The Manufacturing Indaba is scheduled to take place later this month as an in-person event for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Event management company and Manufacturing Indaba organiser Siyenza looks forward to using the event as a platform to enable industry stakeholders to network, share information and market their solutions.
Siyenza MD Liz Hart explains that while virtual events have multiple and far-reaching benefits, there were immense challenges for the event organisers and participants.
These challenges include increased distractions and online fatigue, network constraints, technical glitches and the tendency for virtual events to feel impersonal. She elaborates that the past two virtual seminars required significant expertise, time and cost in planning to ensure efficient implementation.
Despite the challenges, the events were successful and attendees capitalised on the digital features and capabilities made available to them.
The virtual events brought together business owners, industry leaders, government officials, capital providers and professional experts from across the Southern Africa region to engage in insightful discussions and exchange ideas to explore and unlock opportunities in the manufacturing space, says Hart.
Owing to the impact of the pandemic, multiple protocols are in place to ensure the health and safety of every delegate and staff member attending the event. Siyenza looks forward to this year’s event, in its physical capacity, enabling attendees to feel instantly connected, because people inherently prefer in-person networking events.
Further, attendees identify better with body language and subtle communication cues, and demonstrations are conducted far more efficiently in-person than virtually.
The in-person element also minimises opportunities for distractions that are prevalent in a digital event setting, such as participants checking their phones or emails, or experiencing other interruptions in the background.
“The resurgence of the upcoming Manufacturing Indaba is stirring much anticipation among the industrial community, both locally and globally, as the longstanding conference returns to the physical event realm,” says Hart.
Manufacturing stakeholders are eager to attend in-person and enjoy the vibrancy the symposium previously presented by engaging with fellow industrialists on-site.
Many industry stakeholders also feel that in-person events are one of the most effective sales methods and are expressing excitement to see their return on investment in terms of marketing and lead generation by physically attending the upcoming seminar.
The upcoming conference is anticipated to have a long-lasting and positive impact on manufacturing communities by enabling attendees to identify, engage and exchange ideas and knowledge with significant participants, speakers, financiers, influencers and leaders, thereby giving them the means to thrive in the intensely competitive manufacturing sector.
Hart explains that the Indaba affords participants superior knowledge and networks to develop advanced solutions and business models to grow prosperous manufacturing businesses, ultimately contributing to the nation’s economic growth. This aligns with the theme for this year’s indaba: Reigniting Economic Growth Through Manufacturing.
The event will host the successful business-to-business (B2B) Connect Programme which gives company representatives an opportunity to prearrange meetings to be hosted at the event. This gives time to prepare adequately for meetings and serves as the ideal solution for all exhibitors and conference delegates to physically meet with other high-level attendees, speakers, sponsors and investors at the event as well as promote their products and services to event participants.
The programme enables attendees to view a comprehensive list of participating companies and select who they wish to meet.
The programme model is spearheaded by intelligent matchmaking software that uses the profile and background information of attendees to connect them with relevant contacts that are significant to their goal attainment. Through the software, participants can send meeting requests and pre-schedule meetings at a central on-site venue such as the B2B Connect Lounge.
Hart explains that industrialists have had to restructure their businesses to swiftly adapt to and remain competitive throughout the pandemic. Therefore, this year’s Indaba comprises pertinent insights for industrialists to resourcefully adapt to post-pandemic challenges, placing them in an opportune position to make small and incremental innovations to stay ahead of competitors as well as empower them to grow in the sector.
The future of manufacturing is a key focus area and unpacking the way forward for manufacturing. As such, the rapid increase in the adoption of Internet of Things technology, along with hearing how manufacturers have managed to continue to grow their businesses in tough market conditions, are key focuses at the event.
There have been many profound changes post-pandemic, therefore Siyenza aims to use the upcoming Indaba to embrace, capitalise on and celebrate these shifts within the local industrial sector, alongside manufacturing stakeholders, to build a better, more robust industrial sector and economy going forward.
“As a proud and longstanding representative of our nation’s manufacturing sector, we consider this edition of the Manufacturing Indaba as a celebration for a ‘new sense of normalcy’,” Hart concludes.