For nearly 27 years, we have operated largely in the same way.
From our humble beginnings in 1989 as a solo-preneurship business repairing VCRs in a small workshop, we established ourselves in the AV service industry, working directly with consumers and small businesses alike.
We moved upwards and onwards to become renowned for large-scale installations, integrations, and productions, building a larger team along the way.
Unlike repairing VCRs and building speaker boxes, the larger and intricate projects that we have the privilege to work on require additional levels of complexity to the task and project management, often involving our integral part as a piece of a larger plan. This takes shape when we are tasked with AV systems installation and integration in a new building, development, or establishment fit-out.
Due to the complex nature and seemingly endless number of variables that arise when working with our stakeholders to achieve a client’s project, we had to adapt with the times, utilising technology and proven processes to change the way we do everything. Large complex tasks cannot be fulfilled in the same capacity and method as small hires or productions, yet we needed a system that could encompass all of our projects, both large-scale and small.
How we changed the way we do everything
Towards the end of 2015, it became clear to us that when timeframes, processes, and procedures are largely out of control when working with large-scale, multi-month projects, we needed a new method of project tracking and fulfillment, that allowed transparency across all of our departments, as well as with our clients directly.
In the 1940s, Toyota created an engineering process for their manufacturing line with ideas derivative from the most unlikely source of inspiration – the supermarket.
They noticed that the shelves were stocked based on the grocery store’s stock levels, and not based on that of their vendors. This ‘just-in-time’ method of stocking shelves led Toyota to develop what is known as the ‘Kanban’ workflow methodology, that matches their vehicle manufacturing inventory based on demand, rather than supply. It was through this method that they were able to deliver a higher quality product, by investing time and resources in the areas of output that demanded it. This method that utilises shifts between focus areas, or ‘sprints’, is a method that has been adopted by a variety of industries, software development, hardware manufacturing, and service delivery businesses alike.
‘Kanban’ is translated to mean ‘visual queues’, which was how Toyota provided an overview of the tasks or vehicle parts on hand, on hold, in progress, and complete. They used a simple card-based system with colour-coding, that allowed anybody who viewed the project ‘board’ to immediately have an overview of the progress and company’s focus for that ‘sprint’.
The Kanban method inspired a new similar project management methodology in the late 1990’s called ‘Scrum’, which takes the Kanban approach and places an emphasis on removing the ‘waterfall’ or ‘trickle-down’ responsibility that is the norm within many organisations and development teams. This implementation by software developers, engineers, and construction companies brings the project managers and workers onto the same page with a new level of transparency. It is from this combination of Kanban and Scrum that inspired Trello, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) implementation of the Kanban ‘boards’ used by Toyota, and many of the companies that followed in their footpath to find their regular project turn-around timeframes being eclipsed, by shifting the focus to ‘just-in-time’.
Today at Audiovisual Projects, we endeavour to apply this methodology and project process to the way we do everything. We use Trello for following up with customer enquiries, equipment hires, or audiovisual productions through our Audio Technology brand. This way of shifting focus isn’t just for large-scale integration or consultancy projects. Our focus shift has allowed us to deliver an even higher level of quality to our customers. All it took was changing the way we do everything.