With the NRF show breaking today in New York City and the IBS show going in this week in Las Vegas, it is time to remember an important part of the in-and-out of a show:
Do you know where and who your driver is?
Make sure before you leave for your show and before you leave the show floor at the end, check in with your driver. You should have their cell phone number and be sure to ask whomever made the arrangements (exhibit house, van line, freight company, your traffic manager) to provide you with their numbers, name and when you are to expect them.
When you first arrive on site (or the day before), contact your driver so their ETA is clear. Meet them on the dock and supervise the load out. Work with the forklift driver and your driver to spot your freight around your booth space to maximize your set up. Work with the driver and the freight manager at the show site to ensure paperwork is correct and if you can get copies.
On the down, call your freight contact or driver the day before load out. Usually the driver is scheduled to show up at show site at the show close and remain to help with some packing and labeling of the shipment. Turn in the bill of lading (BOL) and keep a copy. The freight manager will ask (and they will on the BOL, too) if you have contacted your freight company. Get the crate count right and make sure all is secure.
Lesson Learned: you can't know too many people in the freight process.