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Has anyone seen this case?

For many clients, Construct holds the exhibit materials and ships to the event.
Client doesn’t have to worry about it.

We track the materials all the way in and all the way out. Still, stuff happens.  Pretending it doesn’t is the event management equivalent of burying your head in the sand.

Here are three experiences and what we do when it happens and what we do so it never happens again.

 

#1
Joe Smith: “Hotel Doesn’t have our stuff.  Setup is tomorrow at 6AM!

It is.  It arrived 2 days ago.  Signed for by Amy Jones. (Ok that’s a fictitious name).
Call the front desk….
Hello, looking for a case sent to Joe Smith.  “Sorry, nothing came for Mr.  Smith.”
Thank you.  Is Amy Jones available?  “I’m sorry, Ms. Jones just went on leave.”
Shipping and receiving please?  “Sorry shipping and receiving is closed and will open tomorrow at 8:00 AM.”
Events & Catering please…. “Hello events and catering”   Hi I’d like to speak with someone …
“Let me connect you with the shipping and receiving dept.”
They’re closed.
“I’ll connect you with the front desk”
No thanks…
<The transcript of the run-around has been truncated to save your sanity>

Ten Minutes later…

“Hello Joe?  Yeah the hotel has your stuff.    It will be in your booth space tomorrow by 6AM.
If it’s not in your booth space tomorrow at 6AM, call Ted Monongahela in S&R.  He gets in at 5.  Failing that, the Front desk manager tomorrow AM is Frankie Bagadonuts.
They had it the whole time.  I asked them to look for the giant black case and boxes with the red hardhat stickers all over them that I put on for just such an emergency.”

 

#2
Oh Customs.  “J’ai ben d’la misère à traiter avec les douanes!”

Conference overseas?  Across the border?
FedEx or UPS?  Customs broker or no customs broker?
Are commercial invoices ready?
Is the receiver OK to receive a week early in case everything goes right at customs?

Let’s make this short.  A lot can happen when shipping across borders.  There are no cutting corners on this one.  Considering alone what is spent on travel and event costs, we don’t want our client sitting in front of a table with the hotel table cloth and a small pile of business cards on top, arranged neatly, but sparsely.

Use the right shipper (We have a preference and our clients know who).  Ship early, have your paperwork tight including send and return commercial invoices, and use a customs broker.  The customs broker can be your best friend.  When the jam up at customs inevitably happens, having a broker of record to work out any issues with your shipment and be the contact of record when your 4 boxes suddenly appeared stalled for 3 days in Lachine, Quebec.  Save aggravation and time.

Track relentlessly.
Follow-up.
Follow-up.
Follow-up.

 

#3
Hello?  UPS?  What do you mean the case is lost?

We tell this story in 1 word: “Tile”.  We love it.  We don’t mind endorsing it.  [TILE] It has saved our client several thousand dollars.  It has made up look like a hero more than once, But most of the time we just say, “Yep, we found it.”

Considering displays are two, three maybe five thousand dollars for a typical 10 footer, there’s more on the line than just getting the display to the event.  Do enough of these and sooner or later the UPS tracking fails and the trail just does cold.  Cold like the feeling you get when the UPS rep asks, “Was the shipment insured?”.  Ugh.

Do enough of these and sooner or later the UPS tracking fails and the trail just goes cold. 

The Tile is a device that links via Bluetooth to your phone.  An app allows you to transmit to the small “tile” and a piercing beep will tell you where it is.  Nice for keys, wallets, etc.  I’d put one on my glasses if it was the cool thing to do. It’s not.

Another thing the Tile will do is transmit to someone’s app who walks within range.  So when you set your tile as lost, the tile can be located when someone with tile app walks/drives by their phone on and location services on.  Fortunately  enough people use this product, it has worked for us on 3 for 3 occasions.

Without too many details, this has helped us locate packages that were,
1. Picked up with another company’s outbound shipment (Ended up in Rock Hill, SC).
2. Dismantled by the event property staff, and left in a hotel hallway.  (after hotel insisted they didn’t have it)
3.  After being shipped out mislabeled by the client and outbound from the exhibit services contractors, travels traveled halfway across the country, and wound up back at the hotel.  Hotel couldn’t locate it.
Hotel to Construct: “It is not here.” 
Construct to Hotel: “Yes it is.”
Construct to Client: “we found it.  It’s on it’s way back.”

 

Experience, tracker tiles and BIG orange tape on every Construct marketing Outbound box…

 

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