics industry or end markets that matter to our businesses. But there is plenty to be learned from events about manufacturing in general. A trip to the huge International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS), held every other year in Chicago, can be an eye-opener.

This week’s virtual Manufacturing & Technology 2020, organized by our sister publication IndustryWeek, includes presentations on the potential for 5G; the future of human + machine; building an innovation culture; leveraging cobots in the COVID-19 age; cultivating a culture to win; and preparing for uncertainty in food and beverage.

Also, overcoming challenges of manufacturing technology innovation and adoption with small and medium-sized manufacturers; how putting people first leads to profitability; tackling today’s labor shortage with the next-gen workforce; perspectives on preventing serious injuries and fatalities; and Ford Motor Company’s quest to use advanced technology to be a leader in lean manufacturing.

This is just a sample of the virtual sessions available starting Tuesday and running through Thursday. The complete schedule is at Registration is at

You cannot kick the tires at a virtual event, but you can listen to experts discussing subjects that are important for moving your business ahead. It can nudge your brain into thinking about your manufacturing problems in different ways. It can be a reality check for the goals you have set and the best way to achieve them.

Consider thinking outside the plastics industry conference box this week. It might pay off. 

Ron Shinn, editor

[email protected] 

About the Author

Ron Shinn | Editor

Editor Ron Shinn is a co-founder of Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing and has been covering the plastics industry for more than 35 years. He leads the editorial team, directs coverage and sets the editorial calendar. He also writes features, including the Talking Points column and On the Factory Floor, and covers recycling and sustainability for PMM and Plastics Recycling.