Where is the crystal ball, please?

By: Christian Enßle, Head of Cluster FMB, Easyfairs Deutschland GmbH, Bielefeld

Today, foresight is more important than ever before for decision-makers in industry. The speed of innovation is high, and every company needs to adapt itself to keep up with this swift pace – preferably in a proactive manner and faster than the competition.

What is missing, are ideas.

The problem: The opportunities to acquaint oneself with innovations and to take away ideas for how to implement them in one’s own company are limited due to the pandemic. Trade shows are still not taking place, online formats cannot entirely replace personal talks and visiting the stands at a “live” show. And a virtual congress without any inspiring “networking activities” in the breaks also brings about fewer ideas and inspiration to put new ideas into practice.

More important than ever before: Communication

Communication has never been so important as it is in the current situation. This applies both to those with new developments and to potential customers who could make good use of these innovations to make their products more efficient and/or more powerful. Furthermore, communication with regard to trends and tendencies is urgently required. What features does the next generation of machines and the generation after that need to have in order to be successful in the market?

Until the autumn: Market without a trade show

Trade shows are the ideal market place to pose and answer such questions. At the moment, however, the market still has to manage without such events. Each day, we – the makers of the FMB – learn from our discussions that this market place is missing. Now of all times, it would be important to promote the exchange of ideas and knowledge as there are topics almost everywhere you turn that need to be addressed – ranging from Industry 4.0 and Artificial Intelligence to new norms and guidelines right through to product innovation in all mechanical engineering supply disciplines.

What can be done? Take a look around at the network of partners!

So what can and should mechanical engineering enterprises on the lookout for trends and innovations now do? Looking into a crystal ball is not going to be much help at all. What we can whole-heartedly recommend, however, is to take a look at the websites of some associations and research institutes which have been accompanying the FMB as partners for many years. They offer numerous online events dealing with current topics in mechanical engineering. These include:
– OWL Maschinenbau: https://www.owl-maschinenbau.de/blog/#veranstaltungen
– VDMA NRW/ Produktion NRW: https://nrw.vdma.org/veranstaltungen-vdma-nrw
– It´s OWL: https://www.its-owl.de/home/

Distances are short online

Those taking advantage of this and other possibilities to stay up to date will benefit from such opportunities and obtain ideas for optimising machines and production processes until the trade shows open their doors once more. And even if the online formats are frequently regarded as being inadequate – they do have one virtue: Since you do not have to be on site, you can still “attend” an event of the SmartFactoryOWL in Lemgo or of OWL Maschinenbau in Bielefeld without having to leave Rheinland or southern Germany.

The wait will come to an end

Our tip: Make use of these options during this “show-less” time! And hang in there – the wait for the next FMB – the supplier show for mechanical engineering will come to an end. Then you can – for instance – engage in discussions directly with the experts of our partner network. We are continuously working on providing you with a really exciting, successful and safe trade show as a platform for communication. The sector is waiting for such opportunities to come along.

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