Technically Speaking

The technical elements behind a winning event

Arriving at a well-organised conference, exhibition, roadshow or event, the average attendee could be forgiven for thinking that a function of this nature looks relatively straightforward to put together. But what they don’t appreciate is the back-breaking work that has been going on behind the scenes, sometimes for weeks or months before the event and, in the case of a large conference, possibly including hundreds of people.

Compex is one company that fully understands the multiple elements that go into hosting a successful event. Given events of any nature can be somewhat stressful for all involved; the Compex team aims to make your life easier in the lead-up to an event, on-site at an event and after the event. From exhibition stands (design & construction) to event infrastructure, furniture hire, AV, lighting, staging, signage, project management and container conversions, the team pride themselves in working with you to find the best possible event or exhibition solution, tailor-made just for you and your needs.

“There are numerous different technical elements involved in a great conference or event,” says Compex Operations Director, Dean Gunningham. “Critical to consider is the size of the event and the venue as these aspects have implications for the layout and equipment required: a conference for 2000 people, for instance, would require higher staging, well-positioned furniture arrangements, better sound and, if the audience is to participate, sufficient roving microphones with enough people to manage these microphones.

Gunningham explains that the process starts with an in-depth brief from the client. Designers then put together a rendition and detailed drawings of what each element of the function will look like from the registration areas, poster walling and branding options, staging, seating, lighting, refreshment areas, and so on. Once approved, these drawings get discussed with the production team, and various specialists within the business bring the vision alive: carpenters, sound and lighting engineers, project managers and graphic designers, to name but a few.

“Conference and Exhibition organisers  (especially the newer ones) are sometimes under the impression that putting an event on can be a quick cut and paste affair. Whereas, in reality, bringing their vision to life and creating a customised look and feel that supports their theme and brand takes an enormous amount of resources and planning,” says Gunningham. “We recently assisted in organising a conference which involved around 200 people working on site, behind the scenes for two full days before the event. This industry is heavily influenced by resource utilisation, the importance of everyone knowing what is required of them and when is essential to successful delivery.   Delegates, exhibitors and attendees come and go, but our job is not done until everything has been dismantled, packed up, returned to our factory and the venue is once again just an empty room. The particular conference above took another 10 hours to break down, pack up, do inventory stock-take and remove any visible signs of an event.”

Not surprisingly, logistics and time management are an imperative aspect in the successful delivery of an event. “People arrive for an event irrespective of whether you are ready or not. We run an enormous reputational risk by not being ready on time which poses additional stress for not only our team but also our client. We have to meet deadlines, there is no wiggle room, it’s just not negotiable, planning, therefore, is essential.”

Compex’s foundation is grounded on four service pillars: shell scheme, custom and design stands, audio-visual support and event infrastructure. These pillars are complemented by an extensive range of furniture and a wide variety of electrical and event hiring options; this ensures that the client can essentially contract one service provider to assist them in making their event a success.  Recently, as part of their growth strategy, Comex has been working across all their functions helping to develop and position the integrated role that their value chain plays in meeting their customers’ expectations.

“Ultimately a successful event is all about the experience and the engagement of all the attendee’s senses, it’s our role to assist our clients and ensure their event is a resounding success,” says Gunningham.