On with the show
Organising a large-scale event is an arduous task and there is a need to delve into the finer details of what the logistics of such an endeavor constitutes of. Lionel Alva ... Every successful large scale event, be it a rally race, fashion show, award function or a rock concert is the outcome of intricate planning and management of the finer nuances of just in time delivery, efficient resource management and coordination between various key personnel. Ergo, it requires a team of highly skilled logistics specialists to manage any major event. And teams handling the logistics of large-scale events must take care of the minutest details to ensure that every show or event comes across as a grand spectacle. Since it is the attention to detail that depicts the quality of the event and slightest faux can be particularly telling. Treading the fine line Event logistics bring with it a unique set of challenges. For instance, the Toro Bravo bulls were flown from Mexico City (MEX) to Los Angeles (LAX) on an AeroUnion A300B4-200F aircraft, before being transferred to a China Southern Airlines B777-400F for the onward flight to Guangzhou (CAN). The bulls were transported specially for the Intervilles Games where teams from different nations against each other in a number of fun challenges – including a padded-suit showdown with the famous bulls which take centre-stage in the show. For many shows, deliveries are scheduled to the precise quarter hour, making transportation logistics especially tricky. There are also complex regulations involved with the transportation of goods internationally. Compliance is especially critical at international shows since requirements change dramatically from country to country, and a panoply of legal and cultural issues comes into play.Logistics teams need to pay close attention to each government's rules and processes. Any problems with documentation may mean that, even if a company's materials make it into the country, they may not make it back out in time for another event, or at all. Certain events like international fashion depict these challenges for logistics providers. “Since most garment production is now concentrated in Asia and Eastern Europe, complex international shipping instructions and customs regulations have to be complied with. Samples and specimens need to be sent from the production facilities to retailers as swiftly as possible. After all, this is where decisions are reached about what will be included in new collections and what will eventually be on sale in the stores. To ensure that no delays occur during these processes, DHL's experts take care of the entire customs clearance procedure for their clients,” asserts RS Subramanian, SVP & country manager, DHL Express India. Thus a logistics provider must fully understand the ever-changing complexities of arranging exhibitions and events, and also the obstacles and regulations associated with handling the type of freight involved in events and exhibitions. Since large-scale events encompass complex itineraries and time-critical schedules, forwarding all manner of cargo to domestic and international destinations must be met with the highest degree of critical planning, coordination and implementation. Meeting tight deadlines and the constraints imposed by venues is critical and so is carrying out of services such as document processing, customs brokerage and insurance. “DHL works in close partnership with the world’s regulatory authorities and negotiates complex international shipping regulations at every major port, airport and border crossing point. Our dedicated customs team is also available to answer more specific questions about the customs process or country-specific restrictions. Besides this, we also have airside facilities, right next to the airport, so we can offload and upload cargo in the shortest time intervals and customs officials sit at our facility to clear shipments, which is what enables express delivery,” adds Subramanian. Since such events carry a lot of hustle and bustle backstage and there is a great degree of anticipation during the show. Once the spotlight shines, it is show time and a mere few minutes on the ramp, or on the rally, can determine if event will be a success or not. Everything must be perfect and if anything is missing then that could lead to chaos. This applies to any event of international magnitude. Apart from fashion shows, Deutsche Post DHL is also the logistics partner for Manchester United, Gewandhaus Orchestra, Fashion Week, Formula 1, Cirque du Soleil, Rugby World Cup 2015 and even Formula E, a new FIA single-seater championship and the world’s first fully-electric racing series. They have an impressive profile of partnerships with some of the leading racing events, fashion shows and even concerts around the world. Recently, DHL also signed a partnership with the Moto GP World Championship. Commenting on the Moto GP contract, Ken Allen, CEO, DHL Express says, “We are very excited about having the opportunity to get behind the handlebars of the championship’s logistics operation and to offer high quality international shipping services to all involved in Moto GP. As with the other motor racing series in our world-class partnership portfolio, Moto GP World Championship will also give us an opportunity both to engage with an incredibly passionate global fan base and to create even more high octane experiences for our own customers, employees and partners.” Apart from DHL, UPS is the other leading integrator in the event logistics sector. UPS and Live Nation Entertainment has signed a multi-year sponsorship alliance aimed at promoting UPS’s environmentally responsible logistics solutions to millions of music fans across North America as well as recording artists committed to reducing the environmental impact of their concert tours. “Managing the logistics of a concert tour is not unlike what UPS does for other high-stakes customers that require flawless execution, such as the healthcare and high-tech industries and the London 2012 Olympic Games,” says Ron Rogowski, UPS vice president, sponsorship & events. “More and more of our customers are depending on UPS to help them find more efficient and sustainable ways to manage their entire supply chains. We’re very excited to now offer our insight and expertise to the live music industry by helping musical artists conduct their tours in the most environmentally-responsible manner while giving them the speed, efficiency and reliability they need.” There is also a need to carefully assess interfaces since many incremental steps are involved between sourcing raw materials and the final execution of the event. Poor handovers or missing information can lead to a sizeable wastage of time as well as money. “We work closely with a number of partners throughout the planning and preparation of each flight. As well as requiring us to work closely with national and international regulatory authorities, the An-124-100 needs a solid support network on the ground. We ensure that all airport services, fuelling and crew management duties are pre-arranged and that the handling agents are equipped with the right tools for the job. We rely on our partners to ensure that the aircraft will be adequately serviced at each location,” says Paul Bingley, Key Account Manager at Ruslan International. When it comes to event execution, it is imperative that this speed is effectively met with quality, cost cutting and inventory control while maintaining transparency. This is only possible through continuous process optimisation and innovative solutions such as RFID tagging and state of the art automation.