PRG Has Its Enhanced Logistics and Operations Processes
PRG has provided entertainment and event technology solutions for multiple venues, including IIFA 2017 at MetLife Stadium.
Every year, a singer or musical act has the honor of performing at the Super Bowl Halftime Show. But when showtime arrives, the artists need more than just their musical talents to ensure that audiences are riveted.
They need the support of the proper lighting and sound equipment, which is where Production Resource Group (PRG) LLC can lend a hand. With multiple locations across the U.S., the company specializes in entertainment and event technology solutions for multiple venues, including award shows, concerts and conventions.
The New Windsor, N.Y.-based company also has provided equipment for films, including “Pitch Perfect 3,” and for musical acts, such as Twenty One Pilots. “It is the world’s largest production company that provides support to the entertainment industry,” Director of Transportation Valerie Cameron declares.
Chairman and CEO Jeremiah J. Harris originally established PRG in 1995 after gaining extensive experience in the entertainment industry. Previously, “He started as a 16-year-old kid, working at a Broadway Scenic Shop in New York,” Cameron explains.
He later founded two firms – Jeremiah J. Harris Associates and Scenic Technologies – to provide audio and lighting as well as set fabrication and automation techniques for Broadway productions. But after the firms saw increased requests from customers for one-stop production solutions, PRG was formed.
Over the years, it has grown through mergers with various lighting, audio and event technology firms, including Video Equipment Rental (VER), which Cameron joined in August 2016. Today, she says, PRG’s business is divided into two portions.
“On the former VER side, we handle the warehousing and logistics of the gear for what we call dry hire and provide the quality assured gear to our clients in the use of their productions,” Cameron says, adding that she oversees the strategy behind-the-scenes transportation of gear to between depots and jobsites.
The other half is comprised of PRG’s production team, which designs and manages multiple aspects of the clients’ show and makes sure that the equipment is used properly on its clients’ sites. “We will supply everything from the gear to the labor [and fully] manage the entire project,” Cameron says.
Making it Happen
A longtime veteran of logistics, Cameron’s previous logistics experience includes several positions at FedEx. However, a different mindset has been required during her time at VER and PRG.
“The individuals in the entertainment industry have this ‘make things happen’ type of attitude,” she describes. “They manage to do things you could never think you could pull off.” This passion and drive have allowed many with creative backgrounds to thrive in technical roles at PRG. “It’s an amazing attitude that you find across the industry,” she states.
A New Model
Cameron has recently focused on improving PRG’s internal transportation operations. Previously, “The company was using a lot of our transportation spend on multiple providers and multiple dedicated truckloads,” she recalls.
Cameron sought to reduce the number of vendors and find ones that matched the size of PRG’s business. By doing that, she explains, the company could count on its vendors to be flexible when it needed them to be.
Since then, the firm has formed a partnership with Crane Worldwide Logistics. The Houston-based company provides PRG with a dedicated fleet network that allows it to easily move gear between the majority of its buildings on the East and West Coasts of the United States within 36 hours or less.
“We’re able to do everything cross country in three-and-a-half days,” Cameron says, adding that Crane Worldwide provides PRG with both trailers and drivers. “These lanes are now locked in and it’s like owning our own assets through a partnership model.”
Crane Worldwide also ensures PRG’s products are being transferred on current, quality vehicles by reliable drivers that are assigned to lanes set up to support the network. This has allowed the company to see a significant reduction in damages, she reports.
“They’re safer and faster, and we know where the gear is going from dock to dock,” Cameron explains, adding that this particular model and partnership with Crane Worldwide also has allowed PRG to save $8 million in costs. “That partnership with Crane Worldwide has been a great asset to the whole program.”
Under Cameron’s tenure, PRG also has improved its vetting system for suppliers. This has helped the company choose reliable suppliers like Crane Worldwide, as well as Pegasus Logistics, a Dallas-based logistics company that supports airfreight and local courier shipments and also Redwood Logistics TMS, a Chicago-based firm that oversees the contracting of carriers. “We have high standards,” Cameron says. “Moving our gear is like moving medical equipment.”
If PRG’s gear is not secured correctly as it is being transported, she explains, it could suffer damage from even the smallest of vibration. “You have to have carriers that provide you with what you need,” she states.
PRG also looks closely at its suppliers’ vehicles when evaluating them. “Clients in the entertainment industry can’t have an old, rusty trailer that goes to a show,” Cameron says, noting that reasons like these have made it important to partner with best-in-class transportation providers to ensure its clients have a positive experience.
With Crane Worldwide’s service providing support to PRG’s Internal Consolidation Network [ICN], “We can focus on what we do – providing a show with quality gear,” she says, noting that this allows PRG to build strong relationships with its own clients. “[We’re] making sure that we provide good service and we partner with companies that provide good service.”
Cameron is proud of her team of seven associates at PRG. “They’re amazing,” she says, noting that the entire group stepped up to the task of building the company’s internal consolidation network that ensures that its gear arrives to its depots and its clients’ sites, on-time.
“The team has been really great about developing a culture of accountability so that they’re providing an amazing product and service,” she says. “One of my proudest moments was seeing [them] succeed in launching our [ICN] Internal Consolidation Network.”
Cameron sees a strong future for PRG, which is focused on making sure that its clients receive a strong return on their investments. “There’s a really big push for our company to make sure everything we do is done with quality,” she says.
PRG also is looking at ways that it can reduce costs to avoid increasing prices. “We’re being cost-conscious, but also find where we can provide those value-saving opportunities,” she says.
The company also hopes to maintain its culture of creativity now that the merger is complete and PRG and VER have the support of a solid Private Equity. “People don’t want to let go of the ability to get creative, which makes sense for the organization as a whole and our customers,” she says. “It’s the drive and foundation of our company.”