Why is it essential to track your AV Equipment?
AV equipment and appliances are extensively used throughout many industries. They serve a host of different purposes. Some of these include improved communication within internal teams or with stakeholders.
Use of AV technology can give your organization a whole new competitive edge. However, before you learn how to manage this equipment, it’s important to categorize a few common types of AV equipment and communication systems.
AV equipment can be classified into the following:
- LCD projectors,
- Overhead projectors,
- Wireless, handheld or tabletop microphones,
- Lenses, camera, and lighting tools,
- Wireless presentation systems, and
- Video conferencing rooms.
AV tools are now so widespread that they make up a significant part of most companies’ inventories. However, AV tools are of little to no use if not managed properly.
Challenges due to the absence of a robust AV equipment management system
To derive maximum benefits from your AV tools, it is critical to track them adequately. Lack of a robust AV equipment management system leads to many organizations struggling with the following challenges:
1. Time-consuming processes
Imagine this situation: you’re all set to start a grand business conference. All of a sudden you realize that you can’t find the wireless microphones. Where are they stored and who’s monitoring them when they’re not in use?
Usually, it would take you ages to manually track down where the microphones are and answer all these questions. That can bleed into substantial working hours lost.
However, opting for a streamlined AV tracking system can easily pinpoint your AV tools and help you save time.
2. Lack of adaptability
One of the downsides of legacy AV systems is that firms find it hard to customize their templates to record data.
Since AV tools are unique in many ways, one template does not fit all. Therefore, it needs to be adapted according to the business specifications.
3. Increased costs
The shift from built-in AV systems to portable devices means more storage and maintenance costs. Furthermore, there is also an increased risk of theft and tampering.
Additionally, with equipment constantly on the move, it becomes difficult to oversee who is using what.
Without having data about equipment usage, you cannot schedule for timely repairs. This ultimately leads to shortened service time.
To overcome such roadblocks, the best solution is to opt for a cloud-based program. With supercharged features, such a software system lets you run daily tasks efficiently and productively at lower costs.
Benefits of an AV equipment management system
Organizations look for a user-friendly solution that lets them register, classify and track valuable equipment.
Access to a variety of control features can help them to estimate future needs and invigorate the business for accelerated growth.
Here are a few benefits of using an automated AV equipment management program:
1. Centralized database
Using software for AV equipment tracking eliminates the need for manual work tasks. This, in turn, helps improve the accuracy of your data.
All this data is then stored in a centralized system that is open to team access at all times. Instant updates enable coordination between departments and facilitate seamless workflows.
2. Cloud security
Business information systems contain highly valuable statistics. If these are lost, it can lead to serious legal consequences. A cloud-based system offers to keep your data safe and secure with minimal risks of security breaches.
This way, you can also restrict access to sensitive records to avoid any fraudulent activities. Around 94% of companies report upgraded security after switching to the cloud.
3. Identification tags
The best way to monitor various types of equipment is to generate labels containing relevant equipment information.
You can use these identification labels to enter data regarding all tools into the software. All you need is to simply scan the label and update data as necessary.
Choosing the appropriate labels
The initial step in successfully implementing a tracking schedule for your AV equipment is to select the correct labeling system. Due to the vast range of devices and their applications, you can choose from 3 major options:
- QR codes,
- RFID labels.
Being the most cost-effective solution, barcodes are commonly used for inventory control. Companies often use QR codes for asset tagging too if they aim to include more information on item labels.
Lastly, RFID is the most advanced form of tagging which allows you to carry out mass actions on your tools without them being in the line of sight.
Reserved for automated inventory, RFID labels contain much more information than both barcodes and QR codes.
Once you decide which system you are going to use, you have to decide the material of tags.
1. Foil labels
This is an ideal choice for companies that require a flexible tag. For extensively used AV devices, such as projectors or LCD screens, you need labels that can withstand abrasion.
Foil labels can easily conform to a variety of surfaces and withstand severe weather conditions. However, you might want to be careful when choosing low-cost tags, as they don’t have all these properties.
2. Tamper evident labels
Hosting business conferences sometimes means large gatherings. Leaving your equipment unattended in such situations increases the chances of mishandling or meddling.
To deter such incidents, companies choose to put up tamper-evident labels on their AV equipment. Even when someone tries to detach the tag, it leaves the mark ‘VOID’.
This is important, especially when high-value goods are being used.
3. Plastic hang tags
Small AV equipment, such as wireless microphones, can be difficult to tag. To track such items, firms use hang tags which are a removable and reusable solution.
Despite having a thin profile, these labels are resistant to bending and tearing.
4. Two-part equipment labels
Employees often tend to travel for business meetings, taking some AV equipment with them. For instance, if a team member has to deliver a presentation, they are likely to carry laptops and pointers.
Such tools fall under the category of highly mobile equipment. This type of equipment needs to be tracked accordingly.
Two-part labels come in pairs so that you can have backups at hand even if you lose the first tag. Using these labels makes it easier to monitor equipment at remote locations.
Five key considerations for tracking AV Equipment
Designing the correct management policies can get complex. This becomes especially true if you don’t recognize the nature and requirements of your equipment.
Focused on the primary aspects of AV equipment, an automated solution allows you to track daily work operations.
Moreover, you can organize and refine tool structure and utilization by using the software in the following ways:
1. Monitor check-ins and checkouts to improve visibility
One of the benefits of choosing a label is that it lets you track usage daily. For instance, if someone wants to take out a hard drive for use, they simply need to scan it. This records its details into the database.
Having access to this information lets you filter out unauthorized activities. It also allows you to supervise how equipment is used.
This is a great security practice as well since you can trace back user IDs in case of any alarming situations.
Also, this gives you the chance to observe utilization patterns over time. Studying these patterns enables you to know which devices are obsolete and which ones require upgrades.
2. Run reservations for streamlined events
AV equipment plays a huge role in making your business events a success. No matter the sector, all firms struggle with getting their devices and appliances ready before the event day.
For instance, if you have a lecture scheduled early in the morning, you will need a pointer, projector screen, laptop, and speakers. However, it might not be easy to get everything at the last minute.
Consequently, this disrupts the entire schedule of the day and wastes time. A simple solution to this problem is to reserve the equipment you need beforehand. Reservations can be done through a calendar application.
This also lets you view which equipment is unavailable on certain dates. In addition, you can view the return date of tools as well. This allows you to plan hassle-free events with streamlined bookings in advance.
3. Create product bundles for quicker checkouts
In the retail industry, product bundling is a technique used to generate more sales. Similarly, AV tool kits can make workflows more efficient and speed up checkout processes.
AV equipment can be divided into different categories for ease of use. The categories are based on different equipment usage, either project-based or task-based.
For example, in a photography event, you need to have cameras, tripods, multiple lenses, etc. Therefore, you can generate a standard product bundle containing all this equipment for the particular event.
Similarly, you can create different product bundles for various event types or usage purposes. Based on client requirements, you can add or remove devices whenever necessary.
This way you can save yourself time and refine administrative workflow to get the job done within deadlines.
4. Schedule maintenance to reduce downtime
Subject to wear and tear through mishandling or harsh weather conditions, AV equipment demands regular inspection sessions.
To deal with this, you should implement preventive maintenance. This allows you to fix malfunctions before they take a toll on equipment productivity.
It is critical to run frequent service events. You cannot afford to have equipment breakdowns in the middle of an important event. An automated program lets you do this in the following ways:
- Generate tickets to track maintenance sessions,
- Set up recurring services to ensure continuity,
- Store vendor details for transparency, and
- Send out maintenance alerts to notify employees.
Following these simple steps helps you boost equipment uptime. It also prolongs the useful life of your AV technology. Optimal utilization increases the rate of return on capital investments as well.
5. Set threshold levels for timely procurement
Most organizations struggle with maintaining a balance between over and understocking. This happens mainly as a result of poor planning and a lack of history tracking.
One solution to this problem is to automate procurement cycles. You can start by setting minimum threshold levels.
For example, based on current usage, you estimate that integration cables need to be changed every 5 months. Therefore, when this limit is reached, a purchase order is generated and respective vendors are alerted.
All crucial data in one place lets you examine utilization trends across time. You can then alter your procurement practices accordingly.
AV Equipment: Best practices and guidelines
An organization dealing with AV equipment should understand the rules and care instructions designed to boost performance and generate utility over the years.
Here are some general guidelines that you can follow for streamlined functions:
1. Storage and maintenance
- Correctly store all AV formats. Discs and reels on the edge, and cassette on the long corner
- Make sure that your warehouse shelves are strong enough to support the weight of your equipment.
- Avoid harsh temperatures. Try to store all equipment in cool and dry places. Minimize exposure to light and strong magnetic fields.
- Containers for discs, CDs and reels should be made of acid-free paper stock.
- Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions for equipment maintenance and cleaning drives.
2. Event protocols and SOPs
Conduct an AV dry run. A week or so before your event is scheduled, you should perform a thorough functional test to ensure everything is working correctly.
You can follow the checklist below to ensure smooth AV operations:
- Update the laptop operating system,
- Turn off any notifications,
- Adjust the power and display settings,
- Get all the presentations in the proper sequence.
Next, set up support personnel. In case you have rented AV equipment for your business event, you would need professionals to manage the equipment.
You should get in touch with the training team well in time to communicate the resources required. This gives you time to understand how different devices work and how to troubleshoot if needed.
Lastly, have a backup plan. Even after weeks of coordination, it is possible to experience technical difficulties. To cater to such mishaps, you should always have a plan B.
You can do this by keeping spare equipment around or storing file backups on the cloud. Taking such precautions will help you lower chances of mismanagement during an AV equipment failure.
You’re ready to start tracking your AV equipment
When it comes to devising a business strategy for AV technology, it is best to invest in the right management solution to run streamlined workflows.
Such an equipment management solution will allow you to access accurate data. This data can then be utilized to forecast future demands and trends in the industry.
An in-depth analysis lets you boost overall productivity and efficiency. In addition, you can also improve the ROI on your AV equipment.
EZOfficeInventory is the leading AV equipment tracking software. It allows you to track, maintain and report on your AV equipment from anywhere, at any time. We offer a free 15-day trial – no credit card required!