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May 29, 2009

Heath Freeman:Fulfill your crew potential

These days everyone in our industry is looking at costs. But what if there were a way to save money without compromising efficiency? The managing director of Pinnacle Crew believes there is, by using the on-site crews at your larger corporate events to their full potential.

What I’m about to suggest won’t cost you a penny, and could have a real impact on productivity on-site. I would go even further and suggest it can actually save you money. It is nothing that we don’t all already know. It is just something that slips by the wayside when we are pressurised and deadlines are looming. It’s the creation of a true team, working with the same objectives in mind. 

Effective integration
In any walk of life, the key to building a successful team is the knowledge of what the team is trying to achieve and how it is going to reach this goal. Applied to our industry, this principle of creating a unified goal-orientated team requires the proper integration of the production team and outside crew.

If this integration is achieved, then my experience is that the crew will work harder, and are more willing to go the extra mile for clients, because they feel they are doing a job that is important and valued. Most importantly, the client will save time in the long run – remember crew are paid by the hour and the more responsibility they are given, the less they will require instructions on site.

We have proved this with many clients, who now send fewer – extremely expensive – production staff on site, since they know our crew can take responsibility and see a task or event through to completion.

Underlining that, our experience has also shown that crew are not always used to their full potential. It should be remembered that crew are a resource, and, if used correctly, a very valuable one.

Crews work on hundreds of jobs in a year. This means that they have a unique insight into operations on-site, as they have seen numerous and perhaps similar jobs executed in a variety of ways. In addition, crew come from many different backgrounds. We have plumbers, electricians, chippies, firemen and engineers working for us. They have a wealth of knowledge that may be useful at no additional cost.

Three steps to event heaven
But before this situation can be reached, I believe there are three they key steps that need to be taken at every event.

First, introduce crew to all personnel and decision makers on site. This can save time during the job since the crew will know exactly who to speak to when something unexpected happens or they need advice.

Second, the crew should receive a good briefing. This may seem obvious, but how can the crew possibly appreciate what the client is trying to achieve without knowledge? A short, detailed briefing means that the crew know exactly what is expected of them and what the deadlines are. Time spent at this stage will save time in the long run by empowering crew and encouraging them to take responsibility.

The third factor that can be very valuable is a familiarisation walk through of the venue. This will highlight such things as potential health and safety hazards, and access routes where crew may even be able to suggest alternatives since it is very likely that they have worked at this venue before and have found better or more efficient methods.

And efficiency is what it is all about. No one can deny that our industry is suffering from the credit crunch. But if we can all work more efficiently, and cost-efficiently, using everyone on the team to their full potential, then I believe the industry will not only survive, but be ready to prosper when times get better.

Heath Freeman is managing director of Pinnacle Crew.

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