The essentials of AV inventory management
Equipment managers basically have 1 mission: get all the gear back in the right place at the right time in good shape. “Those are in fact several missions,” any assertive equipment manager would say. “And there are more, actually.”
We know, we know. We even devoted an ebook to Equipment Management 101, to give curious equipment managers all they need to set up an equipment room or improve their current one.
This short blog, however, sticks to that one base topic: how do you make a well-functioning equipment room?
Open or closed equipment room?
First off, how open should your equipment room be?
If you offer self-service, you have an open equipment room. If there’s a gatekeeper involved in the checkout process, you have a closed equipment room. Make sure you know what you want before you get started.
Should you choose to keep your equipment room open to multiple people, consider caging some equipment. You’ll often have some kits that are more expensive than others, require special training to be handled, or don’t need to be in just anybody’s hands for whatever reason. It’s never wrong to be cautious.
Structuring your equipment management
A well-structured equipment room needs a well-structured plan. Think carefully about these four steps:
Grouping is key
AV equipment, IT equipment, cameras, laptops, cables, lenses… grouping equipment by category or by kit is the key to efficiently prepared pick-ups. Just keep it logical, and don’t put heavy stuff where it’s hard to reach, please.
Think of accessibility
Decide what needs to be quickly accessible to all, and what can be stowed in the back. As a rule of thumb, you can put older and less-used items away and sift through them during quiet times to give them a second life.
Get a prepping table
Ideally, you have a bit of room to prepare a reservation or perform some maintenance. Preferably not just on the ground at your feet. But should you really lack the capacity for a small table, make sure to have a clearly separate space just for those purposes.
Create equipment kits
Efficiency rules! To make everyone’s life easier, start creating kits with items that are often used together. Then you can keep them in top shape with our tips on the importance of kit management.
TIP: Try the carabiner method. We swear by it. Use colored and numbered tags, attached with carabiner hooks, to clearly indicate that a set is incomplete. The missing item(s) can be found in a plastic storage container of the same color, and placed back there after the job’s done. Full kits, on the other hand, are easily spotted – and quickly scanned – with CHEQROOM’s QR codes.
Marking shelf positions
Once you decide where everything should go, start marking shelves or racks. Be as clear as can be, with names and arrows, to avoid any confusion. Like so:
TIP: Use magnetic labels on metallic racks if your inventory is updated frequently. They make your set-up more flexible.
Create a shelf position overview
More complex needs require a more complex solution – but just slightly. If you manage a lot of gear and multiple equipment racks or rooms, we propose you make a clear shelf position overview.
Mark every item using:
- RO1, RO2, … to mark the equipment room (or to mark the rack if you have your gear in one facility)
- SHO1, SHO2, … to mark the shelf position
Put this overview up in full sight of whoever needs to check out or gather the equipment, so it’s clear where to find and put back the gear. Everyone will thank you for saving their time.
The magic of tape
Tape is an equipment manager’s best friend. You can use different colors to mark different shelves, or mark the floor when teams share a storage space but only need specific areas. Every team gets a color, so everyone knows where they need to be. Magical.
Tip: Don’t stop at the floor: give color-coded labels to individual gear as well, to see at a glance which team it belongs to.
Share your tips with us!
That’s it. These are our tips, based on years of experience managing equipment and of course carefully listening to our clientele.
Did we forget about anything? Or do you have a valuable tip you’d like to share?