What are the visions in exhibition logistics?

Four areas will have an even stronger impact on the industry and lead to changes that are – in some cases - profound.

Photo: Kay Lohe
Photo: Kay Lohe

Kay Lohe
Head of Sales & Business Development
KN Expo & Event Logistics

Occupational health and safety
One trend that has been with us for years is the reduction of assembly and dismantling times. This means that occupational health and safety will see a huge gain in importance, especially on the part of organisers. Despite sometimes huge time pressures there have been rather few accidents where people have come to harm so far. To ensure that it stays that way organisers are increasingly discussing new rules and standards for workplace safety at trade shows and events – in their work groups and market forums. By the way, trade fair service providers and, above all, logistics suppliers consider strict compliance and implementation “normal”.

Integration of processes
The digitalisation and more or less full integration of exhibition logistics processes is another trend. Topics like just-in-time, fully automatic transport scheduling, transport management software, slot systems and traffic management will adapt very strongly to industrial logistics processes – above all, those in the automotive industry: Vans book a slot for loading or unloading at a venue. They arrive, are guided - according to their awarded slot - to the (un)loading station, where the forklift is ready for (un)loading. Of course, this only works if all software systems are connected via plausible interfaces. This can significantly increase the number of large commercial vehicles that are handled every day per site.

The forklift is ready for (un)loading at the venue both now and in future. (Photo: Kühne & Nagel)
The forklift is ready for (un)loading at
the venue both now and in future. (Photo: Kühne & Nagel)

Digital booking on the rise
Likewise, online booking via smartphone, laptop or tablet will replace the existing, sometimes rather complicated booking processes. Anybody who regularly shops online or orders a taxi by app anywhere in the world will know some good examples. The great thing about the continuing digitalisation of exhibition and event logistics is that it will make an “all-terrain logistics” possible in future. If you want to stage a fair somewhere on a greenfield site, you take two laptops with you and switch on the operation tools. In other words, the slot system and traffic management will work in any place on earth that has wi-fi. Of course, trade shows and events will always be a personal business. But increasing digitalisation creates a lot of scope to respond more specifically to customer needs and requirements. And our focus will increasingly also be on added non-logistics services. 

Service providers work together
In addition, we can expect trade fair service providers to network more with one another in future. Exhibitors, stand builders, caterers, riggers will work together with exhibition logistics providers online and set up project-related networks. 

This article was published in TFI issue 2/2017


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