• customer spotlight
  • 19 Mar 2021

Customer Spotlight
Event Production Services

Robert Nisbet, Managing Director, owner and founder of Event Production Services, started his career heading off on some splitter van tours with a number of unsigned acts around the UK and Ireland. He gradually purchased a few bits of equipment, made contacts from it and soon found himself providing sound and light for smaller stages at local festivals, then larger stages, working his way up to Production Manager for a few festivals and touring acts.

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W hen 2014 came around, Rob decided it was time to go from self-employed to incorporating the company and took on his first member of staff, Dan, who is still there as Operations Manager today. These days the team provide complete turnkey production for live events through their Hire & Production Department and have also diversified into AV Installation, Venue Services and Creative Content – all of which have a symbiotic relationship within the business feeding into each with their customers and projects.

When the business was moving from being a sole trader into a Limited Company with multiple staff members, the team felt they needed something to help us with the day-to-day running of the business. While Google Calendar had been sufficient for tracking equipment and crew needs when Rob was running the show on his own and there was rarely more than one event per day, however, when other people were thrown into the mix, he felt it just wasn’t going to cut it anymore. The volume of work was increasing massively, and they needed access to reliable reports on things like equipment utilisation and ROI.

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Discovering Current RMS

When Rob started looking at rental management software to help run his business, he dabbled with an on-premise system but quickly realised he needed a cloud solution that he could easily access when he was on-the-go.

When I tried the demo of Current it was a breath of fresh air – fast to populate and with graphical representations of the data I wanted to see. I’m very visual so calendar layouts are important to me, and the availability planners are invaluable. The knowledge of the first-class support and constant development was also a strong factor in the decision.

Event Production Services use Current in all areas of the business; AV Installation, Venue Services, and Hire & Production. The team benefit from so many areas of the system, but they’re especially pleased with their documents in Current.

We have a really well-built quotation which we’ve customised into a number of themed documents that look great and offer lots of flexibility for when doing package quotes for end customers or itemised quotes for industry cross-hires!
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The management of assets is extremely important to any rental company, especially when the turn around on jobs is so quick. The Hire & Production team at Event Production Services find the Containers section in Current RMS extremely handy, especially when it comes to prepping and de-prepping jobs.

We use containers for everything! Our cable trunks are always loaded based on a container allocation, which makes finding what you’re looking for when on-site really easy and quick! Over the summer we’re also turning jobs around on-site more and more, so by using containers and allocating, we can be certain the right equipment has been tested and gone out onto the next job.

The different teams also use Current to keep track of their on-site allocations of labour. In their Venue Services department, the team manage a number of small theatres and use Current to deal with booking casual technicians, overseeing their provision of labour under their contracted terms, and keeping track of other elements of this department such as cost tracking.

Effectively Current is our ‘single point of truth’ across all the departments, which is important as all our team are multiskilled and as such a small team we all work across all disciplines. Frankly, now we couldn’t operate without out. All the team know the system so well and we’ve developed our processes around it so it’s completely invaluable. It’s ingrained in the way people operate here!

Endless opportunities with the open API

Going forward, Rob is really looking forward to utilising Current’s open API to build integrations with other solutions, helping streamline every area of the business with all systems talking to one another.

Our Operations Manager, Dan, is currently implementing MS Teams to augment our processes and I’m excited to look at how we can make Current populate elements of this. We’re also adding in new digital signage around the warehouse which will be fed from the Current RMS API.

With Event Production Service’s recent expansions in the installation world, they’re expecting more visitors to their premises to demo products, and the image they portray is hugely important to them. The work they’re looking to complete with the API will positively enhance this image even further.

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A difficult year for the Live Events industry

Initially, when the first lockdown hit, like a lot of companies Event Production Services furloughed their employees, shut the warehouse completely, put concrete blocks across the gate and essentially closed the company. Then, after a few months, some regular customers started coming back for some AV Installation work.

It was very fortunate we diversified so early on into these other disciplines – and that we have so many customers trusting us to ‘white label’ as them – and I feel very grateful for that.

They’ve also started looking at ways to diversify further without diluting what they do. The AV Installation department has expanded beyond corporate and commercial work into ‘smart home’ work, under the banner EPS Home AV. They’re also looking at developing some training courses to deliver both in-person and online in due course, making use of the wealth of talent and experience they have in the company.

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Looking ahead

2021 is looking somewhere between a dead loss and the best year ever for Event Production Services. 2020 was on track to be a bumper year, and the team are hopeful a lot of that work will now appear this year.

A huge amount of the work they do is repeat business and they know if their customers choose to do something then they’ll be called upon, but understandably at the moment, although a lot is being spoken about, people are finding it very difficult to commit.

Long term, I’m very optimistic and positive, but getting through the next six months is really going to be a challenge – I know I’m not the only one in the industry getting to the end of our reserves!

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