The challenge of multiple installs
Quite commonly within our annual calendar, we find multiple clients requiring an exhibition stand install on the same day. With such a wide variety of industries represented by our portfolio, it is hardly surprising that shows might clash on a certain date. That’s why we have a team of trusted installers rather than a couple of individuals. One install team might be heading north to Edinburgh while another bombs down the M5 to Exeter.
Rarely, however, have we needed to organise exhibition stand logistics for multiple installs at the same show. It presents a unique challenge, especially if the build window is tight. It requires very careful planning and resourcing.
On the one hand, multiple installs could be approached by simply throwing more people at the problem, and to some extent that is unavoidable. But on the other hand, there is a specific opportunity in such circumstances to benefit from economies of scale, or perhaps economies of expertise would be a better way of phrasing that.
All our installers are skilled and resourceful people, able to act with a degree of autonomy based on their experience within the industry and with our exhibition products. Every install is different and things generally need to happen in a certain order, so there needs to be a level of oversight and organisation to each individual build, but they should be considered collectively too in order to complete them all with maximum efficiency.
Multiple installs at a show cause a slightly different division of labour to the usual. The oversight can be done by a ‘site manager’, who has a good understanding of what all of the installs require and is tasked with organising each build and multiple groups of resources; team-leaders, heavy lifters (the ‘grunts’), vans, exhibition equipment, tools and hardware, on-site electricians, biscuits. Sometimes, the pool of installers is most productive working individually. At other times, efficiencies are created by drawing some or all of them together to work on one stand.
The emphasis must be on working hard, but also working smart. Any decision that leads to inefficiency will be rued later on. So, for example, unless it is most efficient to unload all the vans at the same time, the flooring and other equipment required right at the start of the build window should be unloaded first. That means the vans should have been loaded previously with this in mind. But it also means that the guy who’s best at building the flooring should not be the same guy who’s best at unloading vans.
Timings are even more crucial than usual, and the task of ensuring no bottlenecks appear is very much the remit of the site manager. The structure could be delayed by an electrician, who may be delayed by incomplete flooring. A bottleneck could mean the difference between finishing a stand and not. Each client is as important as the others, so it is vital that they all receive the same level of service, whether or not they are physically present during the build.