The orchestrator

Every year, more than 35,000 companies exhibit at Messe München, and over two million visitors flock to the site. That’s why Trade Fair Services has to be headed up by a logistics expert who makes sure everything is seamlessly orchestrated

By Petra Kratzert (Magazine of Messe München 02/2018)

Rolf Tischer is Head of Trade Fair Services. He knows how to organize the perfect trade fair.

“We produce perfect trade fairs,” says Rolf Tischer. “That’s what our customers expect.” Tischer stares at the table, then gives an engaging grin. It’s a lofty claim, but he’s convincing. “I’ve always wanted to help people,” he says, explaining why he loves his job.

Rolf Tischer, © DirkBruniecki

Rolf Tischer has headed up the Trade Fair Services department since 2017 and has been at Messe München for 27 years.

It’s the people in the Trade Fair Services department who do the hands-on work that make trade fairs possible. For Rolf Tischer, perfect means that every exhibitor has the technical hookups they need at their booth. It means the catering services provide customers with what they want everywhere in the exhibition center, without long waiting times. It means the ticket booking and admission systems work smoothly—including the new mobile ticketing system. The telephone hotline can handle any query, and the exhibition hostesses are fully briefed and ready to answer questions with a smile. And, most importantly, it means preventing gridlock—during the trade fair and while exhibitors are setting up and taking down their booths.

There’s no stress as long as you have a plan. Rolf Tischer

Tischer has to have strong nerves. That’s no problem for him, because he knows how to handle stressful situations. “There’s no stress as long as you have a plan,” he says. Above all, the plan relies on good communication: “Talking to customers in advance and giving them good advice means we have fewer problems during setup.”

Truck traffic as a major challenge

Bauma 2019 will cover an area of over 6.6 million square feet—it’s the world’s biggest trade fair. When Messe München first opened in Riem in 1998, it had no subway connection, leading to negative headlines about the terrible traffic. But much has changed since then, largely thanks to the traffic and safety concept that Rolf Tischer’s team worked on with the public authorities. Truck traffic is always a major challenge. “There were times when our loading docks were overflowing, and long lines were forming on the streets,” recalls Tischer. Some drivers even had to spend the night outside the gates of the exhibition center.

Rolf Tischer, © DirkBruniecki

Rolf Tischer makes sure every exhibition goes without a hitch.

We build a small town here every three years. Rolf Tischer

For Bauma 2019, Tischer has been working with experts in the forwarding industry to develop a sophisticated just-in-time delivery system. For example, setup and dismantling is controlled by a Web-based logistics system that manages the time slots. This makes it possible to plan precise schedules for delivery vehicles before and after the fair. Anyone with a vehicle over 7.5 tons who wants to enter the site has to register beforehand. Then they are given a delivery slot, which can be adjusted in real time. “This is an advantage for the exhibitors because they can plan very precisely. It also helps the external forwarding companies, as we can tell them where their vehicle is currently located. And it’s better for the neighborhood, as the surrounding streets are no longer blocked with trucks before and after the exhibition,” says Tischer.

Rolf Tischer certainly has no routine job. He constantly has to find solutions to new challenges. The biggest of these is Bauma: “We build a small town here every three years,” he says—with a broad grin.