top of page

How to prepare your AV equipment inventory for next semester - including a sample Equipment Booking Policy

Updated: Feb 4


Person using Scanlily mobile app in front of desk covered in camera equipment some of which has Scanlily QR stickers on them

This guide provides educators and administrators with strategies for preparing AV and other equipment inventory for the upcoming semester. We’ll start by taking you through the steps in how to prepare an equipment inventory and also on how to write an effective equipment maintenance and booking policy for your students who use the equipment.


How to prepare an Audio Visual Equipment Inventory

  • Review Past Challenges: Analyze issues from the previous semester, such as equipment loss, breakages, and late returns.

  • Inventory Management: Create your inventory via an equipment management system.

  • Maintenance and Updates: Regularly update the inventory, utilizing the equipment management system for efficient tracking and maintenance scheduling.

This section, detailed below, offers practical advice on assessing past management effectiveness and implementing a streamlined inventory system using Scanlily's advanced features.

What to include in an effective Equipment Booking Policy


The following summarizes the parts of an equipment maintenance and booking policy that you can present to your students.  You’ll find an actual draft policy farther down in this article. Feel free to use and modify it for your institution.  


  • Introduction: Underlines the department's commitment to providing high-quality AV equipment and ensuring its fair and responsible use.

  • Booking and Usage Guidelines: Students are required to reserve equipment through the equipment management system in advance and use the app for item check-out and pick up.  They are asked to use the app to confirm the equipment's condition.

  • Responsibility and Care: Students must handle equipment with care and immediately report damages or losses via equipment management system.  They should use the 'Flag' feature for reporting issues.

  • Accountability

    • Financial Responsibility: Students are financially responsible for any damage or loss of equipment during your reservation period.

    • Penalty System for Late Returns:

    • 1st Offense: Warning issued.

    • 2nd Offense: Loss of equipment privileges for one week.

    • 3rd Offense: Loss of privileges for one month.

    • 4th Offense: Loss of privileges for the semester.

  • Advance Notice for Conflicts: Notify the department at least 24 hours in advance for late pick-ups or returns to avoid penalties.

  • Feedback Mechanism: Students are encouraged to provide feedback on the bookings process to facilitate continuous service improvement.

By following the guidelines in this guide, educational institutions can enhance their equipment management, ensuring effective utilization and maintenance, contributing to a productive and engaging learning environment.


Reflecting on Last Semester's Equipment Management: What Worked and What Didn't


As we gear up for a new semester, it's time to take a step back and reflect on how things went last year with your Audio Visual equipment management. The information gleaned will inform us on an improved next semester.


Identifying Challenges in Equipment Management


Did you face issues that seemed all too common in a university setting? Let’s break them down:

  • Missing Gear: Was there equipment that just seemed to vanish into thin air?

  • Breakage: Did you encounter broken or malfunctioning equipment?

  • Maintenance Needs: What types of equipment required the most maintenance, repair, or replacement? Was it the high-use items like projectors and cameras, or something less expected?

  • Late Returns: Were there issues with gear not being returned on time, causing scheduling headaches?

  • Overutilized and underutilized Equipment: Did you find some items were used enough to warrant buying additional copies?  And was there equipment that was hardly ever used, taking up valuable space?

  • Booking Conflicts: Were there instances of double-booked equipment leading to last-minute scrambles?

Evaluating these aspects can be a simple exercise using an enterprise asset management system like Scanlily. With its detailed tracking and reporting features, pinpointing these issues becomes a straightforward task.


Analyzing Usage Data for Smarter Management


Compared to a spreadsheet-based approach, equipment management systems excel at helping you analyze bookings data. For example with Scanlily, you can dive into the usage patterns of your equipment, answering such questions as the following:


  • Peak Times: When were most of the equipment check-outs and returns? Identifying these busy periods can help you allocate resources more effectively. Maybe it’s time to get some extra help during these peak hours. Student workers or additional staff can make a huge difference in managing the rush.

  • Equipment Demand: Which items were in high demand and which ones were rarely touched? This knowledge is key in making informed decisions about future purchases or reallocating existing resources.

  • Maintenance Scheduling: Were there particular times when equipment maintenance peaked? With Scanlily, you can schedule maintenance proactively, ensuring that your gear is always in top condition for when it’s needed most.

Reflecting on these aspects of equipment management not only helps in addressing past issues but also sets a solid foundation for a smoother, more efficient semester ahead. Remember, the goal is not just to fix what went wrong but also to build on what went right. With an equipment management system like Scanlily, you’re not just managing equipment; but also making the process of maintaining and booking easier for everyone, freeing up time for you and improving your students’ educational experience.



Performing a Quick Inventory

Person performing inventory with a mobile phone

As the new semester approaches, it's good practice to check that your Audio Visual equipment inventory is up-to-date and accurately reflected in your management system. This step can save you from potential headaches down the line.


Integrating Your Inventory with Scanlily



If you haven't already embraced an equipment management system, now is the perfect opportunity. Scanlily's QR-centric and mobile-based platform offers a quick and efficient solution for inventory management. Here's how you can get started:


As the new semester approaches, it's good practice to check that your Audio Visual equipment inventory is up-to-date and accurately reflected in your management system. This step can save you from potential headaches down the line.


Integrating Your Inventory with Scanlily


If you haven't already embraced an equipment management system, now is the perfect opportunity. Scanlily's QR-centric and mobile-based platform offers a quick and efficient solution for inventory management. Here's how you can get started:


Uploading Existing Inventory Data


For those with existing inventory data in spreadsheets, the process is straightforward. 


  • First, procure Scanlily QR stickers from Amazon or Walmart. 

  • Then, upload your spreadsheet or CSV file into Scanlily.

  • As you locate each physical item, use the Scanlily mobile app to find it by name, serial number, or other identifiers from your spreadsheet. 

  • Attach a Scanlily QR sticker to the item and scan it to link it to the digital record. This is also an excellent opportunity to update any additional information not in your original spreadsheet, like taking fresh photos of the equipment.

Starting from Scratch

  • If you're setting up your inventory from the ground up, also start by purchasing the Scanlily QR stickers online (Amazon or Walmart)

  • If the item has a UPC or EAN on it, then scan it to create a record and auto-populate the item’s image, description, approximate price etc (Scanlily obtains this online from a database of over 500m UPCs).  

  • Place the Scanlily QR sticker onto the item and scan it to associate the QR with the item. Manually enter what you couldn’t auto-retrieve via UPC or EAN. Specify location and category.  

Ensuring Proper Placement and Categorization


One of the key benefits of a QR-centric system like Scanlily is the ease of verifying that each item is in its correct place and properly categorized.

  • Conduct a physical check by scanning items individually or in batches. This can be done by leveraging Scanlily’s concepts of locations and containers.

  • For instance, select a location in the app (like a specific shelf or storage area) and compare the listed items with what you physically see. The container feature is particularly handy: label a container with a QR code, scan it, and you'll get a list (and possibly photos) of its contents, which you can then cross-reference with the actual contents.

Checking Equipment Condition and Performing Regular Updates

Maintaining the functionality and reliability of your equipment is just as important as knowing where it is.

  • Assessing Equipment Condition: Reflect on the previous year’s maintenance records. Which equipment types were prone to breakdowns or needed frequent repairs? Conduct a thorough check to ensure similar items are in proper working condition. Involving student assistants in this process can be both helpful to you and educational to them.

  • Regular Inventory Updates: New technologies and changing educational goals mean that your equipment inventory will constantly evolve. Regularly updating your inventory is key to phasing out outdated or rarely used equipment and integrating new additions. This ensures that your resources are not only up-to-date but also aligned with the changing needs of your educational programs.

By keeping your inventory in a state of constant readiness and accuracy with Scanlily, you’re not just preparing for the upcoming semester; you’re also laying the groundwork for a more efficient, responsive, and hassle-free educational experience.



Developing an Equipment Booking Policy for the Coming Semester


Icon representing an Equipment Booking Policy

Effective management of Audio Visual (AV) and other equipment in educational settings hinges not just on the availability of resources but on structured policies that guide students with their usage and maintenance. As we prepare for the upcoming semester, let's focus on formulating comprehensive equipment maintenance and booking policies that not only streamline operations but also foster a culture of responsibility and care among students.


Elements of an Effective Equipment Maintenance and Booking Policy

Encouraging Student Engagement

  • Report and Responsibility: The policy should actively encourage students to report any equipment issues. This involvement not only aids in timely maintenance but also instills a sense of responsibility and community.

  • Student Involvement in Upkeep: Strategize to involve students in the regular upkeep of  equipment. This could involve routine checks or simple maintenance tasks, enhancing their sense of ownership.

Rewarding Responsible Behavior

  • Incentives for Careful Use: Offer incentives for students who demonstrate responsible equipment usage. For instance, students who consistently return equipment on time and in good condition could be given priority in future bookings.

Implementing a Return and Reminder System

  • Clear Return Policies: Establish clear guidelines for equipment return to minimize late returns. Late returns should be tracked and addressed to maintain equipment availability for all.

  • Automated Reminder System: Utilize the notification system in Scanlily for sending out timely reminders. This proactive approach ensures that students are aware of due dates, reducing the likelihood of overdue returns.

A Sample Equipment Booking Policy

The following sample equipment booking policy is designed to be adopted or adapted by educators for use in their courses.

Equipment Booking Policy

Introduction: Our department is committed to providing you with high-quality AV equipment for your educational needs. To ensure fair and responsible use of these resources, we have established the following equipment maintenance and booking policy.

Equipment Booking and Usage:

  • Reservations: Book equipment through the Scanlily system in advance. Students must only reserve equipment for their specific role, such as lighting or sound.

  • Role-Specific Bookings: Students are responsible for booking only the equipment they are trained and assigned to use.

  • Individual Responsibility: Each student must book for themselves and cannot make bookings on behalf of others or for external parties.

  • Training Requirement: Equipment usage is restricted to students who have received appropriate training.

  • Timeliness: Arrive on time for equipment collection. Late or absent students may face automatic cancellation of their booking.

Check-Out and Return:

  • Procedure: Scan the QR code on the equipment for item check-out and return, confirming its condition.

  • Issue Reporting: If any issues or discrepancies are found at the time of collection, immediately contact the designated staff member for adjustments or replacements.

  • Personal Collection: Equipment must be collected personally by the student who made the booking. No third-party collections are allowed.

Responsibility and Care:

  • Handling and Usage: Handle all equipment responsibly. Report any accidental damages or losses immediately through Scanlily.

  • Safekeeping: Students are responsible for the safekeeping of equipment. Avoid leaving it unattended or in visible locations such as vehicles.

  • Flagging: Use the 'Flag' feature in Scanlily to report any malfunctions or damages.

  • Accidental Damage and Incident Reporting: Students will not be held financially responsible for breakages caused by accidents, but an incident form will be filled and reviewed by the program lead and technical manager.

Accountability and Financial Penalties:

  • Financial Responsibility You are financially responsible for any damage or loss of equipment during your reservation period. This includes damages caused by others if you lend the equipment to them.

  • Penalty System for Late Returns Penalties for late returns include:

    • 1st Offense: Warning issued.

    • 2nd Offense: Loss of equipment privileges for one week.

    • 3rd Offense: Loss of privileges for one month.

    • 4th Offense: Loss of privileges for the semester.

  • Advance Notice for Conflicts

Borrowing Duration and Reservation Limits

  • Time Limits: Equipment such as cameras, lights, tripods, etc., may be borrowed for a maximum of two days at a time.

  • Reservation Advance: Reservations must be made in advance and cannot be placed more than one week in advance.

Feedback and Continuous Improvement


  • Open Feedback: Your feedback on the equipment and the Scanlily system helps us improve our services continuously.

By adopting these guidelines, we aim to create a responsible, efficient, and equitable environment for equipment usage. This policy not only ensures that our AV resources are well-maintained but also promotes a sense of ownership and accountability among students. It's essential for a smooth and successful semester where everyone has fair access to the tools they need for their academic pursuits.

For additional insights on equipment booking policies in academic settings, explore the specific guidelines of University of Northampton - Kit Store, Columbia University - J-School Equipment Bookings, and Occidental College's equipment booking policy.

Conclusion

In summary, getting on top of your AV inventory this semester using an equipment management system like Scanlily can free up time for you and allow your students to focus on learning and creativity.  Please feel free to adapt the provided maintenance and booking policy to your needs.   We’re keen to hear how it goes for you and eager to hear suggestions for improvements. 

28 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page