Organizing inventory is extremely critical for any business. A lot of thought goes into choosing the right kind of storage methods, optimizing storage space, and settling on an inventory management budget. While many inventory items can be boxed, stacked, and put away, storing AV equipment requires special care and meticulous organization in order to prolong its life.
Studio equipment degrades rapidly when neglected. The first step towards proper storage is ensuring that the space you allocate for your gear is dry and maintained at room temperature. This is because moisture and fluctuating temperatures quickly damage the delicate components of studio equipment by promoting corrosion.
There are many different ways to go about organizing your storage, but certain precautions need to be taken to store your gear the right way. Here is our pick of the top tips to properly store AV gear to optimize your business performance.
1. Label everything (and we mean everything!)
So many times, employees have no idea which equipment is where. Before you get on with your assembly, carefully lay out all of your gear and assign it individual identifiers. Create descriptive, color-coded labels to use as visual aids. This is an easy way of categorizing items and placing similar equipment together.
Clearly label racks and sections of the room and be creative with your markings! Category signs can be colored according to the items they house. As an example, a section meant for cameras can have a green category sign and all camera labels can have a green color-code on them for quick location.
Using tape is a cheap and clever way to mark different sections of your storage space. Paste it on the floor to use it as a space divider and narrow down the search area for your employees. Hah!
All kinds of inventory require some form of identification. Be sure to add the name of your company too! That way, there is a higher chance of having a lost item returned to you.
2. Stack things up so you stop losing out on capital
With a lot of AV rentals going online, inventory requirements are growing rapidly. Companies store extra AV equipment because of the high demand so storage space is always a problem.
Stacking your gear allows you to utilize vertical space and store your items more compactly. Professionals encourage storing AV equipment on an elevated platform as this offers protection from temperature variations that are most predominant on the floor.
AV storage racks come in several different configurations. Some can be mounted on the wall while others rest on the ground. They cater to many different sizes of equipment and can be extremely versatile.
You can also use regular shelves for smaller equipment like headphones and speakers. Store them in sturdy plastic containers that are both durable and stackable!
3. Get those cables before they get you
We believe organization starts from those pesky cables that always have a way of tangling themselves. Sharp bends or tight coils quickly damage cable cores so it is essential to know the right way to organize while you’re storing AV equipment.
The over-under or inside-outside cable wrapping technique is widely used by audio professionals and we swear by it as well. In this manner, cables are shielded from damage, easy to fetch, and quick to uncoil so the end user never gets caught up in an entangled mess. Color-coded velcro can help secure them while doubling as a label as well!
Another hack is to coil cables around CD storage cylinders. Whatever storage method you stick to, ensure you train your staff in it and encourage them to spend some time on proper coiling.
4. Stop running after cameras and microphones
Microphones and cameras are integral components of the AV industry. They are also very delicate, but proper care and attention can help prolong their lifespan. Get the most out of your investment by storing your gear the right way.
Microphones catch dust and moisture easily so store them in a water-tight container. A storage case is a great investment that protects from moisture, dust and external pressure while ensuring that all your models are kept organized. We recommend the SKB 3I-2011-MC12- it offers amazing protection with an extra compartment that you can use as you like!
It is recommended that you store cameras and lenses in bags. Organizer inserts are cheap and help you make the most of the space available to you. Use them to get your lenses in order!
5. Stop wasting time looking for lost cards
Nearly all AV rentals will have to house a sizable collection of smaller items such as memory cards, guitar picks, and whatnot, to rent out along with other equipment. Their miniature size often means trouble as they are easy to lose track of and often end up getting misplaced.
Investing in robust storage albums and memory card cases helps ensure that the smaller parts of your inventory are easy to retrieve and can be stored securely.
So what do we suggest? Sturdy tackle boxes have several dividers in them to keep all the smaller pieces of equipment organized and safe in one place. These can store a host of different kinds of items and have amazing functionality.
6. Don’t let money hold you back
If you feel you cannot afford to spend money on hard cases and protective coverings, an economical way of organizing your gear is to save all the boxes that your gear comes in and re-purpose them as small storage units. Although not robust, shoe-boxes also make for great economical alternatives to sturdy plastic containers.
Throwing in packets of silica gel will help absorb excess moisture, but remember to replace these every few weeks as their potency decreases over time. You can use these for any AV equipment in your inventory.
Microphones should be covered with a plastic sheet. Use ziplock bags for cables and smaller items and always label the bags in an internally consistent manner. Wine racks double up as lens holders and pill organizers can always be used to store memory cards. So get creative with your storage, and save some money in the process!
7. Remember to sanitize everything
The last but certainly not least storage tip is to sanitize everything! If the currency COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that you can never be too careful when it comes to disinfecting surfaces. So you need to figure out a proper method on how you are going to clean, sanitize and then store the equipment. Such measures are now essential for the safety of your crew.
Here’s everything you need to know on how to sanitize your AV equipment. Let’s start with the dont’s. We all know that ethanol and ammonia-based cleaners make for good disinfectants. However, do not use them to clean any coated surfaces. This does more harm than good as it removes the coating off the surface.
Now let’s talk about the do’s. You can use isopropyl alcohol as it is one of the safest disinfectants for equipment out there. To clean and disinfect glass or lenses, Fujifilm recommends using 99.9% isopropanol to ensure fast evaporation and minimize the chance of streaking. You can use a much lower concentration of isopropanol (such as 70% concentration) for other surfaces.
Don’t forget to always wash your hands before and after you’re done storing AV equipment and remember to wear disposable gloves. Before you put the equipment into storage, let it air dry first. Once all items are safely stored, discard your gloves instantly and wash your hands again with soap.
An organized inventory is your gateway to greater profits
Running a rental business and storing AV equipment can be hard, especially when the equipment is always going in and out of your storage space. A well-organized inventory means it is easy for employees to find AV equipment at the time of rentals, send it for maintenance when required, and replace whatever is missing.
While storage can be tricky, investing a little amount of time and money into it will save you from a lot of trouble in the long run. Training your staff and frequently analyzing your storage space will help ensure that there aren’t any discrepancies in your rental inventory. Start today to reap the benefits!
We’re EZRentOut, the online AV rental software used by AV rental companies all over the world to manage their equipment, customers, orders, and payments from one centralized location.