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Aztec Event Services - Delivery its own Event first

Company Background

Aztec Event Services, based in Mitcham, Surrey, specialises in providing a complete range of technical, IT and audio visual solutions to the live events industry. From the simplest public address system to the full AV and IT services required for major international exhibitions, Aztec delivers creative expertise and “wow factor” through a team of experienced and highly trained account managers, technicians and event producers.

Aztec’s warehouse is brimming with state-of-the-art AV equipment from computer controlled projection mapping systems, video walls and silent seminar technology to giant plasma display screens, mixers, lighting rigs and speakers. These are put to the best use possible by Aztec’s expert live event designers who create AV, IT, stage and set solutions for Aztec’s customers that exceed their expectations and fit their budgets.

In April the company won the ‘Best Employer’ award at the prestigious 2013 Exhibition News Awards and amongst its many clients, Aztec is, in fact, the in-house AV supplier for the Emirates Stadium in London.

The Opportunity

With the acquisition of an additional unit at its Mitcham site on the horizon, Aztec decided to take the opportunity to review its processes and working practices to see if the company could improve turnaround times by deploying lean tools and techniques. The company has achieved a sector first by seizing the opportunity to undertake and successfully complete an NVQ BIT (Business Improvement Technique) programme, using lean management tools to change the workflows and organisation in its new workspace.

The company signed up to an NVQ level 2 in Business Improvement Techniques – delivered by Fedden-USP Ltd.

Objectives

Aztec aimed to:
• Increase productivity
• Use space more efficiently
• Improve the organisation and the flow of equipment during preparation
• Decrease the time taken to book in equipment upon return from an event
• Cut any wasted journeys around the warehouse
• Review some if its office based, support processes

Results

Aztec Operations Director Steve Colesell said: “We were amazed at just how far some of the equipment travelled during the time that it was being prepared and returned. The course, which was five days over two months, with further support over the months of mentoring, helped us to map out our current processes and reduce our non value added activities. We have a great team, and these new processes have saved time and made their jobs easier and more enjoyable”.

The programme uses work based projects to embed the learning, and the initial projects completed by Aztec, which include reductions in lead-times for handling plasma screens, and testing and storing lighting equipment, have resulted in 500 hours per year of labour savings, in addition to placing over £25k of critical orders on time, which safeguard key on site event completion. This is vital when relating to future work opportunities, and building on their present success.

Aztec deliberately timed this training to coincide with their planned move to the additional unit and the improvements to date will enable them to manage the new facility with no additional staff, as well as dramatically improve turnaround times.

Final Comments

Steve commented on completion: “As a Director, I went into this with an open mind, accepting the need for change. I can really see how this could benefit the whole company, as this way of thinking spreads throughout our staff, and as we encourage people to be more proactive.”

John Robson, Managing Director, added: “Before we embarked on this course, having some familiarity with Business Improvement Techniques in other environments, I was confident that we could realise significant benefits from the initiative. However, I was unaware of the many soft benefits that we achieved in the form of ownership, teamwork, and respect that the project facilitated; these soft benefits have endured to provide additional improvements on an almost daily basis.”

Fedden USP was delighted to be asked by Aztec to help the company implement business improvements. Colin Allaway, the Fedden USP events and display sector specialist involved in the training, paid tribute to the commitment of the team: “The team at Aztec were fully committed to the programme and have really embraced the training, resulting in some significant improvements with ideas and solutions which have already been implemented. The new extended facility clearly demonstrates that the lean principles and training are being embedded and more importantly, sustained, by the team themselves. It was a real pleasure to work with the team.”

Neil Fedden, Managing Director of Fedden USP Ltd., added: “We are delighted with the success of this project and for everyone involved with it. We would be only too happy to fund similar projects with other businesses like Aztec.”


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