Trade Show TalesBlog

Controlled Chaos: Word on the Street — Sept. 21st thru Sept. 25th

September 24th, 2015 COMMENTS


Chaos vs. Controlled Chaos

If you have kids like me, you know the difference between “chaos” and “controlled chaos.” Here is how I explain it as a parent:  You know those big trampoline havens? The indoor trampoline park has quickly replaced Chuckie Cheese as THE place to have a birthday party.

Well, these trampoline parks are located in massive warehouses. But within those spaces are sections or what I call Kiddie Play Prisons, divided into areas with guards. Instead of wielding a gun, they are armed with a smile and a walkie-talkie to communicate with the other guards.

KiddieprisonEach little “prison yard” is different. One is for dodgeball, one is for dunking a basketball off a trampoline, one is a huge foam pit. You get the picture. Regardless of what activity is happening in each area, the kids are pretty much allowed to loose their gourds while inside each space (or have fun as they would say).

But… outside each area, there is no running allowed, and there are tables for food, etc. Basically a place for parents to get away from the chaos.

To me, this represents the best in “Controlled Chaos.” It’s the illusion of “willy-nilly” behavior for the kids within a controlled environment. But imagine the same building without sectioned off areas, no guards manning their posts, and God forbid, no Parent Zones! Then you would have pure chaos in its truest form. No controls… and these places give your kids Mt. Dew (or Liquid Speed).

I joke… but in this crazy trade show and event business, we experience something similar during specific times of the year. This being one of them as we are in the thick of the BUSY season. And we all walk that fine line of managing the chaos.

Lead Times

Lead_timeFor Classic Exhibits and Classic Rental Solutions, managing lead times is a big part of our day. We post lead times in Exhibit Design Search in order to manage expectations for you, your clients, and us. And, as you know, we are fairly aggressive on our lead times, meaning they are often shorter than other manufacturers in our industry.

Most of the time, we beat our standard lead times by a day or two, which allows us to be flexible when you request shorter lead times. Typically, we don’t charge a rush fee. We believe that it doesn’t make sense if we don’t incur extra costs. We have always been very passionate about this because we know that karma will work in our favor. When we need you and your client to be flexible on a published lead time, you typically accommodated us.

Classic Exhibits_August_1As you may have heard from our Project Managers, we are currently running at standard lead times. We’re not behind, nor are we asking for additional days, but we are not able to produce your orders under our lead times. We understand that can be frustrating. Just today, a distributor said to me, “Why can’t you ship that 20 x 30 in 10 days? You were able to do it last May.” That’s true. We were. But in September and October (two of our busiest months), we handle nearly triple the volume we do in a month like May or June.

I am proud of our ability to manage chaos in the “controlled” variety. It’s been a hallmark of our operational success over the years.

We are in the heart of the “season” right now. We thank you for the business. Keep it coming. Please know that we will continue to be flexible, but during the busiest times, we have little choice but to hold to our standard production lead times.

Be well and have a great weekend with your families.





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