8tips ATF

8 tips for better equipment inventory management

Your equipment is a vital part of your business. Because without a camera and some good lenses, you can’t film, right? 👀

That’s why you gotta treat them carefully. With respect. Treat them the way you’d deal with dripping ice cream: you want to see where it’s going, make sure it doesn’t fall, and most of all, don't bite into it. Ok, maybe this analogy doesn't entirely make sense, but it’s summertime and we’re all thinking the same thing.

Manage your gear like a pro in 8 steps

In this blog, we’ll share our 8 top tips for improving your business’ effectiveness and productivity.

Each tip separately will save you time and money, but combine them all, and you’ll manage your equipment like a true mastermind before realizing it. With all these tips make a nice cake, but it’s the equipment management software that makes the icing on top.

TL;DR? Watch this video:

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We know we got you all excited, so let’s dive right in!

1. Make a gear inventory and keep it updated

There are 2 types of people in this world:

Those who don’t know what they have in their gear room exactly

Do you know what gear makes up your inventory? We’re talking exact items, amount, serial numbers,… do you know the ins and outs of your gear room?

You might have an idea, but we can guarantee you that the combined value of everything is higher than you’d expect. Think cameras, lights, transmitters & receivers, tripods, lenses, but don’t forget about smaller bulk items such as dead cats, cables, and sandbags. It adds up, doesn't it?

Those that have a detailed gear overview
If you already have a detailed list of all your gear, great, you’re one step ahead! 👏🏼 However, when’s the last time you updated it? Generally speaking, if your list is static and over one year old, it is worth less than the paper it is printed on.

Managing gear without an equipment inventory list is like a broken pencil. It’s pointless.

Your equipment inventory list should be:

  • Complete: include all your assets;
  • Accurate: provide enough information – value, location, capabilities;
  • Up-to-date: always reflect your changing inventory.

💡 Need some extra help creating that equipment inventory list of your dreams? Our in-house equipment management specialist, Oswaldo, explains how to create an equipment inventory list in this blog post. He walks you through the step-by-step process of creating one in Excel, Google Sheets, or Numbers. It all begins with simply creating a new document and adding the full list of your equipment.

2. Track how your gear is being used

Once you know what you have, the next step is knowing exactly how it is being used. There are several questions you should be able to answer for each piece of equipment in your inventory, such as:

  • How often is it used?
  • In general, how long is it used for?
  • How often has it been flagged as broken in the past?
  • How many days have you spent on maintenance?
  • What items are always used together?

Knowledge is power. With all of this info, you’ll be able to get some hyper-relevant insights into your gear room.

Was an item sitting broken on a shelf for 5 months, yet no one noticed it? Maybe ditch it and make room for something else.

Was an item flagged as broken several times? Maybe it’s time to replace it with a newer version.

Was a certain camera clearly your team’s favorite, and were the other ones neglected? Maybe it’s worth investing more in those and selling the other ones?

💡 ’Item availability’ really makes the life of an equipment manager way easier. Like, waaaay. Read all about it in this blog post.

3. Right asset, right place, right time

If you have multiple locations, how should you divide your assets between them? An equal division sounds logical but is not effective, as demand for equipment is unlikely to be the same everywhere.

With accurate and up-to-date usage data you can deploy your assets where they are needed most. Why have your equipment gather dust in one place when there is a shortage elsewhere?

Demand and supply fluctuate over time as well. Offering a discount might let you make money on items that you weren’t going to use anyway, or you can rent extra equipment yourself to bridge short periods of increased demand.

  • Don’t spend more – spend smarter

One way to ensure that the right equipment is available at the right time is to buy more of everything. But this is inherently wasteful – some of the extra equipment will be put to good use, while the rest will simply sit in storage. Luckily, you can avoid this waste based on the information you gathered in the previous steps. By prioritizing your spending on the equipment used most, you can get the most bang for your buck!

💡 To buy or to rent? New or second-hand? How to pay for it? Read this guide for tips on how to buy & finance new equipment.

  • Fix things before they break

Would you rather:

A: Spend an hour every week making sure your equipment is in great shape;
B: Spend a day every month repairing equipment that has broken down?

We’re pretty sure that looking at the time spent on maintenance will blow your mind. Yes, we get it; sometimes it’s fun to fix things yourself and to bring out the little DIYer in you, but once you analyze the amount of time you lose on this, it’s not that fun anymore. 🙃

Equipment that is used non-stop is obviously more valuable to your business than equipment that is used once a month. On the flip side, your team’s favorite gear is also more likely to break down, so it is in higher need of regular maintenance. And with equipment always breaking down at the worst time possible, we advise you to plan maintenance ahead of time. Plan it based on usage & need instead of having a fixed schedule for all equipment to make optimal use of your time.

And because you know when your equipment is most likely to be idle, you can schedule maintenance to reduce its impact on the rest of your business.

  • Find underlying issues

When an important piece of equipment breaks down once, it’s annoying. But when it keeps breaking down, over and over? We all feel like ugly-crying in a corner, eating ice cream, and listening to Taylor Swift. 🥲

So now that you have data on your equipment, use it!

Look for trends so you can find underlying issues instead of scratching the surface. Is it just an older piece of equipment that has lived its best life and needs replacing? Perhaps you're dealing with a (careless) employee who needs proper training? If that’s the case, buying new equipment won’t solve the problem; it’ll just cost you more money in the long run!

  • Buy the best of the best

Inevitably, there will come a time when equipment needs to be replaced or upgraded. However, by utilizing the information you have gathered, you can make more informed decisions to optimize your spending.

Consider which brands are associated with the most issues, which equipment receives the highest praise, and which pieces of gear will make you lose significant time and money due to frequent breakdowns.

By assessing these factors, you can make sure that you’re only investing in reliable and efficient equipment.

💡 How to make a business case for new gear? Ask yourself the right questions with this guide.

  • Use an equipment inventory system

While it's true that you could keep track of this information with old-fashioned pen and paper, thus creating a billion equipment sign-out forms every year, there are more efficient options available. Spreadsheets might seem like a viable alternative, but they come with their own set of drawbacks

We might be a little biased here, but we genuinely believe that embracing a modern, user-friendly equipment inventory system like Cheqroom is the ultimate solution for your business. By automating the behind-the-scenes work, you can focus on what really matters and enjoy your creative freedom again.

Become the most efficient equipment manager in the world

With these tips in your pocket, you can have a massive impact on your business's efficiency and skyrocket your profits. Carve out some time to implement them, and you’re ready to go!

Do you want to make life as an equipment manager easier? Get our free trial or book a demo!

We’ve got some more tips up our sleeve. 👀 Download our ultimate ‘Equipment Management 101’ ebook and become a true video gear mastermind.

Download the Equipment Management Guide

Written by Hana Belbecir Jun 30, 2023

Meet Hana Belbecir, our dynamic content marketer. She infuses creativity and strategic vision into the core of our brand. Hana, passionate about storytelling and has a keen eye for market trends, is devoted to creating a unified brand identity for Cheqroom. Her favorite part? Working & brainstorming with different creatives.

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