While discussing trade show material handling, there are different names for shipping documents: Bill of Lading, Material Handling form, and Airbills. These terms are used interchangeably but they bear different meanings.
A Material Handling form is an authorization for the show contractor to perform the drayage service.
A Bill of Lading is a contract document between the shipper (you) and the transportation company.
The Airbill is for airfreight with specific instructions different from other carriers.
The team at Trueblue Exhibit is going to show you an excerpt from a show kit below. Hence, the purpose is to give you an understanding of the importance of a carefully filled material handling form.
“After the show closing deadline, the show contractor is not liable for Customer Goods left on the show floor. Because it is the responsibility of the Customer to complete accurate paperwork for shipping. In addition, he is responsible for ensuring that the Customer Goods are properly labeled. If Customer Goods remain on the floor after the show closing deadline, then the contractor can remove the Customer Goods.
The contractor is should proceed in the manner chosen by the Customer on the Order of Material Handling Services. Hence he has to ship Customer Goods at the discretion of the contractor and at the Customer’s expense. The contractor shall incur no liability for such shipment. Moreover, the contractor has the right to dispose of Customer Goods without liability if left unattended.
The question is how to fill out a good trade show Material Handling form. As you already know the basics, we will offer you some extra ideas.
Add the carrier name and check-in time at the very top of the form. Especially if they are supposed to show up the next day in straight time. Hence, you need to do this because carriers can arrive the night before.
You need to be very specific to the number of pieces you list with a good description. Hence, don’t just say, “1 pallet.” Instead say, “1 pallet that is black stretch wrapped, 30x44x48 of 15 white cartons and 4 brown cartons.”
You have to have pre-made labels with carrier information on them. So, you should make enough labels to put two on every crate, and one on every carton even under the stretch wrap.
You have to put your carrier’s name on the Material handling form.
You have to think about using the return to warehouse option. Moreover, you should tell your carrier that you will expect them to cover the cost if they do not show up on time.
Add information to your shipping labels that say 1 of 8, 2 of 8, 3 of 8, etc. You should make sure that all 8 pieces are loaded (or 4, or 10, or however many pieces you have).
Provide a phone number for emergency contact; it can’t be yours if you are on a plane heading home.
Put an expected delivery date on the Material Handling form. You need to make sure that deferred shipments are not turned overnight.
You need to provide copies of the air bill with the material handling form. In addition, you have to make sure that the general contractor gives it to the transportation company.
You need to be careful to always put the name of your exhibitor first on all paperwork. You need to do this even for the destination and billing areas of the material handling form.
At Trueblue Exhibit, we will fill out a Trade Show material handling form in Las Vegas and put it in the return shipment package. Do you want to make the shipping arrangements for your company? So, you may want to do this for your onsite people as a template for them to fill out the general contractor’s form correctly.