Once again, IMTS is upon us. It’s being held September 6–13 at Chicago’s McCormick Place Exposition Center. If you’re like most of the gear manufacturers I talk to lately, you’re extremely busy. You don’t have enough people, machines, experience, or time to get the work done—and maybe most importantly, you’re not getting enough sleep.
I know what you’re thinking: You don’t have time for IMTS. You can’t afford to take a day off—let alone two or three. You’ve got orders to fill, and you’re short-staffed, and you’re behind schedule. To top it off, there’s that crabby customer who always complains if his order is a day late, and you’ve got to figure out how to get him his gears, even though all your machines are booked, and “Old Bessie”—that vintage hobber you keep in the back of the shop—has finally broken down for good. If any of that sounds familiar, you’re probably not alone.
Despite all these demands on your time and energy, sometimes you just need to get away. Force yourself to get out of the office or the shop—not for a vacation, which you probably do need—but to find the technology and solutions that will get you ahead of your production schedule instead of behind it. Take a break from today’s problems and details to focus on tomorrow’s productivity and growth.
So come to Chicago and IMTS, even for just a day or two. What you’ll find is the best manufacturing technology and expertise available in the world—not just gear manufacturing technology, but technology for your entire shop. These technologies will provide your company ways to increase productivity in turning, grinding, inspection, the tool room and more.
Of course, gear industry suppliers will be there as well, mostly in and around the gear pavilion. We have previews of some of the premier suppliers beginning on page 19. Maybe it’s a good thing Old Bessie broke down. She may have served you well, but she’s probably not the answer anymore. New, efficient, automated and productive gear machine tools might be able to double or triple your productivity while taking up less floor space (sorry, Bessie).
And that’s the answer, really. Increase your productivity. Today, you’re competing against gear manufacturers from all around the world. Some of them may be in countries where labor is a fraction of the cost of what you pay. You can minimize the effect of that benefit by squeezing the labor content out of your product. Instead of 20% of the cost of your products being attributable to labor, work to get it to 10%.
The way to reduce the labor content is to invest in better, faster, more productive equipment and tooling, to understand alternative processes, methods and techniques. As you reduce the labor content of your products, you minimize the impact of your competitors’ lower costs. And there’s no better way to see the options than by visiting IMTS.
Don’t let the fact that you’re busy today stop you from taking the time to make important investments that will benefit you tomorrow. As we all know, the economy runs in cycles, and—as good as it may be now—eventually, there’s a downturn coming. I hope we have a couple more good years. But if you don’t invest in the latest productivity now, you might miss the cycle completely—and who knows when your next chance might be. Can you afford to wait seven to eight more years to upgrade your shop? If you don’t keep up with developments today, will your shop be around in seven to eight more years?
Come to beautiful Chicago to seek your company’s next investment. Maybe the technology you find there will help you increase productivity enough that you’ll be able to breathe a little easier by this time next year. Who knows? Maybe that extra productivity will allow you to take that vacation you deserve.
Michael Goldstein, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief
P.S.—Stop by and see us when you come to the show. We’ll be in the gear pavilion at booth B-7113.