Pre-Planning is Key: A Look at Metro Expo’s Business Continuity Plan

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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New York, NY – You can’t control the weather, but the next best thing when a blizzard is bearing down is having good advance planning in place and accepting the fact there may be some long days ahead.

Marty Glynn, president and CEO of Metropolitan Exposition Services, Inc., had recently finished shoveling out his parking spot at his New Jersey headquarters when he filled Trade Show Executive in on the steps he and his team took to weather the snowstorms that have been rolling through the New York City area this Winter.

“The snow looks beautiful, but it can be crippling to deal with,” said Glynn, whose company services trade shows at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, the New Jersey Convention Center and other venues across the U.S.  “We know this going in so we run through every scenario we can anticipate. We have game plans that when executed, we hope will ease whatever burden we might be faced with at the time. In this case it’s snow, snow and more snow.”

Metropolitan Expo had a business continuity plan in place well before this Winter that outlined steps that would ensure the shows would go on regardless of the weather outside. “Severe weather in our area is always a potential threat, so we do our best to prepare in advance,” Glynn said. The plan consisted of:

·   Keep personnel on site.  Key personnel checked into hotels so they would be able to get to the exhibit hall regardless of road conditions. “We ensured that our entire team had hotel rooms and they were all prepared in advance to stay,” said Glynn.

·   Union overtime. Labor calls were changed to “down and out” as opposed to a multi-day moving process. Overtime applied, but the union workers remained in the building until the job was completed and not stuck at home.

·   Little niceties. Making the trip to the convention center worthwhile increased morale for workers and attendees. Customers arriving at the Garden State Outdoor Sportsmen Show at the New Jersey Convention Center were greeted at the door with coffee and hot chocolate. “We even made sure all our employees had hand warmers!  Anything to make it a little more bearable for our team that is truly giving their all to make us look good to our clients.”

·   Streaming video. Adding extra sessions for video streaming made it easier on attendees unable to get to the show.

·   Completely wired. The staff at Metro and its Metropolitan Exposition Transportation unit are all outfitted with laptops and a VoIP telephone service that enables them to work on the road and from home. In addition, company representatives on the West Coast were cross-trained to pinch-hit for the East Coast team.

·   Travel early. Traveling to a show site a day or two early may add to the cost but it gives key staff members a cushion in the event snow shuts down air travel. “We had Franchise Expo South in Miami and the Bay Area Travel and Adventure Show in California on the cusp of one of the many storms,” Glynn said. “We wound up changing airline and hotel plans and sending our team members out earlier than planned to ensure they would make it.”

“It takes a little more for each team member, but we all know as a unit what it takes to deliver,” said Glynn. “But even with such a proactive approach, all these moves add significant financial stress in an already difficult economic time. These moves are unbudgeted and uninsured, and these acts of nature are very costly from a planning and human resource perspective, as well as financially.”

Glynn said the added costs and a blizzard of details would be lingering in the Metro offices into the Spring, which is right around the corner.

Reach Marty Glynn at (201) 355-0603 or martyg@metro-expo.com