Logistics services at Messe Düsseldorf: Organizing genius hard at work
Installation, event management, dismantling – three concepts that mean organization before, during and after a trade fair. In this interview, Kristian Schütt, event logistics coordinator and logistics manager for EuroShop 2020, describes the duties and responsibilities of his team during a major event like this, explains when things move into high gear, what makes him smile – but he won’t tell – and reveals tips for arriving exhibitors.
What are the duties and responsibilities of Messe Düsseldorf’s logistics services?
Kristian Schütt: Our job is to set the stage for the trade fair’s organized and systematic installation, event management and dismantling. We closely collaborate with outside partners like the Rheinbahn, the airport, the city and transport and logistics providers of the trade fair. We also have to take big events like games in the adjacent soccer arena into account and support the respective trade fair project in all logistics and traffic matters.
What is your role during the trade fair?
During the event, we monitor the traffic in, at and around the exhibition center. This includes separate arrivals of exhibitors, filling the parking lots on and near the exhibition center, checking parking permits and exhibitor passes and regulating the delivery lane that requires a deposit, allowing restricted vehicle access for catering, etc. We also monitor the entrances and arrivals by coach, subway or taxi. If necessary, we can direct the shuttles buses to control visitor traffic and avoid congestion at the entrances or direct visitors to other halls to achieve even foot traffic.
Given the many exhibitors at the EuroShop, how do you manage to avoid complete chaos?
In addition to permanent traffic signage on roads, freeways and parking lots, we have temporary signs and signage to promote dedicated parking spaces in an effort to ensure an organized arrival. We plan shuttle routes in the run-up and communicate the number of expected exhibitors and visitors with the Rheinbahn. We also inform the taxi services to use designated entrances as they approach the grounds. Our service provides separate entrance gates for buses of large footprint exhibitors who arrive in Düsseldorf with a lot of booth staff.
How are the preparations for EuroShop 2020 coming along?
Traffic logistics for EuroShop 2020 are right on schedule and everything is going according to plan. Preliminary activities and planning of technical setups in the exhibition spaces are in full gear and many time slots in the truck management system F.I.R.S.T. have already been reserved to facilitate the delivery of trade show exhibits and booth materials. The system allows on-time delivery through organized vehicle routing and was introduced in 2019. It directs the stream of large trucks, speeds up the process and facilitates shorter installation and dismantling times. Compared to 2017, the number of requested parking permits by exhibitors has also increased.
How many associates does the logistics department have on site on the trade fair dates and what other activities do you have to manage on those days?
Generally, our logistics team at the trade fair is made up of two people who plan and supervise the entire event. Given that we have to occasionally be in the traffic monitoring room, at the on-site exhibition and confer with the exhibition management at the same time, we have enlisted competent temporary help for general questions pertaining to exhibition management. Up to 30 traffic controllers are stationed on the trade fair grounds to implement our parking strategy.
What happens once the trade fair closes the gates on the last day?
While exhibitors and project managers pop the corks to celebrate, we move into high gear as everything that was installed over eight days now has to be dismantled and removed again within three days. In addition to nearly 1,300 vehicles that enter the grounds after 7 p.m. to dismantle setups, we have to make sure that 1,000 big trucks are seamlessly able to be packed and loaded in the first two post-show dismantling days.
Is there one event from a previous trade fair in Düsseldorf that you look back on with a particular fondness?
Given up to 40 events, 35,000 exhibitors and 1,600,000 visitors each year, there are many special memories that amaze you, make you think and reflect or that make you very proud. But a gentleman smiles and never tells.
Care to give us one last tip? What is one important thing exhibitors should pay attention to before they embark on the Messe Düsseldorf venture?
To some degree, we always have to count on the cooperation of the exhibitors. On the first day, we have many exhibitors that arrive at the exhibition grounds in their own vehicle. Unfortunately, they are often not fully prepared and their parking permits and exhibitor passes might still be in the trunk or are at the booth. Despite the signage, some drive up to the wrong entrance. Here is my tip to ensure a successful start to your event: come prepared. You can find all pertinent information for your arrival on the EuroShop homepage in the Exhibitor Info section under “Traffic regulations”.
Interview: Katja Laska, Euroshop.mag team