Orlando was the site of what has become a courageous experience for many: a return to a major live, in-person conference. The 2022 Grainger Show welcomed approximately 8,500 attendees ready to interact in person at the Orlando Convention Center this week. The spirit was warm, friendly and imbued with thought leadership.
The Grainger Show gave more than 4,000 invited customers the opportunity to meet more than 2,100 representatives from 400 of the world’s leading maintenance, repair and operation (MRO) provider organizations and hear from experts from leading industry discuss relevant topics that the MRO industry will encounter in 2022.
Exhibitors at the show represented Grainger’s entire product portfolio, from the largest – such as 3M, Stanley Black & Decker, Milwaukee Tool, Schneider Electric, Honeywell, Norton, Loctite – to more specialist suppliers including Weiler, Walter, JPW, GWS Tool Group and many others.
The show was designed to provide attendees with “comprehensive, proven strategies to help their businesses and institutions save time, money and stay safe,” according to Grainger.
Session tracks at the Grainger Show included Preparedness and Preparedness Plan, Operations and Maintenance Technology, Supply Practices, Safety and Industry Trends.
The main themes of the show were future directions, best practices and solutions to problems facing MRO clients, while the seminars ranged from colorful titles such as “The Nebulous Nature of Environmental Social Governance (ESG): Fundamentals for operational performance” to “It’s the dose That makes the poison – The cumulative effect of exposure to hazardous substances.
“I enjoyed the seminars because it’s just good to hear what people in the industry are doing,” mentioned one client. “In a hopefully post-pandemic world, it will be nice to put the things I learned here at Grainger into practice.”
Others at the show appreciated the ability to network with colleagues in person, away from Zoom, Microsoft Teams or other virtual software. The 2022 Grainger Show was conducive to group meetings, breakout sessions and one-on-one conversations.
One of the highlights of the show was the ‘Supplier Innovation Panel’, which included representatives from TRU NORTH Advisors, Hibbett Retail, Accenture and Medxcel. The panel discussed how the rate of change is driven by disruptive innovation and how post-pandemic supplier innovation is changing relationships with organizations.
Innovation was at the center of the Grainger Show seminars, as speakers explained how they prepared for the sudden onslaught of the pandemic and faced an industry facing higher prices and costs and, in many cases, to fierce competition for labour.
The trade show hosted exhibitors large and small, with product demonstrations including air purifiers, tool demonstrations, metalworking and the latest safety apparel. Customers have often noticed how much more beneficial it is to trace business cards and ask questions in person. Show attendees were treated to entertainment on both nights of the conference, which increased opportunities to network.
“I think it was a good model for hosting a conference this year,” one client remarked. “Grainger clearly put a lot of effort into this, and I’m glad the COVID mess didn’t derail that. I bet it will be even bigger next year.
“Bigger next year” was a common theme; not just at the show, but also for the industry in general. With an economy growing by leaps and bounds in 2021, the excitement was palpable for greater revenue growth, innovation and workforce replenishment in 2022.