When a rental company manages to optimize its internal processes to serve customers, it becomes more competitive, allows to invest in technology and new equipment and hire more staff, in a market that is becoming the Hunger Games.
Juan Tamayo *
Although I am an engineer in installation projects and audiovisual systems designer, in recent years I have been working hand in hand with many companies that carry out live events in Latin America and I have found that those that have less logistical problems are those that have very clear definitions. the roles of each person in the process of installation, commissioning, execution and disassembly of each event.
But those who have the staff that do everything, are the ones that usually have more problems because they channel all the information and work flow through them. Of course, there are events where a person or a group of people must do everything, for example some companies that install a projector, a pair of microphones and a pair of speakers, will not send a team of 10 people to do this work.
In the rental companies, we found 3 great equipment: audio, video and lighting. Now, if the technologies converge towards telecommunications networks as IP, why not have a team of IT people?
I think that it is not necessary to describe each team and the functions it performs, because its name says it clearly. The most important activity of each team I consider that communication should be, it is channeled through the production of the event, who will organize each execution time of each activity so as not to have downtime or waiting times. The production can be owned by the rental company or through a third party, because in large events there may be more than one service provider.
A good event always goes well from planning. Making the analogy of the projects, if I have a Grant diagram, or a flow of activities, I know in advance what elements and activities I will need before executing the project. The same goes for live events. Once the contra rider is approved (rider is the technical document that specifies the event, contra rider is the proposal of the rental company) each team must start planning and scheduling what elements need to be sent to the place of the event.
If it is necessary to carry out a programming, routing or flow of signals, it must be done from the company's warehouse to optimize the assembly time of the system and have more time for testing and to liquidate less time of work hours per man, and remember that the night hours are the most expensive. A clear example, which surprised us many, was the installation of Madonna in her tour of Latin America a few years ago, the production company had everything so well organized, that the items that came out of the container or truck were immediately installed and there were no spare parts .
Achieving this level of organization is not easy, and requires a lot of time and patience, just as in corporate companies, it is necessary to train staff and break paradigms of operation, get rid of activities and trust that another can do a job well done.
When executing this type of activities, the company starts to optimize the operating costs (have you seen the theory of optimization of gain levels and signal processing?). When it achieves this, its operating costs must begin to fall, which allows several situations: It becomes more competitive in a market that is becoming the Hunger Games, investing in technology and new equipment, allows hiring more staff.
The investment and control of expenses is a subject that greatly harms the rental companies, because by "improving costs" they acquire elements of not so good quality. Some common examples are:
Microphone cable: the difference in cable prices goes in two factors basically. The first of these is in the ability to protect the signal from noise by electromagnetic induction (at the level of protection by the copper jacket) and the second in the capacity to withstand heavy work. The linear meter difference of these cables can be between 25 and 50 cents, it is not much considering the problems that will be saved
Connectors: using inexpensive connectors can harm the operation of the event as such. A connector that fractures, which is damaged, can cause a signal not to reach its destination properly. Finding a noise in the middle of an event can be harmful.
The most common example of purchases is buying new technology that is just developing. Many new companies choose to have the latest product launch, all because they are recognized and have a status of product acquisition. But how many of these products have had to be returned because they have firmware or design errors or simply did not work? Worst of all, they are taken as payment for new equipment but with a lower cost due to depreciation.
My advice, not as an entrepreneur in the world of income, but as a project designer, is that before buying technology to improve the operation of your company with your financial team perform a cost analysis and return on investment of all that equipment you need, so you'll know how much to expect to recover the monetary investment.
A cost that is usually not talked about, more because of ignorance than because of wanting to talk about it, are those associated with the performance of the staff when executing a given task. Many companies choose to double shifts, including working days in a row with few hours of sleep and basically sleeping where possible.
Depending on each country there is a rest legislation, but do not take it for the legal side, let's talk about the practical, how I demand concentration to a person who has 3 days without sleep, it is not possible to achieve this. The same goes for food, bad food generates problems in the execution of events. My advice is that within your team include a health or occupational hazards counselor to help you design activities in which you can give them rest and food necessary to perform the work given within the rental company.
As you can see in this article, the invitation is to start observing your rental company as a growing institution, analyze cost control, optimize these to better invest your money. I do not speak it as experience in the field, I speak from the point of view of executor of projects, the rental company is a project where many believe, starting with their employees.
* Juan Tamayo is Audio-Technica Applications Engineer for Latin America (www.audio-technica.com) and has worked in the world of audiovisual systems for over 10 years working as designer, interventor, installer, consultant and educator. If you have questions or comments, you can do so through the mail email@example.com