11 Dec 2019

Fiasco Opens Service Centre in LA

by Jenny Barrett

Set to conquer the US – Fiasco Opens Service Centre in LA


Six years since quitting their jobs to work fulltime on their dream of making the life of a roadie sweeter, Matt Waterhouse and Joe Bradford, founders of New Zealand road case manufacturer Fiasco have opened the first service centre in the USA. Fiasco’s take on how to pack a truck is going global.


Truck Packology

Matt and Joe, themselves having spent years on the road were, in the words of Brett Wallace, Sales Manager, “Sick of the random cases that make pack down at the end of a hard day a nightmare.”

Whilst others just put up with it as a necessary evil, Matt and Joe became fixated on finding a better way and devised a system to standardise truck packing.

Fiasco cases come in many different sizes but they are all made to fully compatible dimensions, creating an interlocking system. It’s an approach Fiasco likes to call “Truck Packology.”

Three road cases packed end-to-end fit snugly in shipping containers and 90-inch box-trucks, while four packed side-by-side fit in semi-trailers and 96-inch box-trucks—and that’s just the beginning.

Fiasco’s other mantra is “Buy the Truckload”. The off-the-shelf design means Fiasco can produce more road cases in less time, allowing buyers to purchase a truck-sized quantity of road cases and have them shipped to any major port in the world, all without the headaches of custom design processes.

Head of Operations, Joe Bradford, believes their model ultimately leads to a healthier bottom-line. “We deliver your cases faster and at a lower cost than custom designers can,” says Joe.

“And we ship them right to your doorstep.”

The New Zealand base is in Cambridge, a small town a two hour drive south of Auckland, surrounded by thoroughbred studs and dairy farms. In the midst of this rural idyll, Fiasco’s design team works with the dimensions of the object to be transported or housed in the road case and designs and manufactures customised inserts.

The inserts slide into grooves that have already been pre-cut into the case lining. This approach to customisation has paid dividends explains Brett, “In 2017 we bought our own CNC Machine for prototyping but very quickly the manufacturing of custom inserts for our standard truck pack cases took off.”

Brett Wallace

Brett describes being approached to design a solution to transport an aircraft spare part that is swapped out to get serviced; and by a deep sea mining company sending dredges to oil rigs and oil fields in Texas.

“And we are also beginning to see the versatility the customised inserts offer our original production clients who four, five, years on are buying new fixtures or motors and we can simply redesign and replace the inserts to suit the dimensions of the newer models.”

The Word on the Street (or Outside the Truck)

A familiar name to the production and entertainment industry in New Zealand and with an increasing number of requests for quotes from Australia, it is hard to believe that Fiasco was only founded in 2011.

According to Brett, he hears stories of people opening up a truck, seeing Fiasco road cases and celebrating that it will be a quick load in and load out. This is backed up by his clients.

Streamliner’s Warehouse Manager Reese McGuiness agrees entirely, “We line everything up before it goes in the truck. It is just like a quick game of Tetris in the middle of the night. You see a lot of other production companies now using Fiasco for the same reason.”

Streamliner, the Wellington-based production house, have been regular customers, initially for standard cases to house cables and their regular data projectors. They then contacted Fiasco to develop customised cases for four Barco 22K projectors and six 22K laser projectors,

“They are a great bunch of people to work with. You go to them with a problem and they come up with a plan. It’s also really hard to beat them on price. We get a lot more for our money with Fiasco.”

The technical services and production arm of H3 who manage Hamilton’s Claudelands event centre, rugby stadium and the cricket ground have been customers from day one. Kyle Evelyn, Lead Events Technician laughs, “We have so much Fiasco product. We started with the basic 1200 packers but now we get them to do customised stuff for us.

“Most recently they did a speaker case that holds the stand, the hanging brackets, even a mixing desk so we can just roll it into a venue.”

Like Reese, he rates their customer service highly. “They are nice guys to deal with, good communication. I know they are always only a phone call away.”

Multi-fit Screen Case


A Business with a Strategy

What stands out when you talk to Brett and learn about Fiasco is not only the passion for the product and their clients but also the commitment to growing the business. Key to their growth to date has been an emphasis on research and development,

“We constantly work alongside our customers to solve their problems so that they can concentrate on their business. These relationships help us to keep improving our product range.”

The Fiasco team have recently redesigned their slam rack, “The lids now hinge and slide inside the rack when the rack is deployed.”

The new service centre in LA exactly replicates the services offered in Cambridge, New Zealand. It supports a full time production team who will design and manufacture the inserts and the racks and uses the same quality control processes.

Two salespeople are tasked with getting the show on the road, one out of LA and the other out of Nashville,

“With our first shop up and running in Torrence, California to service the US with our standardised truck pack cases and inserts, we plan to open more shops in the future and even have Australia in our sights.”

Fiasco has never really been just a simple manufacturing company. Founders Matt and Joe were problem solvers from the start, and it would appear their next mission is to sort out the USA.

CX Magazine – Dec 2019   Entertainment technology news and issues for Australia and New Zealand – in print and free online
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