This week, as we begin to reveal the stories of the 2015 IndustryWeek Best Plants Award winners (two are posted so far: "Lean Thinking in Action at ATS Corp.," and "Kaizens Key to Bard Shannon’s Cultural Turnaround"), we’re heading into the final phase of a year-plus-long effort to learn what it takes to lead a world-class manufacturing business.

That journey culminates at the 2016 IW Manufacturing & Technology Conference & Expo – where manufacturing decision-makers gather for an in-depth look at trends, strategies and best practices that help manufacturing businesses become more innovative, more competitive and more profitable. The event, which will be held May 3 to 5 at teh Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill., is also an opportunity to meet and learn from the IW Best Plants Award winners, who are featured presenters.

On Monday, Feb. 29 at 11:59, the final phase begins, as the early-bird registration ends.

New Name, Expanded Charter

Many long-time readers of IndustryWeek will recognize that the M&T ConExpo is the former IndustryWeek Best Plants Conference, updated with a new name and expanded charter. It builds on the strong legacy of honoring outstanding manufacturing plants and revealing the best practices in operational leadership, workforce development and continuous improvement.

The expanded portion involves increased information about how companies are implementing the latest technology – 3D printing, advanced robotics, Internet of Things, Big Data and analytics. Many early adopters of these technologies will present at the event, sharing how they leveraged technology to achieve revolutionary leadership practices, business models, production systems and products.

The early adopters of these technologies are ready to share their stories, and you’ll meet and learn from them at the M&T ConExpo."

Patricia Panchak, IndustryWeek Editor-in-Chief

“We are living and working at a time when a host of technologies are all coming to maturity at the same time, ready for implementation into your facilities and into your businesses,” said Patricia Panchak, IndustryWeek editor-in-chief. “The early adopters of these technologies are ready to share their stories, and you’ll meet and learn from them at the M&T ConExpo.”

Also added to the program is an Education Theater focused on new technologies and delivered in fast-paced, information-packed 20-minute sessions right on the Expo Floor.

As well, a new Manufacturing Leadership Awards program will recognize three influential executives: a Lifetime Achievement Award, and an award each for implementing Innovative Technology and Talent Strategies. The 2016 New Equipment Digest Innovation Awards will name the most disruptive innovations in industrial equipment, software and devices.

Of course, the conference will continue to feature the IW Best Plants Awards ceremony, honoring the best of the best factories in North America, those whose results meet and often exceed world-class standards set over a quarter century of data collection.
Among other highlights:

  • Seven in-depth, behind-the-scenes factory tours to choose from (the 8th tour is already booked to capacity!), and more to come.
  • Five keynotes featuring thought leaders from world-leading companies, including GE, Toyota, Goodyear, Google and Kent International
  • Sixtracks featuring 36 mission-critical best practices, from technology, leadership and innovation to talent and continuous improvement
  • Numerous networking events where you can button-hole presenters, collaborate with product and service providers, or trade war stories with your peers.

Sponsors include MESA International, Advanced Technology Services Inc., Kronos, Rockwell Automation, Synchrono Manufacturing Software, TourGuide Solutions, Kepware Technologies, Oracle, Plex, Brock Solutions, Zurich and Parsec.

Visit for complete information and to register.