It started back in the late 90s, my habit of reading Exhibitor Magazine. Two sections were always of interest to me, the annual salary survey, which I would leverage in performance reviews for salary justification, and the articles about event horror stories, which included a Plan A and a Plan B. It was the Plan B that always got my mind moving. What would I do if I needed a Plan B?
Over the last twenty years, I’ve been lucky enough to plan ahead and almost always run with Plan A. This weekend due to several uncontrollable circumstances Plan A didn’t work out as expected and Plan B was formulated and employed.
This should have been a simple one table sales event in Orlando, Florida. The week before the show I packed up the inventory, display items, signage, and table covers into four boxes and shipped them via common carrier to the destination. Easy as pie. Done this thousands of times over my career. I noted the tracking numbers and tracked the packages the first few days to make sure they were on their way.
The day before the I leave for the event I load up some additional inventory in my luggage and check on my packages. One of the four boxes didn’t leave California…The other three made it safely to Florida.
No reason to panic just yet, I called my logistics company and started a trace and claim – just in case.
Since I didn’t know which box was missing (the weights and dimensions were all similar) I didn’t know what extra to bring – and my flight was in three hours. If it were an inventory box, no big deal, I have lots of inventory. If it were the supplies box, I would be in trouble. No reason to worry until I get there and find out what was missing.
It was the supplies and display box.
Plan B (Watch the Good Place show to understand inside joke):
Step One – call the shipping company and modify the claim to include a details list of what is in the box.
Step Two – prepare a sign to be printed at the on-site print shop at the venue.
Step Three – alert the team back in the office and see if what items were in the box could be economically shipped to the event (they could not).
Step Four – Implement the plan.
– A blanket from my hotel room solved my table cover problem. I’ll return it after the show.
– The UPS Print Shop on site solved my signage problem by printing up some company logos on 11 x 17 paper (their largest size).
– I’ve got pockets to keep change in, so that solves the missing register drawer problem.