There was a blue collar excitement to the event. Accounting had an industrial engineering flavor with focus on efficiency and waste. HCM was about finding young talent who don’t mind hats and gloves – the industrial kind. The host of “The Edge Factor”, Jeremy Bout keynoted about pride in manufacturing careers. Cindy Jutras of Mint Jutras and others led a breakfast session on Women in Manufacturing (see more here)
Conversations were about lot management, traceability and adjacencies - supply chain management, R&D, plant maintenance. The next-gen tech including wearables (see my note here) on display were not just for the cool factor, but for practical applications on the shop floor. The analytics discussed were about machine performance and product quality. The swag and the buffets showcased things Plex process industry customers make. Everywhere companies and individuals proudly displayed “we make xxx” tags for much more sophisticated products. The partner booths were smallish – representative of their “low key, get it done” attitude to projects.
As Dennis Howlett observed there was a beaming confidence that pervaded the event from the beginning: “It is rare, nay unknown, for the CEO of a software business to keynote a customer conference on the last two days of a quarter but that’s exactly what Jason Blessing, CEO Plex did..”
I spent time with a couple of prospects who, in another sign of confidence, were allowed to walk around the event and get unvarnished input from customers and analysts. Paul Wright, CIO at Accuride shared with me details of the Plex customer community – the leadership seasoned Plex customers like him provide and encourage their peers to provide. He also talked about his openness with Plex prospects in a conversation dotted with terms like “G-codes for lathes” and “maquiladoras”
I did a breakout session with David Morfas of Plex, and I expressed my admiration for the roomful of manufacturing customers (see some of what they make in graph above) and told them they represent the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) “cells” for their enterprises and that they should be leading other parts of their enterprises around precision and productivity initiatives with their scientific bent.
Oh and by the way, there was also a bit of focus on cloud computing at the event
Next year, PowerPlex heads to downtown Detroit. With the renaissance of US manufacturing, that should be a great venue.