I had the good fortune to speak at the annual MHEDA (Material Handling Equipment Dealers Association) Convention earlier this week. I want to share a few observations and things I learned:
- We all attend conventions from time to time, and the quality varies. MHEDA conventions are consistently a high point for me. Their topics and speakers are good (I will wait to find out what the audience had to say about my presentation), it was well organized and ran on time. The MHEDA staff are truly professional. If you are in businesses related to material handling, I recommend attending. I learn something new at each conference.
- The convention theme was entitled “Passion with a Purpose” was nicely woven throughout the entire three days I attended. Their keynote speaker, Major Dan Rooney, expertly kicked off the convention! I want to tell you his story but urge you to click here for a short video about him.
- Like so many conferences I attend, I see the “changing of the guard” at many companies with the audience appearing a bit younger and more diverse than in the past. At the behest of MHEDA, four universities sent students currently studying logistics and related topics to attend the conference and learn more about the industry. I spoke with several, and they are excited about the opportunities they see in logistics and material handling. As one young but wise person said to me,” As long as Amazon is around they will need people who know and understand logistics and material handling.”
- There were some presentations on using digital media to expand a dealership’s business. This topic was grasped by some, but the hall conversations suggested that others did not necessarily see the value for their business. We will see who is right!
- Brian Beaulieu, one of the founders of ITR Economics gave an upbeat outlook for the economy—at least until 2020-21. Most importantly, he made what was normally the “dismal science” quite interesting. The general sentiment among attendees was one of optimism.
- In addition to a focus on digital marketing, other themes that made it to the top were cyber-security, critical investments that dealers need to make now, and customer experience.
One thing that is especially noteworthy about MHEDA is the almost family-like atmosphere of the convention. Even though direct competitors are there, and they may have been competing intently for a big deal the week before, they are still friends, or at least appear to be at the conference.
It was a thought-provoking week for me and a great opportunity to make new acquaintances and renew old ones! MHEDA, thanks for the invitation.