A huge part of the setup of any expo is the gathering of materials for booths. Relying on exhibitors to bring their own materials is almost never ideal, since many may not want to travel long distances with all of their materials in tow. There are scheduling concerns to be aware of as well. Waiting for a certain exhibitor’s materials to arrive, or worrying about whether or not they will arrive at all, is not an ideal position to be in right before an expo is set to open its doors. It is important that show managers understand not only how to find an adequate means of getting materials into their convention but know material handling procedures inside and out as well.
What is Material Handling?
Material handling happens in several phases. There’s the unloading of your materials (either into a storage space or at your expo itself), delivery of those materials to you booth and the reloading of those materials once you are done with them. It may also involve the storage, and eventual retrieval, of any empty containers used to store your materials. Most martial handling firms will not ship materials themselves. Instead they are meant to stand by to receive the items you need and make sure they are sent back when the expo concludes.
Advance Shipments vs Direct Shipments
Advanced shipments are materials that are sent to a material handling firm to place in storage before your expo or trade show. You can often store a shipment as much as 30 days before the date of your event, though some firms have regulations on exactly which types of materials may be stored. Storing materials in this manner is often more logistically appealing, though you can expect to incur additional fees for the time.
Direct shipments are sent directly to your expo’s facility during your official exhibitor move-in time. Show managers, or other qualified representation, must be present when the materials arrive so that they may be accepted. This option is better for those trying to plan an event in a hurry, as well as those who do not want to pay for storage.
Determining Your Material Handling Charges
Material handling charges are largely determined by the weight of your materials. Before they are shipped your boxes are outfitted with certified weight tickets. The number written on these tickets will dictate how much you are charged. When calculating material handling charges it’s always best to round to the nearest 100 pounds. Smaller boxes (under 30 pounds) sent through companies like FedEx or UPS will not have certified weight tickets. Charges for these are a flat per carton rate. These rates will vary depending on the material handling firm you hire and, additional charges may apply.
Should You Get Insurance?
Often whether or not to get insurance is not even a viable choice. Many show facilities and organizers require that you purchase liability insurance for your expo’s materials. You will need to make sure your materials are insured every step of the way, from the time they are sent out to the time they are returned. This will add an additional expense to the material handling for your expo.
If you’re a show manager and you haven’t dived into the available information about fair handling practices and charges you owe it to yourself to do so. The success of your expo may depend on it.