Why is learning from our suppliers so important?


Sep 24, 2019

Suppliers are often given wooly briefs by agencies. We all know the typical email, "I'm doing an event on xxx date at xxx venue. It's a conference for xxx and I need a PA, a screen, lighting and rigging. Here's a visual of the set and a floorplan of the room, can I have a quote please?". I hold my hands up – I've done it myself!

In the old days, including my own time, the route into production was generally meant becoming a tech hand, crew or runner, learning from those above you and working your way up – hopefully learning a lot about what will work and what won't in the process.

These days people enter the industry from many different avenues. The old route in is still there but equally there are others, more often than not, through academia. The proliferation of Events Management courses has meant that a career in Production may not have actually involved getting your hands dirty onsite as a precursor to getting in the office.

Here at Wonder, we invest in our people and grow their knowledge across all areas of their work regardless of how they’ve ended up where they are now. Key to that is growing our understanding of our suppliers; how they work, what challenges they face, and generally what is involved between us giving a brief and them coming onsite to deliver a great event.

Why will knowing more about our suppliers help us? During pre-production, if we have a strong understanding of what we want from our suppliers, we can brief them thoroughly, analyse their quotes, and challenge why things are proposed in a certain way. Being equipped with this knowledge during pre-production will enable us to work collaboratively to deliver something beyond expectation.

Onsite the benefits continue: we can manage time pressures more effectively, we can foresee issues, we can protect the suppliers if they need more time, the list goes on and on.

This will alleviate stress and workload for everyone involved throughout the lifecycle of a project – a win-win situation.

We are lucky to work with some fantastic suppliers with whom we've built solid relationships with over the years. Thankfully they see the value in providing training for our team too. Recently, our team spent a couple of days with two of our trusted suppliers, Firecracker Works and Blue-i.

Before we went along I said to the team, "Ask questions. If you learn something new then no question is a stupid question." I think I can speak for the whole team in saying that we all learnt something new. Both were invaluable in terms of helping the team understand the processes involved and there’s no doubt our day-to-day work with them will be all the better for it.