3 equipment management challenges – and our tips for solving them
Are you an equipment manager? Ever wish there were more than 24 hours in a day? Not an ideal scenario, but when it comes to lining up the right assets for the right projects at the right moment, some extra time would come in pretty handy. In this blog post, we highlight the top 3 challenges in equipment management and some guidelines for tackling them.
Challenge 1: maintaining a clear oversight of your assets
Once your inventory grows beyond a few pieces, you’ll have to start using a solid methodology for sorting, organizing and tracking every single component – down to the last cable, lens, battery and power cord.
Consider a closed equipment room. Limit the number of people with access to your shelves and offer a check in/out system. If that’s not possible, consider caging your most finicky, specialized or expensive pieces.
Clearly organize your assets. Use tape to clearly indicate categories of items with arrows pointing up at their dedicated shelf spaces. If you’ve got multiple rooms and racks, label each one and hang a schematic – a shelf overview – in a visible place.
Tag your assets. Give a unique identity to each component. Take things further by using barcodes or QR codes, and transform your smartphone into a scanner connected with your asset management system.
Challenge 2: ensuring clean, intact, ready-to-use gear
Discovering a low battery while on an outdoor shoot can be frustrating. A broken camera can be disastrous. Take a proactive approach to equipment maintenance to ensure smooth processes and lower costs – on set and in your vault.
Plan downtime. Minimize the chance of equipment breaking or requiring maintenance by planning it during evenings, on holidays or on the weekend. Maintain detailed checklists with routines for each item to make sure every step is followed and recorded.
Maintain the best environment for your gear. Dark, cool, and in kits – that’s the way to do it. If you have space, consider a table dedicated only to maintenance, and one dedicated only to kit assembly.
Set up a charging station. Store charged and empty batteries in clearly-labeled containers.
Challenge 3: dealing with underutilized, outdated, breakage-prone equipment
High-tech equipment can be outdated in just a couple years. Specialized equipment may not even need to be purchased, depending on how often it’s being used – but that means you need to know what you have, how often it’s being used and how much time and money you spend fixing it.
Use an equipment checkout system. With such systems, it’s easy to generate a report that shows which assets are the least in demand. Discard, recycle or resell them to free up space and recover costs.
Ensure a clear overview of what you have and where it is. If a team needs something right this minute and you’re unable to track it down, they might just buy a duplicate that ends up gathering dust.
Track maintenance costs. If an item appears to be prone to breakage, it might be more efficient to purchase a new one from a different vendor.
Manage equipment – anywhere, anytime, and without the huge IT costs
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