The MCMT complex in Bridgnorth is a fully equipped, advanced training hub for apprentices.
A lot of work went into making MACH 2018 happen; after 40-plus years in the same location we moved the exhibition to the atrium side of the NEC. It is essential that, as exhibition organisers, we freshen up the show to keep it interesting and help our exhibitors better display their products.
Having MACH all on one level really helped to change the feel of the show. It improved the flow of visitors through the Halls and created a whole new experience for them and for exhibitors alike. Our primary concern is creating a fertile environment for business to get done, to transform the NEC into the shop window for the industry; I believe we achieved that.
Over £200 million worth of business has been attributed to MACH 2018 – so far (November 2018) – and that figure will keep rising over the coming months. While many orders are placed during the exhibition, many companies use MACH as an opportunity to plan their production needs and compare the different options available, before committing to an investment.
The key to making the most out of a trade show like MACH is using it as the focal point of a two-year marketing cycle. It is a chance to make new contacts and sales leads, to refresh old relationships and start new ones. Many product launches and demonstrations take place during the week. It is a chance to really get the message across about how effective your equipment is.
All the indications are that MACH 2018 delivered for its exhibitors. There was a 5% increase in trade visitors and in the post-show questionnaire of exhibitors, 95% of respondents said that they had generated leads for their sales team to follow up afterwards. No less than 77% of exhibitors reported improved customer relations over the course of the show, and 80% say they raised their company profile by attending the exhibition.
This was recognised by at the prestigious Trade Association Forum (TAF) Best Practice Awards 2018: MACH 2018 took the top prize in the Exhibition of the Year category. The TAF described the exhibition thus: “The show, which is arguably a National Treasure, is clearly a huge success in every possible way.”
The MTA was delighted to accept the award on behalf of the industry – without which MACH would not happen. The show would not be as successful as it is, nor have stood the test of time as it has done, if it wasn’t for the commitment and hard work of the exhibitors who are determined to showcase the UK’s manufacturing and advanced engineering sectors to the highest standards. That is why the exhibition is recognised as the market leader in the UK.
The MACH exhibition is not only a place to do business. It serves as a platform to invite students of all ages and backgrounds to see the technology first hand. There are interactive activities introducing the ideas of automation, CNC, programing and design. MTA members and partners take time to explain the industry, to give a flavour of what young people can expect in following a career in engineering. The MTA is passionate about tackling the gender disparity in UK engineering and stages targeted talks and activities to encourage more women to consider following this path.
Across 2016 and 2018 over 5000 students toured the exhibition and learned more about the industry. In fact, some schools and colleges have a visit to MACH built in as part of their Design & Technology course.
As the 2018 edition took place during the Easter school holidays, the MTA took the innovative decision to encourage families to attend. This was to help widen the pool of students who might be able to come, in addition to the regular school visits organised. A number of students and parents have been in contact, telling the MTA that MACH has had a real impact on the way they view the sector and their intention of pursuing a career in engineering.
MACH isn’t just the top UK manufacturing technology showcase; it is also the manufacturing show with the most government and industry engagement. Three Government Ministers visited the Show and the organisers were pleased to welcome Juergen Maier, CEO of Siemens UK and author of the excellent Made Smarter review, who delivered one of the best seminars of exhibition.
The MTA was also able to release an important piece of research that they had commissioned on the ‘True Impact of Manufacturing’ on the UK economy. The report revealed that manufacturing accounts for nearly a quarter of the economy and more than 7.4 million jobs depend on it.
For the first time ever, the study, by world leading economics consultancy Oxford Economics, took into account the full impact of the UK’s manufacturing economy, including the indirect effect of increasingly complex supply chains and the induced effect of the spending that manufacturer’s wages create in the economy. And of course what better backdrop to release this information than at the UK’s biggest advanced engineering showcase.
This report was key to attracting the Ministers to MACH 2018, where they spoke with exhibitors about the support they need going forward to help UK manufacturing thrive and grow.
MACH is so much more than the five days of the show at the NEC. It is the combination of months of planning and a lot of hard work from everyone involved. The industry is already looking forward to doing it all again in April 2020.
Over 5000 students toured the exhibition and learned more about the industry… some schools and colleges have a visit to MACH built in as part of their Design & Technology course.