It has been a full year since the last time most of us have attended a tradeshow or expo. I was fortunate enough to travel to the biggest expos in the world related to the poultry, meat, and feed industry. The International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) was held in Atlanta Georgia at the World Congress Center right by the Olympic Park where the 1996 Olympics were held.
The first thing you notice when arriving in downtown Atlanta is that the entire area is set to welcome attendees and exhibitors to the event. Here is just one sign of many distributed throughout the area. This event brings in people from throughout the world, many of whom seem to have visited the United States for the first time. However, one thing we all seemed to have in common was the deep desire to learn about the new advances in the industry.
The expo started at 9:00 am on January 25th, 2022. After hitting registration we were taken by a series of escalators to the show floor and I was impressed. The expo had over 1,000 exhibitors with machines that did everything from putting labels on a box, to cracking eggs open without dropping shells in the egg. It was impressive. The amount of robotics, logistics, packaging, animal health, facilities management, maintenance companies were astounding.
The one thing that was missing though? Almost any recognition of workforce training solutions. Sure there were 1-2, maybe a 3rd vendor there that had some sort of workforce skills management solution. But of the 1,000 exhibitors, that was still only a 0.03% representation rate. When in early August of 2021 we saw a labor shortage of approximately 10,000,000 million open jobs in just the U.S. and now we are in the great resignation where employees are resigning like flies there is a need to hire workers quickly and get them up to speed even quicker. Furthermore cross-training across all aspects of the business would provide a skills coverage that can help mitigate the shortage. Of the 10-15 people I did ask, I got varying answers. One person who has worked in the technology side of things for 17 years in the industry says the industry only has one player in the training/learning field and no one likes it. Fortunately, I talked to several people who are excited about the possible opportunity of managing workforce skills and learning records.
We see a need for Noviqu in the poultry, meat, and feed industry and plan to further investigate the challenges that other industries face.
One last thing. I was able to get a picture of a 20’ tall inflatable pig.