When you agree to be a sponsor, you never know where it will lead you. So sponsoring the Solar Powered Car for DUEM – students at Durham University – has been an interesting journey. Having met the team at the London Motor Show and the Science Museum, we agreed to be a sponsor for a year, to give them advice and hopefully to get to transport the car around the world for them.
It turned out to be an incredible time for the DUEM team, with an invite to COP22, the Climate Change Summit in Marrakech, Morocco being the highlight. Options to transport the solar car by Air Freight and Sea Freight to Marrakech were given, awaiting appropriate funding to be put in place.
Of course, the invitation to COP22 created a lot of interest. Various other companies offered to transport the solar car to Marrakech at a fraction of the market rate. This was disappointing for us, but we knew funds were tight and DUEM had to make savings where they could.
Then to our surprise we received a call on the Monday, the day before the solar car was due to be transported. The other company had pulled out. It was now too late for both the air freight and sea freight options. We checked dedicated car transporters, but no-one could guarantee arriving by Saturday.
We then found out that the deadline was pulled forward to Friday as DUEM were invited to show the car at the Formula E race on the Saturday, but the car MUST be there by Friday.
Did I mention we were still waiting for the carnet.
So what was Plan B?
The solar car was already in a trailer. A family member of one of the team members offered to tow the car, but needed a co-driver. We were able to hire a driver for eleven days from one of our trusted suppliers, to also cover the return journey to the UK.
More than we can charge out, but if we didn’t get it sorted all the sponsors would miss out on the exposure that an event like this can generate.
So what is Plan A?
Plan A is making sure you never need Plan B. It is usually too expensive and can be avoided. Get your freight forwarder on board early, ask them questions and make sure you are happy that they will be able to complete the task.