By  Willie Eichele, President, The Motch & Eichele Company, LLC

As a small distributor I had little clue what I was signing up for back in 2014 when I registered for my first MFG Meeting. I’m not going to lie, you start adding up the cost of flights, hotels, registration and time away from the grind and on the surface it could appear darn near impossible to justify. I couldn’t have been more wrong!  For the benefit of someone that hasn’t attended or someone that is considering attending in March 2017 but is looking for justification, let me share the method to my madness to help you decide if it’s worth it for your company.

I like to break down these events into three categories when determining value: Speaker relevancy, networking opportunities and opportunities to strengthen existing relationships.  

Speaker Relevancy: AMT spends a tremendous amount of time and money selecting speakers that are either relevant to our day-to-day operational challenges or enlightening with industry trend and technology information. In both cases topics are covered that make you continue to evaluate how you do things and if it's indeed the best and most efficient way. Whether it's implementing new sales incentive strategies or pursuing a new upcoming technology, we have benefited firsthand from what we learned from MFG Meeting speakers.  

Networking: I don’t know where to start on this one because the opportunities for real networking are endless. Of course, there are many different types of opportunities, ones that can affect immediate business, ones where seeds are planted for future opportunities and ones that provide the opportunity and environment to resolve open issues. I can honestly say all of the above have been a reality from attending.  

Existing Relationships:  Based on event venues, where could you possibly find a better place to relax and spend time with your current business colleagues? We all know how tough it is to get to know the people we work with every day while in the heat of the battle. It may be hard to associate a true value to this one but I think we can all agree it’s time well spent.  

So, with MFG 2017 right around the corner on March 22-25 in Amelia Island, Fla., it’s time to decide how attending can help your business. With speakers covering the future of manufacturing, competitive technologies, additive manufacturing and the state of the ever-so-important oil industry, I’d say there’s never been a better time to consider jumping on board. That’s before John Walker gives his economic outlook and the endless opportunities for networking with your industry peers.  

Hope to see you in Florida!

Register for the MFG Meeting at www.MFGmeeting.com.