Home 9 Events 9 How the Right Fabrication Partner Makes a Difference in Trade Show Logistics

So you’ve got a brilliant design for your new trade show exhibit. You’ve found a great custom fabrication partner to make that design come to life. Now it’s time to consider a factor that’s sometimes overlooked but is the bedrock of any successful large-scale operation: logistics.

From military campaigns to superstar musicians on world tours, logistics can make the difference between success and failure. The art of transporting goods from place to place is a complex, delicate task involving the coordination of schedules, personnel, shipping companies, and the items being shipped.

In the trade show world, logistics is crucial to transporting your exhibit to the venue, then breaking it down afterwards. With decades of experience in trade show exhibit construction, Show Ready is your trusted fabrication partner for trade show logistics. We’ve learned what works from ample experience working with top companies like Samsung, NBCUniversal, and 2K Games, along with our sister company FG|PG, and we’re here to guide you on the road to success.

Fabrication Partner Trade Show Logistics

Trade Show Logistics – The Key Factors

Let’s start with the first question of trade show logistics: how to get your exhibit to the venue. A number of factors need to be considered when answering this question.

  • How far away is the venue? If you’re attending a local trade show in your own city, shipping may be as simple as a few trucks. If you’re attending a major conference across state or international borders, shipping will be more complicated and expensive.
  • How large is your exhibit? Is it a simple booth with a few chairs and a table, or a complex island exhibit full of custom-built design elements? The larger the exhibit, the more complex the logistics.
  • Can some of your design elements be found on site? Conventions often provide exhibitors with simple signage, furniture, electrical cords, etc. The less you need to ship and the more you can utilize on-site, the simpler your logistics.
  • Is it indoors or outdoors? For outdoor events, you’ll need a contingency plan in case of severe weather.

Trade Show Shipping – Load-In and Load-Out

Remember that you not only need to get your exhibit to the venue, you need to remove it afterwards. Some considerations that affect the load-in and load-out process include:

  • Is this a one-off exhibit or a traveling exhibit going to multiple conventions? With a one-off exhibit, you may be able to get away with more complex and difficult-to-move elements, such as large statues or even entire building facades. With a traveling exhibit, it may be better to keep things simple and durable.
  • Do you need to save your exhibit or can it be discarded? You may wish to keep some elements of your exhibit for decoration or future conventions. But it will simplify your logistics if parts of your exhibit can simply be recycled or returned to the venue.

One major logistics decision is whether to ship your exhibit to a warehouse in advance, or direct to show. There are pros and cons to each approach. A warehouse will charge storage fees, but ensure that your exhibit arrives on time, and give you a chance to inspect the crates and packaging to make sure everything arrived undamaged.

Shipping direct to show may be cheaper, but the load-in process can be a lot slower. Often, there are hundreds of trucks waiting in line at large venues, and freight companies pass on the charges incurred by waiting. Plus, you may not know exactly when your exhibit will arrive, making scheduling difficult. For these reasons, we generally recommend shipping in advance to a warehouse, if possible.

Fabrication Partner Trade Show Logistics 2

A Great Fabrication Partner Will Answer These Questions

If this seems like a surplus of factors to consider, have no worries. Your fabrication partner is there to execute your vision, whatever it may be. We’ll advise you on what’s worked in the past and which logistics decisions may save you time and money. But ultimately, you make the call and we execute.

Contact Show Ready with your trade show exhibit designs. We’ll advise you on the logistics to make sure your show goes off without a hitch.


15362 Graham St.
Huntington Beach, CA 92649

(714) 367-9265


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