My team and I took some time last week to attend the 27th annual WHMA conference in Las Vegas. We knew things were going to be great when on Day 1, at the conference golf outing, our team won and I took the longest drive!
Days 2 and 3 were a bit more serious. In addition to networking the conference provided a great opportunity to see new equipment, materials, software, and suppliers. We also heard some excellent conference sessions that covered topics such as:
Harness industry economics. 2020 would be soft, 2021 would be strong. A long term concern is the possibility of a depression hitting in 2030 due to the convergence of factors such as aging, generation gaps, and workforce mismatches of skills and available jobs.
Space exploration and related challenges for harness makers. The rapid commercialization of space is creating some unique problems including material shortages, definition of testing standards, prevention of contamination/foreign object debris (FOD), connector intermating, improper derating, and just bad communications which hamper the design and production process. We need to remember that "What works on earth doesn't always work in space" and begin moving toward a new, more consistent system.
Megatrend of CASE. CASE, which stands for connected, autonomous, shared and electrification, will change how we do business as the entire transportation industry evolves into a smart, more efficient, and environmentally-friendly resource.
Microtrends and megachanges. The evolution has already started with the rise of 5G, sensorization and digitization of the world. All of these elements are driving big data and should, ultimately lead to better AI.
A series of round tables, highlighted more down-to-earth issues that are important right now including:
The importance of supporting and highlighting standards such as IPC/WHMA-A-620
Improving our quote process
Staying connected with clients
Low pressure molding
Going to this for the 2nd year now, I would say these conferences have definitely allowed me to speed up my learning and understanding of the wire harness and cable assembly industry, how to be efficient, and where to direct DECA's capability development strategy. It was also great to get to know many of the industry leaders in a more personal setting. There isn’t any collusion here, but it’s good to have a beer with your competitors and just talk shop.