Gearhouse Group is known for its ability to transform its offering to suit the needs of the prevailing client climate. The operation has explored numerous avenues, recognised and met the distinct approaches required for the variety of live event sectors and pioneered their own methodologies along the way.
Gearhouse has operated for 27 years, and the appointment of Charl Smit to the role of General Manager of all three regional branches of Gearhouse South Africa has given Gearhouse an even more holistic approach. Smit is very familiar with the company as he started as his career 20 years ago as an Audio technician freelancer at Gearhouse. Since then he worked in sales and projects before he managed the Cape Town and Johannesburg branches respectively.
“My mandate is to ensure that our standards around the country are exactly in sync,” Smit explains. “At times, our equipment utilisation and practices have been influenced by regional conditions and we are now selecting the most effective methodologies from around the Group to adopt countrywide, with the aim of rationalising our processes and eradicating unnecessary wastage.”
The Group has recently invested in an extensive IT infrastructure and software upgrade as well as staff training. “Our people are being trained to multitask from the top down,” Smit said. “Our Departmental Heads will have the ability to enter their own data directly which will enable us to get a very accurate quote out to our clients in a matter of hours. The fact that there is involvement across all operational tiers from the outset also means that by the time we have completed the quote, much of the pre-event planning will already have been done and all parties involved will know exactly what is expected of them.”
The Group’s CVC (Client Value Chain) approach has proven a successful one and has been revisited nationally. Educational workshops which highlight the basics of ‘service delivery with a smile’ and the need for 100% delivery excellence are now held company-wide. Everyone has the same goal and we are focused on pulling in one direction to deliver for our clients.” said Smit.
Aside from geographical challenges, however, keeping on top of what has happened on a daily basis Group-wide is easy. “Thanks to technology we can meet via Skype remotely at any time of the day and the current update of the Gearhouse IT infrastructure has allowed me to easily attend internal and external meetings around the country from wherever I am stationed. To ensure that our delivery is the same within the different markets and regions we will go out of our way to deliver accordingly and if that means being onsite wherever necessary, so be it.”
A strong advocate for empowerment and transformation through training; Smit is also passionate about the success of the Gearhouse Kentse Mpahlwa Academy. His wife, Lisa Smit, is the Training Manager in the Cape Town region, so even his weekend spare time is filled with updates on the needs and progress of the Gearhouse Learners.
Not that he minds. “These students are our future,” he says. “One of the company’s greatest attributes is that there is no ceiling at Gearhouse. It is up to the individual to grow as fast as they want, as long as they have the right attitude and mindset. We empower wherever we can to promote passionate people and transform our industry with a new generation of technical experts.”