Where and how does digitisation serve event logistics?

There are various fields of expo and event logistics where digital solutions provide noticeable benefits, but they also require an open mind that embraces changes. 

Lars Reichelt (Photo: K+N)
Lars Reichelt (Photo: K+N)

Lars Reichelt
Head of Digital Projects
Kühne + Nagel 
KN Expo & Event Logistics

Managing resources
On-site logistics is an important field of application at trade fair and event venues and locations. K+N provides support for all transport /freight forwarding /storage and logistics processes with digital solutions such as FairlogResource. This is an optimisation and planning tool for all activities involving resources such as forklift trucks, cranes and staff at sites all over the world. Managing these resources requires an intelligent decision-making software, transparency and the automatic allocation of the right tools. This enables us to communicate much more smoothly and effectively with the customer. Clients know the services they have ordered and can requisition them on demand without any further manual communication. Moreover, they are always informed about the status.

Informing customers
Today, customers have the understanding and wish to be well-informed at all times. Currently, this topic is still very strongly limited to getting the goods from A to B. But with the consistent use of applications in the different fields of expo and event logistics we should be able to achieve more. It must be our goal to provide the customer with the right information “on demand” or on a customised basis. In other words, not just to know that the goods have been collected and the truck has brought them to their destination. Additional information – such as estimated time of arrival (with live updates), truck has reached and entered the premises – are interesting. The same goes for the message that the unloading process has started or been completed. This information flow additionally helps the customer with resource planning. Effectively combined, these status messages can also strongly raise the service level and help reduce wait times. 

Photo: K+N
Photo: K+N

Raising the service level 
At present, there is still a lot of manual communication going on with the different players at the sites. This means that there is a huge potential thanks to the digital possibilities. Digitisation also provides a range of options for order handling. Customers want smart orders, like when booking hotels online. This should also be possible for many services in the field of trade fair and event logistics. K+N has developed its own ERP system for logistical project management in the events sector and created a networked processing system within the company. The resulting structured and standardised processes improve the service level and the handling of ad hoc customer needs. However, advice and personal contacts remain essential for trade fair and event logistics despite the digital possibilities. Nevertheless, the solutions help you save time – thanks to the swift submission of offers, short windows for order management and availability of invoices in your inbox, among other things. 

Engaging people
Digital solutions strongly entail process and change management. Processes are changing at a breathtaking pace or are being “redesigned” in the context of digitisation and need to be realised differently. But it is not so easy to achieve the necessary changes in people’s way of thinking. Those with an affinity for processes and IT play a very important role in projects and the implementation of all strategies. 

This article was published in TFI issue 2/2018


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