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Conference Review: MHI 2024 Spring Meetup

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MHI 2024 Spring Meetup

The Material Handling Industry association (MHI, website) arrange a number of member meetings in addition to trade shows Modex and Promat. Member meetings are held in the Spring and Autumn meetups - called Spring Meetup and the Annual Conference. 

MHI's 2024 Spring Meeting was held on home turf (for MHI) in Charlotte, North Carolina, US in lovely summery weather (just below 30 degrees Celsius in the sun). Venue was moved from the 2023 location in the Westin hotel to Charlotte Convention Centre due to refurbishment. This was no problem and the Convention Centre is conveniently located just across the road from the Westin hotel and allowed for an early morning stroll to grab MHI breakfast and a quick additional networking thing with people at the table.

Stairs leading up to the 1st floor where the Spring Meeting was held. Nice signage which could easily be seen from the entrance doors.

Charlotte Convention Centre.

PS Note the 2025 Spring meeting will be held in Austin, Texas.

Our own Tom Andersson was invited to present to two membership groups - Conveyor & Sortation Solutions (CSS) and the Solutions Community.

Tom presenting STIQ's 2023 report on the WMS Software sector (download for free here). This presentation was 15minutes and received a very positive response among the industry audience (we hope we get invited next year again!).

Unfortunately we didn't get any photos from our CSS group presentation on sortation concepts in a variety of our free market reports. (if you read this and have a photo - contact us)

Pretty big hall and audience to present to the Solutions Community.

High profile practitioner panel at MHI

MHI attracts a lot of vendors and component suppliers. They also manage to get a large-ish number of "practitioners" (users/buyers of warehouse automation equipment). Here are three very high profile women practitioners discussing what equipment manufacturers should do to get more business (among other things).

The session was moderated by Gary Master of DC Velocity and Agile Business Media.

The three practitioners included Sherry Harriman of Academy Sports + Outdoors, Leslie O'Regan of American Eagle Outfitters, and Melanie Sabella of Coca Cola Consolidated Inc.

Panellists offered some very interesting views on how equipment vendors could add value to their solution sets and drive more business from these companies. 

NASCAR MUSEUM evening event

MHI is a super place for networking with people in the industry. Here is Kai Beckhaus from Wagner and Matt Bush from KPI alongside MHI MAG Group scholarship recipient Sasha Nikitin (congrats!). Image taken from the Nascar museum evening gettogether.  

We also put our hands on the simulator and ended up 4th in the heat. It was clear that we selected the wrong car which had bad tyres and an old engine :)

Thanks to Chase Elliott for letting us drive his car for the simulation. If you get a chance - try it - great fun. 

Thanks to the MHI team + member volunteers 

Finally, a big thank you to the MHI team members who pull off a feat and a half every time they do one of these membership events.

We also want to give a shout to the many individual persons (company members) who volunteer plenty of time to manage groups and invite us on occasion. Special thanks to Mike Drolet + the CSS group leadership and Christian Dow + the Solutions Community leadership + Jayesh Mehta.  

See you soon hopefully - definitely at Promat 2025 in Chicago!

MISC + Midnight Diner in uptown Charlotte

As diners/cafes go, The Midnight Diner in uptown Charlotte (5-10min walk from the convention centre) is way cool and has become our favourite place to enjoy a burger + fries. The place looks amazing on both the exterior (like an old Airstream trailer) and the interior. Loudspeakers emit the coolest 50s, 60s and 70s rock'n'roll music which goes down well with the grub. This is a 24/7 joint (and no guns are allowed!) and the atmosphere is simply super. Let us know if you go - the place even has its own website. Well worth a visit. They accept cards. 

Of course, we couldn't avoid visiting the local Whole Foods (Amazon) store. In image: self checkout with payment by palm/hand scanner (for registered users only).

8th floor at the Westin, facing East with morning sunrise just before heading out to the local Starbucks which open at 6am.

We spent quite a few mornings at Starbucks and were surprised to pay $8 (incl tip) for a flat white, but more so that you could get it in a large size ("the bucket"). Reasonable coffee quality (despite all nay sayers... or perhaps our tastebuds have some refinement left to be executed on).

Starbucks collection desk with letters in the alphabet signifying the first letter in your name. This location was super busy for takeouts.  


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