SHIPMENT LABEL and PACKAGING
- Of course properly labeling your shipments is essential. You can differentiate and customize your labels and packaging so they are distinguishable from other exhibitors. For example, try using a specific color for your labels perhaps a fluorescent color as well as using a particular color for your shrink wrap. This way you have something specific to describe when labor or drivers look for your cartons, crates, and pallets. Furthermore, a bright fluorescent color is easier to spot at a distance and on a crowded dock so it is also a time saver as well as an identifier. Make sure you label your freight correctly as well, for instance, piece 1 of 6, etc. This way you know how many pieces you’re coming in with as well as what you should be leaving with. This will also assist your on-site team when filling out the Material Handling Agreement (MHA) and Bill of Lading (BOL).
WEIGH and MEASURE YOUR FREIGHT
- Dimensions and weight determine the costs or rates of your freight. Be sure to accurately weigh and measure every piece you ship to and from the floor. A good practice is to put the dimensions on the carton, crate, and/or pallet which gives you another identifier should you need to locate your freight off the show room floor or on the dock. Always double check or triple check as this can impact your costs if you or the person you’re relying on overestimates the dimensions. When you write or stamp the dimensions on the piece, this eliminates any confusion and inefficiency related to your costs.
COMPLETE THE BILL OF LADING (BOL) and THE MATERIAL HANDLING AGREEMENT (MHA)
- Everyone at an event must complete the Material Handling Agreement in order for Labor to properly recover and load your freight. Make sure the information matches on both forms. Use the BOL and the MHA documentation as reinforcement tools that you are receiving the correct freight. Pay close attention to and fill out the critical information. BOOTH NUMBER, EXHIBITOR NAME, WEIGHT PER PIECE, TOTAL WEIGHT, NUMBER OF PIECES, TYPE OF PIECES, I.E. CARTON, CRATE, PALLET, OR HANGING SIGN, SHOW NAME, GENERAL CONTRACTOR, PAYER, TARGET MOVE-IN AND MOVE-OUT, and CARRIER THAT THE FREIGHT IS CONSIGNED TO. By properly filling out your documents you’re further reducing the risk of inefficiencies by eliminating the possibility of delays or worse yet, having your freight forced off the show floor and incurring additional costs thus cutting into your or your client’s event bottom line.
- Work out the details of your trade show shipment as far in advance as you can. Not only does this provide you with a structured plan, but it also allows you to use your time resourcefully. Further, failure to properly plan might result in increased shipping rates as last minute planning and carrier booking results in a capacity crunch that follows the simple law of supply and demand. Remember, you’re not the only one booking freight with carriers for this show, if you’re behind chances are your rates will see an increase.
TRAIN YOUR ON-SITE PERSONNEL
- This one relates to ADVANCED PLANNING. Be sure that your on-site personnel are properly trained for the logistical aspect of your trade show. Familiarize them with the documentation process. Taking a few moments to have them practice the procedure can save you hours or days tracking down freight as well as protecting your or your client’s investment in the trade show event. If your ADVANCED PLANNING is handled properly, you should have time allocated for the training of your on-site personnel. Remember, preparation creates your team’s and your company’s luck.