An even more holistic approach at Gearhouse South Africa


Gearhouse Group has long been known for its ability to transform its offering to suit the needs of the prevailing client climate. The operation has explored numerous avenues, recognised and met the distinct approaches required for the variety of Live Events sectors and pioneered their own methodologies along the way. 

27 years into the Gearhouse journey, the appointment of Charl Smit to the role of General Manager with oversight across all three regional branches of Gearhouse South Africa is taking the company forward with an even more holistic approach. Charl started his career freelancing as an Audio technician at Gearhouse 20 years back, has worked in sales and projects and has managed the Cape Town and Johannesburg branches respectively, so he is very familiar with the ins and outs of the business from bottom up.

“My mandate is to ensure that our standards around the country are exactly in sync,” he explains. “At times, our equipment utilisation and practices have been influenced by regional conditions and we are now selecting the most effective methodologies from around the Group to adopt countrywide, with the aim of rationalising our processes and eradicating unnecessary wastage.”

The company has recently invested in an extensive IT infrastructure and software upgrade as well as staff training. “Our people are being trained to multitask from the top down,” he says “For example our Departmental Heads will have the ability to enter their own data directly which will enable us to get a very accurate quote out to our clients in a matter of hours. The fact that there is involvement across all operational tiers from the outset also means that by the time we have completed the quote, much of the pre-event planning will already have been done and all parties involved will know exactly what is expected of them.”

The Group’s CVC (Client Value Chain) approach has proven a successful one over the past couple of years and is now being revisited nationally. To this end, educational workshops highlighting the basics of ‘service delivery with a smile’ and the need for 100% delivery excellence are being held company wide. “Everyone has the same goal and we are focused on pulling in one direction to deliver for our clients” says Charl.

Overseeing the Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg branches has resulted in a demanding commute for a family man, but one that was initially adopted by Gearhouse Joint Managing Directors, Ofer Lapid and Nasser Abbas, who have been travelling around the branches weekly for years. Charl typically spends his Mondays in the Cape Town branch, then Tues to Fridays in Johannesburg and at least three days a month working from the Durban branch.

Aside from the geographical challenges, however, keeping on top of what is going on on a daily basis around the country is easy. “Thanks to technology we can meet via Skype remotely at any time of the day and the current update of the Gearhouse IT infrastructure has allowed me to easily attend internal and external meetings around the country from wherever I am stationed. Our brand comes first, and we are passionate about that! To ensure that our delivery is the same within the different markets and regions we will go out of our way to deliver accordingly and if that means being onsite wherever necessary, so be it.”

A strong advocate for empowerment and transformation through training; Charl is also passionate about the success of the Gearhouse Kentse Mpahlwa Academy. His wife, Lisa, is the Training Manager in the Cape Town region, so it is an unspoken agreement that even his weekend spare time is filled with updates on the needs and progress of the Gearhouse Learners.

Not that he minds. “These students are our future” he says. “One of the company’s greatest attributes is that there is no ceiling at Gearhouse. It is up to the individual to grow as fast as they want, as long as they have the right attitude and mindset. We empower wherever we can to promote passionate people and transform our industry with a new generation of technical experts.”

Looking forward to this next step, Gearhouse!

Story by Robyn D'Alessandro

Nov 12, 2018

The Gearhouse Group of Companies