The polished set, dazzling signage and jaw-dropping lighting of an event may look glamorous, but every planner knows the processes required to achieve them are anything but. It takes long hours in cold, cavelike loading docks with rented scissor lifts and pallet jacks to produce an unforgettable stage. Exciting, right?
Keeping logistics suppliers engaged is a must at events involving complex load-in, large-scale signage installations or furniture rentals. Courtney Hurd, logistics team leader at several Passion conferences throughout the country, shares a few tips for working with vendors and managing rentals.
Who can get to the venue the fastest if a forklift goes haywire and needs repair? Time is of the essence during load-in for an event, says Hurd. Logistics companies like Freeman have offices on-site at major arenas, which is optimal and allows you to bypass delivery fees.
Question line items.
If you don’t see a tool, jack or flatbed you need listed in the logistic vendor’s itemized catalog, ask about it, Hurd urges. It could be a low-cost piece that’s not listed online, or your contact may suggest a third-party vendor that has it available.
Confirm your order.
Send your contact a photo of each specific piece you need, she notes. Logistics companies have their own lingo, so the name you’re using for a tool may be different from their nomenclature. Avoid on-site surprises by confirming your order visually as well as verbally.
Vendors work on multiple conventions simultaneously, so it’s understandable if wires get crossed, says Hurd. Call your contact a few days prior to your event to confirm delivery time, location and your itemized list.
Set yourself up for success.
Simple preparations go a long way to help your event succeed. Keep track of rented pieces (flatbed carts, pallet jacks, etc.) by labeling and numbering them using brightly colored gaff tape, says Hurd. And in case something goes MIA, develop a check-in and checkout process for staff or volunteers using rented items. No one wants to go over budget due to replacement fees.
Prepare for emergencies.
Lastly, get the phone number of an employee with the logistics company who can assist you in case of roadblocks with the rented equipment during your event.