Three to four pallets were shrink wrapped for shipping instead of the 30-40 boxes we had originally anticipated sending separately. We partnered with a logistics company that would pick up the boxes, take them back to their secure warehouse, palletize them and deliver them to the hotel for us. The best part of this solution was having all the items arrive in our office first allowed us time to open the boxes, check the contents, and make sure that everything looked just right with the customer/sponsor’s logo on them, before sending the items to be palletized for their final destination. Be sure you have ample time for shipping items twice if you plan to recreate this solution, 3-4 weeks at the absolute minimum prior to an event.
How can you tell if this logistics solution will meet your own needs?
Here’s a list of questions you should ask yourself:
- How many boxes will you have? How much total weight do you anticipate? If you shipped the boxes by a standard carrier like FedEx or UPS, what would it cost as a comparison?
- Where will you store all the boxes at your office? Our office was not large enough to store a large number of boxes at once.
- Who can assist you getting the items palletized? Find local logistics companies by asking for a reference from your neighborhood office supply store.
- How much will the logistics service costs affect your budget? In our case, the benefits far exceeded the cost.
- Are there other meeting supplies that will be ready in time, like registration materials or signage, which can be added to your pallets to save money by sending everything at once?
- How will they be loaded on a truck? Once they are palletized, they were no longer physically within our lifting capability. You need doorframes that are large enough for a forklift and without physical barriers like stairs between the pallet and the truck. Therefore, a warehouse for advance storage is necessary as you wait for all items to arrive.
- Can your meeting facility accept palletized shipments? Be sure their loading dock height is compatible with your logistics company delivery truck and be sure they have a forklift to unload upon arrival otherwise the logistics company may need to bring/rent one.
- What will the venue charge you for receiving the pallets? Often times this cost is far less in comparison to the individual box fees associated with the standard inbound meeting freight.
- Last but most importantly, determine the timeline of shipping items from the vendors, to your office (optional), add on one or more pick-ups for advancing them to the warehouse, and how long will it take the pallets to be transported to your meeting destination. If you are buying from or shipping to an international destination you will likely need to double or triple a typical timeline and allow for 2-3 months.
By asking yourself these questions and using our space saving solutions, you will be better prepared should your venue lack the necessary square footage for all your meeting materials.
You can contact Special D Events for assistance with tricky logistical challenges like this one. Our meeting planning and trade show experts will help guide you down the path for success.