Posted on 22 Sep, 2016 by Neil Sharp

Northern_Manufacturing_and_Electronics_2016 Arguably the UK's largest exhibition dedicated to serving the needs of manufacturing and electronics industries in the North of England, Northern Manufacturing and Electronics 2016 is fast approaching (28th – 29th September 2016).

With a number of electronics manufacturing services (EMS) providers attending the event, along with some of the UK's top engineering firms, the show provides an ideal platform to discover new suppliers that can make a positive impact on your business.

In order to help you get the very best from the show and make sure your time there is well spent, we have put together a simple 12-point checklist, which we hope you find useful.

1. Location

The show is held at EventCity, Manchester - conveniently located opposite the Trafford Centre.

2. Directions

If you are planning to drive and have a SATNAV, the postcode to use is M17 8AS. If travelling from the M60, take Junction 9 for the A5081 and follow signs for Barton Dock Road. 

If you are travelling by rail, air or bus please click here for further information.

3. Parking

Unlike many other UK trade shows, which can charge anywhere between £10 and £20, parking at Northern Manufacturing and Electronics 2016 is free with plenty of spaces behind the exhibition hall.

4. Pre-registration

You can pre-register to visit the show from the Industry North homepage. It's recommended you do this in advance to avoid queuing on the day.

5. Floor plan

Unfortunately, it's not possible to get a copy of the latest floor plan until you arrive unless you are an exhibitor. Although the show runs annually and the majority of spaces get booked very quickly, some companies still try and book the week before! The show catalogue, which is available upon entry will, however, have the latest copy included, so make sure you grab a copy to avoid walking up and down the aisles hunting for specific suppliers. An exhibitor listing will also be included but if you want to take a look beforehand you can access this from the homepage of the Industry North website, where you can either search by a category or company name. Online each exhibitor will have their own profile page, which will tell you their stand number and other contact details.

6. Plan your route

Armed with the show catalogue and floor plan, we recommend you head straight to the catering facilities and grab yourself a coffee (there is a large bar and restaurant area at the far end of the hall as you walk in). Try and avoid getting distracted straight away by the impressive laser cutting machines working away or the glamourous assistants keen to give you a goody bag as you walk past. Although you will have only just arrived and will be keen to get started, we recommend taking 30 minutes or so planning your day to ensure you meet all of the suppliers you intend to in the most efficient manner.

7. Make appointments

If you already know who you plan to meet then it makes sense to contact them in advance and pre-book a time slot with them. Clearly your time is precious but those exhibiting will also want to make sure they give stand visitors an equal opportunity to discuss requirements. By pre-booking time with key suppliers you not only get to keep control of your own schedule but also reduce the chance of turning up at the same time as other interested parties and missing an opportunity to talk.

8. Follow the activity

If you have a Twitter account, the official Twitter page for Northern Manufacturing and Electronics 2016 is @Industry_co_uk and the hashtag to follow both before and during the show is #northmanf. You will find exhibitor news, guest speaker details and changes to any seminar schedules are often posted up on this platform. The official show blog also contains a number of articles and press releases submitted by exhibitors. A LinkedIn group does exist for the show (you will need to search for INDUSTRY.CO.UK) -however, this doesn’t appear to be quite as active as the blog or Twitter page.

9. Recording your conversations

If you are planning to visit multiple suppliers or looking to attend the show over a couple of days, you will need a quick way of capturing your conversations so you can refer back to them after the show. If you already use some kind of supplier questionnaire or checklist you may be able to adapt this easily. Determining what essential capabilities each supplier must have along with those which are "nice to have" will make comparisons easier once you are back in the office.

10. Request for quote

With a number of potential partners all under one roof, Northern Manufacturing and Electronics 2016 creates a perfect opportunity for bench-marking. You will certainly get a good "feel" for the people behind the organisation and the knowledge they have of the products and services they offer. We would recommend, however, holding back from issuing out "live" quote packs during the show; unless, of course, you are confident the supplier has the capability, quality and ability to deliver your immediate requirements. Inadvertently, you may be creating artificial demand, which, in turn, could drive pricing up or risk becoming bombarded with quotes and follow-up sales calls the moment you get back. Instead, we recommend using the show as a way of creating a shortlist of potential suppliers and then spending time sending tailored request for quotes (RFQ) when you are back in the office.

11. Learn something new

During the two-day event, Northern Manufacturing and Electronics plan to host 13 thought-provoking seminars on topics, including CE marking, 3D printing, lean principles, best practice and world class manufacturing. Typically lasting around an hour, these seminars are a great way to break up your day (your feet will thank me after) while keeping up-to-date with a wide range of industry-related topics. The seminars are taking place in the theatre located at the far end of the hall near the catering facilities, so make sure you plan these into your route to avoid having to walk back and forth more than you need to.

12. Follow-up

After all the buzz and excitement on the day it's easy to head back into the office and then get caught up in the next/latest operational issue. However, as you've just invested precious time in attending the show, failing to follow up and make contact with the key suppliers you've met would be a shame. To avoid being "chased", you should try and manage the supplier expectations at the show. If you need to carry out a review of your options using the information you gleaned on the day then tell the supplier they shouldn't expect to hear from you until a certain time.

Hopefully, this simple 12-point checklist on the forthcoming Northern Manufacturing and Electronics 2016 show will prove useful to you. If there are any further questions regarding the show then feel free to leave a comment below and we will do our best to answer them for you.

Achieving quality, consistency and delivery within electronics manufacturing

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About the Author

Neil Sharp
Neil Sharp
Previously holding sales, account management and customer service roles, Neil has over 18 years’ experience within the Electronics Manufacturing Services industry. Neil heads up the marketing more