How To Handle the Summer Festival Scene With Asset and Inventory Management

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More than 30 million people normally travel, camp, pay, and wait for hours in blazing temperatures to see their favourite performers on summer tours. That many screaming fans must put an incredible amount of pressure on the person at stage center, but can you imagine that on those behind the curtain? It’s their responsibility to make the performer look and sound amazing, to help put on a quality show for the throngs of attendees, and to keep tabs on all asset and invenory, aka the props, equipment and even t-shirts required for the magic to happen!

No pressure…no pressure…maybe a little…help!

Now put yourself in the role of the backstage ringmaster: Can you name off each and every prop, machine, and piece used in your stage show? Can you account for them? With the rapid pace of the festival environment and everything constantly in motion, you could easily lose track of something that would throw the entire operation off track. That’s why you should consider the value of a mobile asset tracking system.


Related Article: CAPITAL ASSETS AND DEPRECIATION: HOW ASSET MANAGEMENT CAN SAVE YOU MONEY

Think of where you’ll be: Multi-purpose venues can be a management nightmare if you can keep track of what should be where when. Monster Jam wouldn’t exactly need the same setup as Blake Shelton, unless he can find a way to incorporate a few tonnes of dirt into his show.

Multi-stop tours can come to a screeching halt if equipment somehow goes missing between ports of call. Would you be willing to trust your contracts to a spreadsheet or a clipboard? A single person able to log entries makes for slow going on updates and input, not especially efficient if you must travel kilometres nightly by ground or rush to the airport to catch the red-eye. Let’s not forget the outstanding potential for human error: 1:300 for a skilled operator.

And handy handheld scanner and mobile accessible code database can cut the potential for loss drastically with quick and easy pre- and post-show checks.

Asset and Inventory

In all reality, a mobile inventory system would be more likely to stand up to the rigors of touring than antiquated methods of inventory management. It goes where you go, bends with you to scan cases, boxes, and bags without complaint or crinkle, and can pull additional duties without hassle! You can include a mobile printer and create your own merchandise labels. What about tickets? Perhaps a surprise VIP package for a lucky attendee – that you happened to create and print in the parking lot during the opening act, but that can always be our secret, can’t it?

Create a scavenger hunt for your fans! Most smart phones either come pre-equipped with or can easily install a barcode reader. Announce and promote special codes hidden throughout your venues: On your posters, promo cards, flyers, merch tables! Scan and enter for a chance to win!

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Keep tabs on your merchandise inventory levels and make emergency re-orders (if possible) when your supplies dip low. You can also stay up-to-date on your sales figures and stats on the road.

Merchandise levels can be especially important on tour. You can only pass off the same “limited tour offer” for so long when you sell off your last T-shirt, especially if someone takes notice the same item can be found online! The converse of this is: Exactly how much of a loss can you or are you willing to take if you find yourself with a surprise surplus and resort to discount onsite pricing? Your inventory management system can help with those worries.

Synced with your home database, you can see how sales of particular items trend and plan accordingly. See if you can compare ticket sales to other related purchases and use that data to fuel your sales efforts.

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This sort of forecasting can be an incredible hassle on the road, especially with all of the other aspects of a (literal) on-the-go operation. If you can’t keep track of inventory in the back of the van, how can you hope to figure out what to fill it with for the next dozen or so stops? Do more people put down £10 for a T-shirt or £25 for a sweatshirt in the middle of July?

That’s where scanners come into play: Scanning these tags and codes, updating your database instantly instead of incrementally, being able to make good on a promise that you will absolutely send someone the out-of-stock-now-how-did-that-happen beanie and shirt combo as soon as a new supply comes in!

Hyperbole? Perhaps, but think of it from the fan’s perspective: This might be his or her first experience at a live show, or it might be a farewell tour for his or her favorite artist. A stockout of a particular item might sour the memory and cost your client a long-time fan! What might that cost you?

Consider how long will you need to learn this new system? Do you head out in the morning for a six-month jaunt? Can you learn on the drive or the flight?

What equipment will you need? What do you already own? Will you want to make your own labels? OK, add a mobile printer and label supplies. Do you want to trust your crew to use their personal devices as mobile scanners or would you instead rather invest in a pair or three to lend out as needed (and with records)? What about a mobile computer to keep linked with the home office? Access your database? Update quantities from POS data from your tables? Yes, a mobile computer might just come in handy.

And your assets? Code them. That mobile printer can do more than tag salable goods! Code your gear and scan it. Construct an equipment database (if you don’t already use one) before you leave home and scan each piece into it. Everything your operation uses to make your events run smoothly, from your crew communications devices (should you issue them) to any costumes. This way, in the event the unthinkable does happen, you can still pull up your detailed information on the fly to identify the missing pieces, replace them, and, if need be, report them to the authorities.

How could a mobile management system ease the bumps along your tour route?

Erin Myers
Erin Myers is the Content and Social Media Specialist for WASP Barcode Technologies. Her job is to oversee the company’s blogs and social media accounts.
Erin Myers
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