NTMA Purchasing Fair Matches Buyers and Suppliers

The National Tooling and Machining Association sponsored a Contract Manufacturing Purchasing Fair on September 7-8, 2011 at the Intercontinental Chicago O’Hare in Rosemont, Illinois.

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The event reversed the usual “trade show” model; instead of buyers walking a show floor to visit supplier’s booths, at a Purchasing Fair buyers are stationed at individual tables, and suppliers visit them. Detailed guides outline each buyer’s specific needs and each supplier’s capabilities, making it easier for attendees to make the right match.

“It is a little like speed dating for buyers and suppliers,” says Robert Akers, NTMA vice president and COO. “We’ve done about 28 of these shows, and we find it works very well – suppliers know exactly what the customers want before they start talking to them.”

The Rosemont event attracted about 100 different buyers and more than 120 supplier firms.  Buyers from companies including Navistar, Kimberly-Clark, and Ford Motor, as well as from smaller regional manufacturers and government contractors, met with vendors in areas including moldmaking, tool and die, engineering and design, and precision machining.

“It would take forever to make the same contacts we made here in six hours,” said David McGill, Senior Buyer for Alcoa Wheel & Transportation Products. “Even with all our technology – email, smartphones, iPads – nothing beats a face-to-face conversation.”

To help attendees make the most of their time with buyers, the first day of the Fair featured three marketing seminars: How to Sell To Purchasers From a Purchasing Perspective – Jeoff Burris, Advanced Purchasing Dynamics; High-Octane Busines Growth Power Prospecting – Kordell Norton, Synergy Solutions; and a Supply Chain Panel discussion. An evening cocktail session for all attendees provided further networking opportunities.

This was not the first NTMA Purchasing Fair for Bryce Jewett, President of Jewett Machine in Richmond, VA, who calls the Purchasing Fair “a much more efficient” method of sales. “Where else can you make 15 calls in one day? I’m taking away two or three really hot leads – that’s a success.”

The NTMA is hosting its Fall Meeting October 13 - 16, 2011 at the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, CO.  The meeting will feature David Sullivan, president and managing director of Shamrock Group, Inc., as keynote speaker. To learn more, visit www.ntma.org.