I was surprised to learn that AMT was established in 1902.
Tell us the story. We were originally known as the National Machine Tool Builders Association, and we made our start in the Cleveland and Cincinnati, Ohio, area. The original question was “can we get competitors together for the good of the U.S. manufacturing industry?” The aim was to get involved in providing educational opportunities, helping guide governmental policies, setting industry standards, and things of that nature. We also wanted to bring OEMs and potential customers together periodically, and that was the beginning of IMTS, which took place prior to World War II. As the years passed we began to include all the systems and technologies that surround machine tools, which continues to grow every year.
Especially in challenging economic times, why should manufacturers support AMT? In other words, what are the benefits of membership?
I come from industry, actually running a company, so I can really relate to that question, where you want to see sales going up, and costs going down. The two most powerful ways that AMT supports that goal is by gathering and providing its members with industry intelligence, and also with marketing access. In order to offer industry intelligence, we have market researchers and analysts onboard who study trends, issue forecasts, and even perform custom research for companies that are considering launching a new product line, for instance. As for market access, where else in the U.S. can you have 100,000 people exposed to your products, technologies, and services? In addition, we host pavilions representing U.S. manufacturing at international tradeshows, and we have tech centers located around the world to help American manufacturers wanting to expand into new markets to acclimate themselves to their target country. We also have strong relationships with peer associations located around the world, and those channels of communication are open and active.
In what other ways does AMT work to represent the U.S. manufacturing industry both domestically and abroad?
Here in the States, we work with the Departments of Commerce, Energy, and Defense, among many others, to stay abreast of policy changes. While we don’t act specifically as lobbyists, we do offer ourselves as a resource that anyone in government can reach out to. We also sit on many panels and committees, both here and overseas, so that we can have a say in things such as the development of ISO and other technical standards. In addition, our involvement with technical universities around the world keeps us at the leading edge of advanced technologies and innovations to help keep the American manufacturing industry strong. We’re always asking ourselves the question “How do we make it easy for our members to succeed overseas?”
Once we recover from the twin fists of a pandemic and an economic recession, do you believe we will have learned any valuable lessons?
I think it’s clear that we’ve learned a lot in terms of streamlining and rethinking how we go about doing business. For instance, augmented reality is now a mainstay in how we talk about machine tools and peripheral devices, while at the same time minimizing exposure due to fieldwork. Automation has really taken off, as well, so there’s less chance of exposure on the shop floor. Another example of increased efficiency involves the relationship between manufacturers and their supply chains, where clearer communication has helped keep lead times to a minimum and machine tools in operation. I think companies are also paying an interest in improving their messaging, concentrating on upgrading websites, focusing on the content of their webinars, and producing product demos for their YouTube channel, for example. And all of this is supported by open platforms such as MTConnect, which we developed with our industry partners as a means of standardizing data from all the devices on the shop floor. So these are just a few of the ways AMT supports American manufacturing while at the same time representing our expertise and capabilities in all the major markets found around the world.