ILLUSTRATION: MARK FISHER
What can we do to ensure our trade show shipment arrives at the venue on time?
A smooth, on-time delivery starts with carefully labeling your shipment. Clearly mark both the bill of lading (BOL) and all shipping labels with these important pieces of information: the exhibitor's name and booth number, the full name of the trade show and service contractor, your targeted delivery date, and the number of pieces in the shipment and their weight. Also include the name of the payer (on the BOL only) and the tracking number (on the shipping labels only). Plus, match the information on the BOL to the labels on each piece of freight you are shipping, and remove any old shipping labels from previous events to avoid confusion.
In addition, the venue or host city will often be home to more than one trade show at a time. Thus, the more specific you are with the precise name of the venue, the show name, and your booth number, the better your chances are of getting your exhibit to the right place at the right time. Keep in mind that individual pieces of a larger shipment sometimes become separated from the pack. So to make sure everything arrives at the correct location, always label each piece in the shipment and be a little creative with your packaging. Similar to how travelers use bright yarn around suitcase handles to quickly spot their luggage at the baggage-claim carousel, brand your pieces with colored shrink wrap or distinctive marks that can be easily identified from across a loading dock.
Finally, whether you are shipping an exhibit to or from a trade show, place your business card inside each container. Should a piece get separated from the others or somehow be lost in transit, whoever locates the piece will be able to quickly get in touch with you courtesy of the contact information on your card.
— Steve Naasz, director of exhibit services, YRC Worldwide Inc., Overland Park, KS