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Membership, Privileges, and Opportunities

While there are many sources of data that you can find in a Google search, there is no specific source like the U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) program that AMT administers.
Dec 01, 2023

A date that probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but which had huge consequences, is March 12, 2020. On that day, a “containment area” within New Rochelle, New York, was established, which, among other things, prohibited large gatherings of people. It was the first coronavirus-related restriction in the United States. Soon thereafter, we all became familiar with a product invented in 2011 that few of us were aware of and which became an important tool to get our jobs done: Zoom.

In 2020 AMT had to cancel IMTS for the first time in 73 years. We created other venues to support the manufacturing technology industry – IMTS spark and IMTS Network. While those channels provided tremendous value to those who took the time to connect, the connections that are fundamental to events like IMTS and other meetings and conferences that AMT holds are – and I am not exaggerating here – priceless.

You can’t look into someone’s eyes and shake their hand on Zoom. And if there is one characteristic that I think is absolutely essential to AMT, it is the fact that it is personal, whether it is at an IMTS, where you can be with customers and colleagues from around the world, or at an advisory committee meeting, where you are working one-on-one with people to advance your area of interest.

I’ve had a long affiliation with AMT, one that goes back to 1994. At the time, I worked at a company making special machines, and it was recommended to me that the company join the association. From the start, I attended meetings. Committee meetings (for a group that focused on special machines – much to the benefit of my company). The AMT Annual Meeting, which put me face-to-face with C-level executives for companies that I otherwise would have never had the chance to meet. I met peers, some of whom have become lifelong friends. In all cases, the opportunity to spend time with people was beneficial on both personal and professional levels.

Those connections are certainly priceless. And I found that what I gained from my association with AMT to be so important and that I liked it so much that, yes, I became president in 2009.

Meeting people and making connections are certainly valuable to any business. And when the people are within one’s area of business – like manufacturing technology – it can have positive knock-on effects.

But the complexity of business today has a lot of elements that are difficult for companies – be they Silicon Valley automation startups or multinational machine tool manufacturers – to navigate. 

This is something that AMT can – and does – help companies manage.

For example, while there are many sources of data that you can find in a Google search, there is no specific source like the U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) program that AMT administers. It focuses specifically on demand for manufacturing technology in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. 

Of course, many companies want to do business beyond the borders of North America, so AMT has established offices and technical centers in Shanghai, China; Chennai, India; San Sebastian, Spain; and Monterrey, Mexico. This allows an AMT member to establish a foothold in these regions, one that offers assistance and guidance for everything from sales support to hiring local employees. 

This 1987 slogan from American Express (that you’re undoubtedly familiar with) seems fitting: “Membership has its privileges.” For AMT, that includes: 

  • We have AMT staff that focuses on legislation and lobbying. 

  • We have an economics team that provides member companies with current and projected data. 

  • We have connections with venture capital firms interested in manufacturing technology. 

  • We have people who perform research. 

  • And, of course, we organize and execute IMTS, objectively one of the most important manufacturing technology events in the world. 

Yes, there are many organizations that deal with manufacturing and technology. But none, I believe, has as extensive an offering or as comprehensive a commitment as AMT (let’s face it – opening and maintaining a facility in Shanghai isn’t something to be taken lightly). 

And members have access to the resources AMT has established and continues to develop, resources that help companies increase sales and reduce costs. What’s more, AMT provides the possibility to meet people, to attend meetings, and to contribute to things that may become an industry standard (e.g., MTConnect). 

Those are privileges – privileges that can become tremendous opportunities. Membership is what you make of it. And you can make – personally, professionally – a great deal. 

Douglas K. Woods


AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology

To read the rest of the Economics Issue of MT Magazine, click here.

Douglas K. Woods
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