Blog Participates In NTMA Purchasing Fair, Connects US Buyers With US Suppliers

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On September 8th, 2011, participated in the NTMA Purchasing Fair in Chicago, IL. The event was held at the Intercontinental Hotel at O'Hare, and was considered a huge success on many levels.

The purpose of NTMA's Purchasing Fairs - now in their 25th year - is to connect US OEMs and large companies that require custom manufacturing services with small and medium contract manufacturers in the US, that have the expertise and experience to partner and produce their components, parts and products.

A view of the show floor, with Buyers and Suppliers collaborating & negotiating on projects.

NTMA Purchasing Fair attendees - buyers and suppliers - meet to collaborate in September in Chicago.

“It is a little like speed dating for buyers and suppliers,” said Robert Akers, of NTMA. “We’ve done about 28 of these shows, and we find it works very well – suppliers know exactly what the customers want before they start talking to them.”

“It would take forever to make the same contacts we made here in six hours,” said a Senior Buyer for Alcoa Wheel & Transportation Products that attended the event. “Even with all our technology – email, smartphones, iPads – nothing beats a face-to-face conversation.”

Along with supplier-focused seminars held by NTMA on the afternoon preceding the fair, personnel conducted 3 seminars for buyers attending the show that focused on maximizing supplier relationships. Representatives from UL and Kimberly-Clark shared sourcing experiences and information with the Buyers in attendance.

Representatives from Kimberly-Clark meet with a prospective supplier at the NTMA Purchasing Fair.

Representatives from Kimberly-Clark meet with a prospective supplier at the NTMA Purchasing Fair.

Also, a panel discussion was moderated by's David Landsman and Bill Michels, CEO of ADR North America, for a joint session for all buyers and suppliers in attendance, addressing the mitigation of supply chain risk from both buy-side and supply-side perspectives.

Aside from these direct contributions to the event, several buyers that are members of the marketplace attended the Purchasing Fair at the invitation of Over 100 US-based buyers connected with 120 US suppliers at the Chicago fair.

Rob Akers & Mitch Free at the NTMA Purchasing Fair in Chicago, September, 2011.

Rob Akers (L), VP/COO of NTMA and Mitch Free, Founder and CEO of

The NTMA Purchasing Fair was co-sponsored by Harry Moser and The Reshoring Initiative, a non-profit group committed to providing a clearer perspective on the Total Costs of Ownership involved in any decision to offshore or outsource production.

Due to the success of the Chicago event, there are currently plans in the works for and NTMA to grow this collaboration to include's participation in future Purchasing Fairs.

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