Gear Check In/Check Out System

Joined
Jun 6, 2018
Location
Albuquerque
TLDR: What do folks use for checking in and out audio/lighting/miscellaneous gear to people in your organization?

I am the Technical Director of a children's dance theater in Albuquerque, New Mexico, called NDI New Mexico. We do a lot of work in elemeanrty schools around town, and our instructors take PA's and wireless microphones to the schools to teach class.
We have 5 PA kits, and 10 wireless mic and we have a real problem with inventory control. Gear goes missing often, and it turns into a game of "so-and-so had it last, I think..."

We started out with a paper log in the storage closet, but of course no one ever filled it out.

I currently use the spreadsheet to track who has what, when they checked it out, when it's due back, and when it was actually returned. The advantage of this, is I can see the history of where a piece of gear. Who's had it when and where it's been. The disadvantages, it's a clunky interface (I have about 20 sheets in this workbook) and the data entry is very slow. Also, I am the only one who has access to the document, so I have to fill everything out myself.

I have tried other programs in the past such as Delicious Library, and AirTable but neither of them have the "history feature" as far as I can tell.

Ideally, I would like some sort of app where I build a library of all the stuff we have. Then, when someone wanted to check out a piece of gear, I could scan a barcode on the piece of gear and choose who it was check out to and add a due date. In a super ideal world, it would be able to ID the person some how (by taking a picture, or scanning their phone, or something) and send them a reminder when their stuff was due.

Dose anyone know of such a program? Am sure that there is proper library software that does just that exact thing, but I'm hoping to not break the bank trying to get this setup.

What do you all use for this sort of thing?
 

Ben Stiegler

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2017
Location
Sf Bay Area
I studied this market last summer for a client, and I think StageStock (by VirtualCallboard) is a winner. You can use SS on its own.

http://www.stagestock.com/features/

Its actually FREE for your 1st 100 items, and sounds like you are well within that limit.
 

DavidJones

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2017
Location
Touring
What you want exists, and there are several options, but they are oriented towards large rental houses and come with a significant price tag. They also may incorporate everything from personnel to billing which you probably do not need. I'm not sure if any of these companies offer a scaled down and affordable version, but here are some options to research, even if they are way out in left field, It might give you an idea of the features that are out there and what features you may or may not need.

Flex Rental
Hire Track
R2

Also, google "a/v rental inventory control" and you will find a bunch of software I have never heard of, but there may be something that fits well.
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2017
Unless you have a person who physically logs all gear in and out, you need a system that has irrefutable "ownership" of identification - like a system that requires the user to scan, swipe or otherwise present an ID that is recorded before they have access to the gear and when they return it. Even then there will be clever folks who game the system and will get gear without ID.

I was on a TV shoot (subject to an NDA, so the cover story is "mayonnaise commercial") where a month after we wrapped I got an email asking if anyone on the crew still had any walkie talkies. The grip truck provided them and there was a signout sheet but I never saw anyone use it after the first day on site. They were missing 10 units.
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2017
Will that NDA ever expire? I wanna know why the cover story is "mayonnaise commercial". :)
IIRC it's perpetual, like motion. ;)

I had to ask for a cover story because my over night work put me in direct contact with other tenants of the larger property and some had questions. The PM said "mayonnaise, tell 'em we're getting ready to shoot a mayonnaise commercial." Sometimes reality is boring.
 

RonaldBeal

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2004
Location
TN
Ha! "We are shooting a mayonnaise commercial" has been my default answer to curious outsiders for years!
Sometimes they follow up with "Is anyone famous in it?" My answer usually is "Englebert Humperdink" They loose all interest!
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2017
Ha! "We are shooting a mayonnaise commercial" has been my default answer to curious outsiders for years!
Sometimes they follow up with "Is anyone famous in it?" My answer usually is "Englebert Humperdink" They loose all interest!
"None of the actors are famous but the Mayo is!"
 

Chase P.

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2017
Location
San Francisco
Fear. I use fear of my wrath to ensure that equipment is returned to me, and in good condition.

Seriously though, I'm checking out (see what I did there?) this StageStock thing. The fear only works if I continue to remember who has what at any given time.
 

jlevene

Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2019
Location
London
If you want to log who has what by checking kit in and out, why not just use HireHop. It is built as software for rental companies who basically do as you need, scan stuff in and out to keep track of what is going where. They even have a free version.
 

macsound

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
I've tried to cobble together inventory systems for retail, theatre, delivery and all kinds of stuff over the years.
Never found actual inventory software that was easy enough. So in some instances, I used Square, the point of sale app. Completely free unless you're charging peoples credit cards.
I setup items based on barcodes I print on Avery labels and then you "sell" and "return" the unique items using a physical barcode scanner. I think having a physical function like scan the barcodes and tap tender makes people tend to do it more than just typing in a spreadsheet. Heck, you can even print a receipt.
You can get as complicated as you want, but really I only used the reporting to see how many of an item type remain and you can easily dump an excel spreadsheet based on month or whatever is needed.
 

JonCarter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2011
Location
Meridian, Idaho, US
Anything system that requires the BORROWER to enter any info and is not under control of the issuer will fail because some if not all will fail to enter something, sometime, whether intentionally or not. The only system that will ALWAYS work is to have the issuer of the gear write out an itemized receipt which the borrower signs when drawing items from stock. The borrower then checks the items drawn against the receipt and signs it. The issuer retains the receipt and checks items back into stock and charges the borrower for anything that isn't returned in the condition specified. When everything is returned satisfactorily the issuer countersigns the receipt acknowledging the return and gives a copy to the borrower. Both now have documentation of what was borrowed and what was returned.