The manufacturing and supply chain community came together in a big way after four years for a record-setting ProMat event, according to show producer MHI. With an overall registration count of 50,924 and 1,051 exhibitors, the event featured 562,700 net square feet of exhibit solutions and more than 150 educational sessions encompassing 1.2 million square feet at Chicago’s McCormick Place. 

This was the largest ProMat event to date for MHI, with 12% more registered attendees than the last pre-pandemic show: ProMat 2019. The event also saw a rebound in international attendance with attendees representing 178 countries. 

“MHI is committed to bringing this industry together to share leading-edge trends, technology, and innovations. The success of ProMat 2023 is proof of that and the supply chain industry’s continued relevance to the marketplace and central role in commerce,” said John Paxton, CEO of MHI, in a statement. “No other event showcases all this industry has to offer to improve operational productivity and efficiency across manufacturing and supply chains. With so much tech and end-to-end solutions, ProMat offers this industry a one-stop-shop for solutions and the unparalleled education attendees need to survive and even thrive in a constantly changing marketplace.”

The dominant trend at ProMat was a focus on digital supply chain solutions including automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, augmented reality, the Internet of Things, and end-to-end data transparency. These new technologies work seamlessly in conjunction with the traditional material handling solutions that also were on display on the show floor to make efficient end-to-end operations possible, the association said. 

“We’re seeing a big acceleration in the adoption of these technologies over the next five years in manufacturing and supply chain operations,” Paxton stated. “The solutions on display this year were evidence of this trend.”

The tech trend also was evident in ProMat Supply Chain Conference sessions, which included more than 150 educational seminars and four keynotes. 

During the March 22 keynote, MHI’s John Paxton and Deloitte’s Wanda Johnson released the findings of the 2023 MHI Annual Industry Report: “The Responsible Supply Chain: Transparency, Sustainability, and the Case for Business” during a panel discussion with four industry thought leaders. The report details the revolutionary adoption of supply chain technology that is predicted to make operations more responsive, agile and responsible, it says.

The next MHI-sponsored trade event will be MODEX 2024 taking place March 11-14 in Atlanta’s Georgia World Congress Center.