Transportations: the pure movement of goods. Logistics: the rational organization of the transports, considering bounds, synergies, timing, sequences and optimized the costs. A reflection on this subject can avoid problems and offer interesting opportunities.
1. Transports: let’s cross our fingers…
The event, be it public or corporate, is always associated with strong emotions: surprise, celebrations, shows, good food. Only seldom people think about the organization of the events, sometimes a massive task, and even more rarely about an even more invisible ingredient: the logistics and transportation. A machine inside a machine that, if defective, will completely ruin the event. It’s very easy to imagine that, if the equipment or the materials arrive on site broken or late it’s a disaster, but it’s not so intuitive that a centralized coordination of the logistics and a specialized supplier can not only avoid disasters but also offer a advantages, guarantees and opportunities. And especially savings. Not many realize that but that exactly how it works. Traditionally it was the single suppliers’ task to have their materials delivered, a do-it-yourself logistic which is fragmented, messy and that – at least – represents a waste of resources.
2. Who’s paying?
The costs of a similar logistic system are not easy to compute because usually the suppliers do not hive them off in the budget estimate nor in the bill, honestly believing that it is their duty to deliver the materials. The truth is that the transport makes up a big part of the supplying costs thus being a hidden but consistent item of expense. To be honest, delivering the materials is not convenient even for the suppliers that wouldn’t do that if they had a choice. They do that because there’s a lack of centralized logistics, but the costs of it have to be borne by the client. For the supplier, having to organize the transports, means to do a job which is not their own:
having a number of motor vehicles of different sizes
employing its staff in non productive activities
taking the responsibility of ensuring successful transportations in the right times
being up to date on the regulations regarding transportations
insure the load
Freed from these tasks, the supplier retrieves sources that can be used for the production, eliminates incompressible costs, is freed from responsibilities that does not concern his job becoming more flexible in the management of his own business, to which he can commit more completely.
3. Where to start from?
The creation of an event always starts with a creative concept, followed by the technical project. Even if it could seem odd, this is the right moment to start thinking about logistics: exactly when there’s nothing concrete to move yet! To appoint as soon as possible a person responsible for the logistics, a professional that a good specialized company can appoint from its staff, it’s a good idea to avoid a lot of problems and stress. His first task will be to prepare as soon as possible a logistic project with the following aims:
- loads optimization
- transports optimization
- storage of the goods during the transit
- management of the delivery schedule
In the absence of a coordination, each of this passages can create endless problems and become a source of critical issues.
4. Loads optimization
During the technical planning it will be necessary to consider the dimensions of the vehicles suitable to the transport of the equipment and materials to avoid a wrong sizing of the loads. If the vehicle is too big it will require useless additional costs that can easily be avoided. On the other hand, if it’s too small more than one transport (meaning more than one journey or more than one vehicle) will be necessary, or else a change of vehicle during the loading phase. This mistakes will cause an increase of the costs and of the timing for the operations of loading, unloading and transports.
5. Transport optimization
When the suppliers provide the transport of their goods, they send their vehicles to the destination for the operations of loading and unloading. What happens when more suppliers are on the same route? It happens that more vehicles follow the same route to get to the same destination. Costs, consumptions, pollution, confusion. A centralized logistics aims to avoid this waste choosing a vehicle that is adequate to the need, a timing for the loading/unloading activities and planning the delivery. A logistics society can act promptly in case of problems, variations in the load or the time of delivery.
6. Storage of the goods and time management
A good logistics society owns a number of warehouses that are used for the storage of the goods during the transport, useful to reduce the number of the means of transportation used and to respect the sequence and the established times of delivery. In case of events that are repeatable (ie. road shows, kick-offs, etc.) or periodical (stands for expositions) it can store the materials with efficiency.
7. Societies of logistics and transportations
To entrust the success of your event to a logistics society brings you important benefits, because:
- it’s entitled to the job by a licence for transport for third parties (which is something illegal to do with a simple hired truck: it’s punished with very expensive fines)
- it owns a large number of vehicles of different type, volume and range
- it employs specialized staff that only works in transportations
- it owns warehouses for the storage of goods
- it’s always up to date with the regulations of the transportation sector and the necessary documentation
- it has a working expertise of the constrains and the opportunities of the road system (roads with a lower incidence of cost or risk, prevention of problems on the road)
- it is able to quickly replace the vehicles due to a variation in the load, destination or delivery schedule
- it has specific insurance cover
A well-designed and well-managed logistics is surely one thing less to worry about in the organization, always difficult and frantic, of an event. It makes you save money, enlarges the chances of negotiating with the suppliers and ensures you some peace of mind. I don’t know any event planner that, after trying this option, ever decided to go back to do-it-yourself logistics… and surely there’s a reason for that!