Going to PackExpo? Get the most out of it with these tips.

PackExpo 2016 CMG PlasticsSo, you’re going to PackExpo. So are we (see us in Upper Lakeside Hall, Booth #E-7552booth). Tradeshow experts say you can get more out of two days at a tradeshow than you can out of a month on your computer or you phone – because everyone and everything is all there in one place. But to capture this value as an attendee you have to prepare. Here’s our advice on how to do that – at PackExpo – or any show:

Before the Show

  1. Shows can be overwhelming – and if you just show up without a plan (and too many do), you are going to miss a lot. The first step in building a plan is to know exactly what you want to get out of the show. Are you going to make contacts, see demos, vet suppliers, get pricing, see what’s new, attend seminars or something else?
  2. Then make an hour-by-hour plan to achieve your goals. A great starting point is the show’s website which shows you who’s exhibiting, a map of where they are on the show floor, seminar and event schedules and more.
  3. See if you can make appointments with the companies you want to see most. Some of the savvier exhibitors support this. Look for companies promoting appointment on the show’s website.
  4. Prepare your list of key supplier questions before hand – so you don’t miss something crucial

At the Show

  1. Consider how you want to appear to the people you meet, then dress the part
  2. Save time and get more from your conversations by avoiding the heaviest crowds. Go early, or wait for the second day, or morning of the third day.
  3. Before going into a booth and talking to a rep, scope out what’s happening in the booth first – this can tell you important things about the company and its customers
  4. Monitor the show’s Twitter and Instagram hashtag feeds (e.g., #showname) between stops – they can be a good source of information and entertainment
  5. Watch what you take. Lots of people will try to give you stuff – branded water bottles, literature, tchotchkes, business cards. Only take what you really need (after a show, hotel rooms are full of abandoned stuff)
  6. Work it – it’s really tempting, particularly when you’re tired and your feet hurt, to call it a day, but you paid good money to get there. Make it count.

Post Show

  1. On the plane ride home, make a detailed follow-up plan and timeline – then stick to it.

Bonus Tips

  • Register for the show early – there is often a discount for early registration
  • Stay in the event’s official hotel or hotels – and hang out in the common areas and bars. It’s a great way to make connections.
  • Most critical – bring two pairs of really comfortable shoes. Never wear the same pair two days in a row. If you don’t know why, you’ll find out.

We hope to see you at PackExpo. Safe travels.

CMG Plastics is a custom plastic packaging manufacturer focused on the food, healthcare and packaged goods industries. We offer a range of sophisticated customization capabilities and the ability to produce custom packaging with excellent consistency at high-speed. If you want to learn more, please visit us at PackExpo booth show #E-7552, or contact Jens (pronounced “Yens”) Duerr at 908.218.7997 ext. 203.

Visit our Online Booth at http://packexpo16.mapyourshow.com/7_0/exhibitor/exhibitor-details.cfm?ExhID=02020137&featureid=500

Four Tips for Evaluating Plastic Packaging Suppliers

handshakeThe health and quality of your supply chain is directly related to your ability to operate profitably as a company. Quality problems, missed deadlines, or constant searching for new vendors costs money and time that could be spent on other vital parts of your business. So if a supplier provides some business critical product or service (like plastic packaging), you need a guarantee of uninterrupted service before you start working with them. Here are the four most important steps for evaluating a supplier upfront.

Financial Health: This is a key measure of a supplier’s ability to meet your needs over time. It’s particularly critical if you are counting on a long-term relationship. Key financial health measures include overall profitability and key ratios consistent with healthy companies in the supplier’s industry. So make sure you see what you need to feel confident.

Competencies: These are all the plastic packaging supplier’s capabilities – big and small – a supplier needs to serve your business successfully. Carefully delineate them upfront, then be ready to ask probing questions about each of them until you get the level of detail required to make a decision. In the plastic packaging business key competencies could include all kinds of things: plant location, speed and capacities, QC procedures, types of equipment, access to pellets, molding, service of customers with similar needs, ancillary capabilities like decorating and assembly. And of course, pricing that is competitive with what other suppliers are offering. Think beyond your current needs, considering what additional capabilities you might require in the next few years.

Responsiveness: How does the plastics manufacturing supplier plan to keep in touch? Are they offering a single point of contact? Are they willing to customize their communications and reporting requirements to match your needs? Can they offer the data and reporting you require? What about access to their senior people should you need it? And perhaps, most important, how well do the respond during the evaluation process? What happens then is probably a good indicator of what will happen later.

Culture Match: What are the supplier’s key values? What do they say makes the plastics company different? If they focus on low cost, and your business values quality and consistency most, it could be a mismatch. A tour of the facility is also a must. If what they say and what you see and feel from their people and facilities don’t match, pay attention. Gut impressions are important.

We know there can be more to a supplier evaluation than just these four things (for instance interviewing current supplier customers). But we believe these evaluation steps are the most important and that any supplier who comes through them successfully is highly likely to be able to meet your needs.

We invite you to speak with us, to learn more.