The forthcoming IMHX show promises to be a more sober affair than previous events in the IMHX series which have drawn criticism from certain quarters for the emphasis that some of the bigger exhibitors have put on razzmatazz at the expense, some contend, of a more conventional approach to business generation, writes Roger Williams.

Of course, for those that want it, there’ll presumably be no shortage of glamorous models draped over racking and forklifts and plenty of hospitality to enjoy on many of the larger stands, but generally, from those exhibitors that I have spoken to, it seems that the emphasis will be less celebratory and more business focussed than in previous years.

This is certainly no bad thing and, given the economic uncertainty, would appear a sensible approach to take.

So, while those whose main motivation for attending trade shows is the chance to ogle flesh may think again before visiting IMHX this year, the exhibition looks like it is maturing in to an even better opportunity for serious players in the logistics sector to see some of the latest product developments that have been designed to bring operational efficiencies to their business.

Although some familiar names from the forklift industry are notable for their absence – Linde, Barloworld, Still – the forklift suppliers will be out in force with many showing exciting innovations that are a testament to the way many of these organisations have continued to invest massive amounts in R&D throughout the recession.

But IMHX is about much more than forklifts and this year a vast array of suppliers of products and services will be exhibiting. For me, it is particularly pleasing to see so many of UKWA’s Associate Members (who comprise suppliers to the logistics and warehousing sectors) among the exhibitors.

Automated systems suppliers will also be well represented – which is perhaps a sign of the growing confidence that many now have in the potential benefits of using automation within the warehouse.

Warehouse management systems suppliers, data capture specialists, racking and shelving manufacturers, training companies, consultants of every description will all be there too. There’s also the chance to sit in on some free seminars

I would certainly urge executives from UKWA’s logistics service member companies to make time in their busy schedules to visit the NEC during November and meet suppliers and check out new developments at IMHX. The show really is a great place to get your hands on new products, attend demonstrations and compare features and prices, while at the same time, meeting exhibitors and asking them detailed questions.

Of course, to get the most out of attending any exhibition, it is worth setting specific targets so you can measure the success of your time spent there after the event. Time spent out of the office is precious at the best of times and in the current economic climate your time needs to be accounted for more than ever. Plan ahead and set objectives. The more time and effort you put into your visit to IMHX, the more you will get out of it.

After several years of almost relentless gloom, the materials handling industry needs IMHX 2010 to be a success. By bravely taking the decision to move the show from its original date of Spring this year the organisers have given the show every chance of being so. So, with over 335 exhibiting companies showing a truly staggering range of products and services – my advice to anyone involved in warehousing and logistics in any way is, you simply cannot afford not to visit.

To pre-register visit

Roger Williams is chief executive officer of UKWA – the United Kingdom Warehousing Association. UKWA is the UK’s only trade association dedicated to serving the warehousing and logistics sector.

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