If you were in attendance on day 1 of MD&M West this year in Anaheim, California, you could easily have been forgiven for thinking you were at a NFL game or a rock concert. As one entered the convention center, the lines literally snaked and wound back and forth across the lobby for hundreds of yards. If anyone was worried that the industry wasn’t ready for live events, they were quickly relieved with one view of that scene. On the other hand, if anyone was worried about the spread of COVID-19, it certainly wasn’t evident as very few masks were worn. That one snapshot in time made it clear we’re all ready for the pandemic to be endemic.
The meeting itself was very productive for companies such as ours (MedWorld Advisors), as our event success relies on the ability to meet the industry C-suite. The good news is most companies brought along their key executives. Also interesting to observe were the number of private equity executives as they were present in huge numbers, a good sign for more medtech deal making in 2022.
Some interesting observations from the C-suite during MD&M:
- Exhibitor CEOs were mostly there on day 1 and 2.
- Exhibitors were mostly pleased with the attendee turnout and thought they developed positive new leads for their business.
- Supply chain disruptions are creating dynamic scenarios for suppliers and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers. While pre-pandemic, there was a trend toward “sole sourcing” with a lesser number of suppliers, the current trend is about second sourcing for “just in case” (or simply to stay in production).
- We’re also moving from pre-pandemic just in time (JIT) to post-pandemic just need it! Bottom line – find inventory, buy inventory, and hold inventory to ensure production remains stable. While this will likely subside over time, OEM suppliers and manufacturers are more concerned with having parts than lean manufacturing.
- Some OEM suppliers were unsure about the long-term future of some new purchasing inquiries – whether this was a temporary uptick as customers look for inventory or a long-term new project. Either way, most were grateful for the opportunity to prove themselves to their prospective new customers.
Having now participated in successful 2022 medtech Iive events such as AAOS and now MD&M West, it seems like live events are back and it’s great to see MD&M West is among them. Most exhibitors and attendees seemed enthusiastic to be back in-person. It’s good news for our industry’s innovation and our manufacturing capabilities.
Now let’s hope supply chain productivity can begin to return as we work to reduce inflation and we can move back to JIT from just need it!