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Event Planning

8 Tips for Event Organizers Dealing With Supply Chain Issues

Daria Knupp Avatar Daria Knupp January 21, 2022
Table of Contents
5 min read

The disastrous economic situation caused by Covid-19 has disrupted global supply chains, causing significant global supply chain issues. In 2020, the virus’s fast spread triggered industry shutdowns worldwide, while most of us were shut inside. 

After the lockdowns came to an end, consumer demand exploded. Supply chains disrupted during the worldwide lockdowns are still having difficulties recovering. Supply disruptions, labor shortages, and global shipping issues have enormously influenced entire industries.  

Furthermore, with many experts predicting that supply chain problems may last at least two years, event organizers must be prepared. We’ve compiled a list of valuable and quick suggestions for dealing with supply chain issues. 

Conduct an Internal Supply Chain Audit 

During these supply chain issues, an internal supply chain audit and possible improvement may help you save money and enhance your competitive position where feasible. 

The audit’s goal is to assist you in detecting weaknesses in your supply chain and resolving pain points and bottlenecks that will increase supply chain flexibility, agility, and overall efficiency. 

Marty Bear, President of PSMI, with thirty-eight years in the industry, stresses that it is crucial to get the conversation started sooner rather than later when it comes to supply chain discussions. 

“This would be my main piece of advice,” explains Bear. “Do not wait until you have final numbers for events. Supply chain issues will be prevalent deep into 2023, so it is essential to be prepared and plan way in advance for timed events.” 

Strengthen Your Relationships 

Maintaining a positive relationship with vendors is an event organizer’s primary responsibility. Best practices for developing a bond with vendors include engaging in open communication and consistently honoring commitments. 

In-person interactions with possible suppliers might go a long way in building rapport. Keep in mind that it’s critical to be sensitive and considerate of diversity, especially for suppliers in the worldwide supply chain who may have different cultural norms. 

Taking this time to build your relationships can go a long way in getting frequent communication on any current supply chain bottlenecks. 

“When it came to our transportation partners, we had to be creative to ensure our relationships would see us through supply chain challenges,”  says Rob Annable, Las Vegas Assistant General Manager at The Expo Group. “We engaged them early, reinforced their trust, negotiated optimal terms, and took the lead to solve short-term and longer-term challenges. This also helped us better service our clients who didn’t have strong transportation relationships.” 

Talk with Your Event Colleagues 

The chances are other event professionals are going through a similar problem. Talk to them to learn how they’re dealing with supply chain disruptions. They may have some suggestions on how to cope with it. You may assist in alleviating stress by conducting open and frequent communication and finding proactive solutions. Connecting in IAEE’s Community Forum or PCMA’s Catalyst Forum is a great way to understand the challenges.   

Identify Contingency Plans for Event Venues 

The epidemic has called for rapid, unanticipated changes and frequent modifications. Because of supply chains limitations, the function venue you have trusted for so long may not be able to handle the event in 2022 and beyond. Even if you never utilize it, it’s a good idea to plan by researching alternative event locations in case of another supply chain crisis. 

Michael Guillory, Vice President, Marketing and Communications for The Expo Group, adds his thoughts on contingencies. 

“With the current volatility in the supply chain, having a plan B just isn’t enough,” comments Guillory. “You literally must have a plan C and a plan D with one of those options including a virtual aspect.  It’s no longer safe to assume that your go-to venue will be ready for you because supply chain limitations are out of their control.  A secondary venue and an online option need to be waiting in the wings, and you have to be flexible enough to go to the backup plan with very little notice.” 

Diversify Your Event Suppliers and Vendors 

It’s essential to have strong relationships with existing partners in the events industry. However, depending on one supplier may have significant consequences if the supplier has unanticipated supply chain problems. Instead, companies should buy products and raw materials from several sources to minimize their risk. 

If one supplier has a production or supply chain disruption, working with several suppliers can assist avoid business disruptions. Multiple vendors also promote competitiveness and discourage unneeded dependence. 

However, it is not good for businesses to have too many suppliers, and having an excessive number of suppliers might be time-consuming and burden the supply chain management process. Finding the right balance is critical. 

Build Up Inventory 

Order more than you need when you’re ordering things for your events, such as freebies or raffle items. Make a stockpile of vital event essentials if there are any future delays. This may mean having more than you require at first, but you’ll thank yourself later when you don’t have to worry about items coming in on time for the next event. 

Bear seconds this piece of advice. He says you should order more than less. “Order larger quantities of items,” he says. “Also, talk to your vendor as soon as possible, even before you have a sponsor. Get the production order in quickly so you ensure your items will arrive on time. Securing inventory is key.” 

Be Transparent with Your Exhibitors & Attendees 

Supply chain difficulties are increasingly being addressed, so your audience is almost certainly aware that events may need to be relocated or that goods will be in short supply. Your attendees and exhibitors will not want to be caught off guard, and they will undoubtedly feel for you. Keep them updated on what is happening behind the scenes and what lies ahead. 

Strive for Continuous Improvement 

Companies should think past short-term disruption to long-term business success. Setting up a stable supply chain management contingency plan is simply the beginning of the story. All the time, in every phase of your company’s development, you must keep monitoring and appraising. 

It is essential to be searching for new ways to improve and innovate, which helps you attain more significant financial benefits, speed up the development process, and provide exceptional customer service. In a constantly changing environment, continuous progress must continue unabated. 


Supply chain disruptions are yet another source of unpredictability for event organizers to deal with. Every day, we’re confronted with a slew of variables that may impact the success of our events as a whole. While we don’t know when the supply chain bottlenecks will end, we do know that staying on top of things will reduce overall risk. 

There are just a few strategies that companies can put into place to lessen the impact of potential supply chain disruptions. Being proactive and planning ahead is essential for any organization looking to survive and thrive in this ever-changing business landscape.