I'm trying to be proactive to head off shipping-related disasters. What should I do before my shipment goes out, and what information should I bring to the trade show in case my freight goes AWOL?
While missing freight is rarely an easy problem to solve, being prepared for the worst can often result in the best outcome – recovering your property. So before you leave for your next show, perform these last-minute checks and take the following shipping information with you, as it will prove invaluable if you arrive on site and realize your freight did not arrive with you.
Bring copies of all shipping orders and order confirmations from your freight carriers.
Make and keep copies of your outbound bills of lading and/or air-bill numbers (with accurate piece counts). You may need these as proof and/or to check what arrived versus what's AWOL.
Record tracking numbers and PRO numbers for your shipments. You'll need these if something goes awry.
Note the exact shipping address (as it appears on your shipping labels). You can double check the rest of your documents and verify with your carriers that everyone has the same info.
Always carry your freight carrier's 24/7 customer-service number and/or your agent/broker's phone numbers.
Bring the cellphone number of the truck driver delivering your freight. A quick call to your driver will help you figure out where your shipment might be and where it could have been misplaced should the unthinkable happen.
Request a proof of delivery (POD), also known as a delivery confirmation, from your freight carrier. The POD should be sent to you soon after the shipment is delivered and as soon as the shipment is received, and it should include the name of the person who signed for each shipment, as well as the date and time of receipt.
Nobody wants their shipments to go missing. But even worse than a lost shipment is an exhibit manager that's unprepared to handle the snafu. So arm yourself with the aforementioned information and materials to ensure a no-show of your shipment doesn't turn into a total no-show for your company at the exhibition.
— Candy Adams, CTSM, CME, CEM, CMP, CMM, independent exhibit project manager and consultant, Defiance, OH