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Why Small- and Medium-Sized Manufacturers Should Attend a Manufacturing Expo

A manufacturing expo brings together industry professionals to discuss trends, discover new manufacturing technologies, and network. Many big companies will attend and exhibit at manufacturing expos, but these events are also a great way for small- and medium-sized manufacturers to connect with new leads and grow their business. It’s important for these companies to have a presence at manufacturing expos, not just for their business, but for the manufacturing industry as a whole.

Small- and Medium-Sized Manufacturers

Small- and medium-sized manufacturing companies have fewer than 500 employees. According to SCORE, a U.S. network of business mentors, 98.6% of manufacturing companies — including companies with no employees — fall into this category. Because these smaller manufacturing companies make up such a significant portion of U.S. manufacturing, it's impossible to have manufacturing events without them. Having large companies as exhibitors can draw a lot of interest for manufacturing expos, but the small- and medium-sized manufacturers are often the hidden gems.

Attending and Exhibiting at a Manufacturing Expo

The majority of U.S. manufacturing companies are small- and medium-sized manufacturers. That means they’re dealing with increased competition and, potentially, less bandwidth and fewer resources due to working with a smaller team. Attending a manufacturing expo can help these businesses stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and manufacturing technology. By maintaining relevant industry knowledge and learning what customers expect, these companies have a better chance of remaining competitive.

These are great reasons for companies to attend a manufacturing expo, but businesses who are looking to drive growth should also exhibit at a trade show. Attending manufacturing events fosters connections with other companies and industry professionals, though likely won’t lead to any new prospects. By exhibiting, a manufacturing company can leverage its booth to advertise its products and services and attract quality leads. Manufacturing expos are full of attendees looking to purchase specific solutions to their internal manufacturing challenges. Having a booth at these events puts small- and medium-sized manufacturers directly in front of potential customers.  

Additionally, manufacturing expos are often attended by organizations working to advance the manufacturing industry. For smaller manufacturing companies that might not be prepared to exhibit, attending an industry event for the opportunity to connect with a manufacturing organization can be beneficial. Some of these organizations even have initiatives dedicated specifically to working with and helping small- and medium-sized manufacturers. Whether companies decide to attend or exhibit at a manufacturing expo, they’ll find it’s worth it to have a presence at these industry events.

Advancing the Manufacturing Industry

Though there are many direct benefits to smaller manufacturers who attend industry events, the presence of these companies also helps to advance the manufacturing industry. Advanced manufacturing technologies that improve productivity and decrease downtime are great tools for large companies that can afford costly investments. But if there’s no way to scale these technological advancements, they’ll never be adopted by the smaller manufacturers that make up the majority of the industry.

The presence of these small- and medium-sized manufacturing businesses at industry events helps add their voice to dialogue focused on progressing the industry. Having this type of platform provides an opportunity for smaller companies to openly discuss their most pressing manufacturing challenges. Working to address the concerns of all manufacturers and making it viable for them to adopt new technologies is a driving force for advancement in the manufacturing industry.  

If you belong to a small- or medium-sized manufacturing company and are interested in exhibiting at a manufacturing expo, check out our Manufacturing Technology Series and learn more about our upcoming event, SOUTHTEC.