Sunday, April 27, 2008

Arranging freight

Getting the exhibit to the show is one of the last links in the chain, but a critical one: the show has to go on and it can't (effectively) without your goods being at the show.

When arranging a truck or van to pick up and drop off your shipment, remember:
  1. What are the size, shape, weight and number of pieces you are transporting?
  2. When will the be ready to pick up and returned and who is the contact person?
  3. Where are they going and who pays the bill?
Sizes and shapes. A trucker or shipping company/broker needs to know how many pieces and how much each weighs before they can give you a quote or estimate of the cost. You need to differentiate between crates, shrink-wrapped pallets or skids and loose items, like carpet rolls and rolls of pad. Since you have to calculate this anyway for your drayage (material handling) estimate and bill, it's best to know this (or estimate it) as early as possible.

Pick up times and locations. Let the carrier know when they can pick up your shipment (for example, between Noon and 4 on Friday the 2nd). If the show has a "quick facts" page (as Freeman does with their shows), fax it or e-mail it to your carrier's contact well in advance of the ship date. Be sure and designate a contact person on both ends of the shipment and be sure to include phone numbers (preferably cell phone numbers).

Destination. Be sure all pieces in the shipment are labeled clearly. If you are working with a van line, they will supply you with outbound and return labels as well as blank Bills of Lading for the return shipment from the show. Be sure that it is clear to the general contractor at the show who is to be billed for the shipment.

Lesson learned: know your shipment's condition, character and destinations and all will go well. Time is on your side, if you think ahead.


(thanks to my friends at Freeman Decorating and San Diego Mayflower for their input)

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