Jon Noonan, group sales director at Thorns Group, talks trust, transparency and teamwork when working onsite.
Time is something we never have enough of; combine this with tight tenancies and last-minute changes we sometimes feel as if we’re already behind before we’ve even started. Our onsite delivery team plan months in advance to make sure our clients have everything they need to deliver their best show and factor in everything that could go wrong, but what they can’t predict is that crash on the M25 causing a 20-mile tailback which is going to set them back two-to-four hours. While the onsite team are aware and getting on with other tasks they know it could be a late finish. This is just one issue we face onsite.Everyone is running at 100mph working to the same deadline: opening morning.
The end goal
Having the correct information is key for all suppliers. This includes delivery drop off times, access points, finalised floorplans and space availability; something we have struggled with on many occasions. As well as time we find that space is also at a premium especially when we have four artics of furniture waiting in the loading bay. In an ideal world we would have confirmed floorplans four weeks ahead of build day and tenancy times as long as a piece of string. However, through years of proactive learning and delivering organiser and exhibitor satisfaction we have a formula that works for us.
After working 18-hour days during show week and then managing the show itself, it’s safe to say that all everyone wants to do is go home, but not before breakdown. This is the quickest part of the entire show which isn’t always a good thing. We face challenges with restricted access depending on the size of our vehicle; the larger our vehicle the later it’s allowed in, which then reduces the time we have to get all of our furniture out and loaded efficiently onto the lorries. This then brings us onto health and safety considerations; it might seem like the easiest way to rip everything down when you have to be out in five hours but the last thing you want is a team member out of action for six-to-eight weeks with a broken leg because we were slightly hasty.
With the exhibitions industry worth a whopping €116bn we’re seeing trends in sustainability and innovation. With schemes focused on reducing the use of plastic already implemented in major UK venues, this will be filtered through to the small/medium sized venues. Innovation has always been key to the industry and with each show we see an increase in the ways technology is used to enhance content.
The three Ts
The live events industry is built on trust, transparency and teamwork, something we pride ourselves on with every event and exhibition we deliver. We work with our clients to ensure stock is secured for their show, sufficient spares are loaded onto our lorries and all exhibitors are well looked after with our onsite service desk. There is no ideal world when it comes this industry, we’re still learning as we go along and it’s in pressured times where we come across new ways of dealing with onsite challenges. We will always be an extension of our client’s team so any challenges they face onsite will also be our issues.