12 Logis­tics Tips To Ensure A Smoother Trade Show

So much plan­ning, time, and effort goes into get­ting ready for a trade show. You think about design, bud­get, who will staff the booth, and what kind of leads you may get. But, some­times, a very impor­tant part of exhibit­ing can be over­looked: What do you do if you run into ship­ping issues? It would be pretty hard to exhibit with­out your trade show booth present at the show. To avoid such dis­as­ter, fol­low these 12 logis­tics tips to ensure a smoother trade show:

  1. Pre-​plan. Get ship­ping esti­mates from 3 logis­tics com­pa­nies and com­pare the prices. If you are ship­ping to mul­ti­ple shows a year, you will also want to get ref­er­ences from com­pa­nies you trust who ship. Speak to your logis­tics com­pany and work out the best price you can get. The more notice you can give them, the better.
  2. Ship to advanced ware­house. If you have this option, take it. You can avoid booth delays and move in tar­get delays for your booth by doing so. This is espe­cially impor­tant if you have a 10×10 or larger mod­u­lar booth or accessories.
  3. Advise your bro­ker. If you are ship­ping across a bor­der let your bro­ker know. Send all required doc­u­ments ahead of time so they are aware your ship­ment is com­ing to avoid bor­der delay.
  4. Paper­work. Fill in all nec­es­sary paper­work ahead of time and be sure a copy goes with the logis­tics dri­ver upon pick up. If you are ship­ping mon­i­tors and/​or elec­tron­ics of any kind, be reminded there are spe­cial forms for this. If you need assis­tance, avoid prob­lems from the start and con­tact your broker.
  5. Labels. It is impor­tant to label all ship­ment cases and boxes clearly with your com­pany name, show name, and booth num­ber to ensure safe arrival to your booth. Be sure to have a phone num­ber on the cases or boxes in case of loss or des­ti­na­tion mix up.
  6. Avoid last minute ship­ments. When pos­si­ble, do your best to stay away from this pit­fall. This is costly and you risk the booth not show­ing up on time.
  7. Know what’s allowed to ship. Do not ship per­ish­able items! Make sure what­ever you’re send­ing is cleared to be put in a box and sent around the world.
  8. Call ahead. The day prior to ship­ment pick up, call to con­firm the sched­ule is on time. If it’s not, you still have time to use a back up plan. Don’t wait until you’re sit­ting at the show empty handed.
  9. Track­ing. Always get the ship­ment track­ing num­ber from your ship­per and track daily to see ship­ment progress and ensure timely arrival.
  10. Pre-​Arrange pick up. Have your trade show exhibit ready and labeled with the return des­ti­na­tion. Leave one copy of ship­ping paper­work at the booth, and hand the other one in to the show.
  11. Track return ship­ment. Be sure to con­firm ship­ment pick up to avoid ‘Forced Freight.’ This can go unno­ticed for days if ship­ment isn’t being tracked and can be very costly. If ship­ment is held, each day a new charge is accumulated.
  12. Return ship­ment. Check all con­tents upon return. If any­thing is dam­aged or miss­ing you must deal with it imme­di­ately. When time elapses, there is less chance of repair­ing or find­ing the miss­ing shipment.