In the Exhibition Logistics Trends & Best Practices Study - the survey asked both show managers and exhibitors a number of questions on key trends and how to improve the logistics, freight shipping and material handling process. Below are some of the common themes based on verbatim answers grouped into suggestions and recommendations.
• Reduce costs, and better explain costs and surcharges at the start of the process and on invoices.
• Implement more industry-wide standard procedures, policies and best practices.
• Continue to educate exhibitors on the shipping and material handling process and best practices.
• Provide better shipment tracking with online access to real-time information.
• Improve customer service and employee training.
• Lower minimum weight requirements and pricing for small package delivery.
• Provide more flexibility and access for small package shippers to pick up at more venues and on show floor areas.
• Focus on reducing damage and loss, and provide faster turnaround on damage claims.
Show management feels that a key issue is the lack of understanding by exhibitors of cost, charges and billing, and the event logistics and material handling process. The industry overall and show management (as well as exhibitors on their own) can benefit from additional information, communication and training. A goal of this unique study is to add to this discussion and inform the industry.
Tradeshow logistics, shipping and material handling has many variables and often tight deadlines. It is important to understand that tradeshow and exhibit shipping is different from most other types of freight and transportation processes. This is due to shipment size variables, packaging differences, multiple locations, time sensitivity and deadlines. What also makes it different are the various on-site union and material handling procedures and rules.
The tradeshow logistics and shipping pre-event planning process is important. Ample time and attention needs to be given to all exhibitor manuals and show management and contractor communications. Exhibit and event managers need to also communicate internally to ensure their organization is aligned on what is to be sent and the overall event strategy. For example, try to consolidate as much of the shipping as possible, both the freight and any small packages from your entire team that will be at the show. Remind and re-remind your team about important deadlines and stress the potential costs and headaches if these are missed.