Equipment lending schemes are highly valued by students and staff alike. Students can progress their skills and achieve professional results using high end cameras, lighting and audio equipment.
These services enable students to push the boundaries in their work, turning creative ideas into reality. Every day, they provide much-needed resources and advice. However, as they’re working under constraints, it isn’t possible to satisfy everyone all the time.
Taking the findings from our latest survey, we look at what’s valued most from these operations. We also look at areas needing further support or ideas. It’s based on input from over 130 staff and students at last month’s BVE media technology show. Here’s what they said…
Both the range and quality of equipment on offer are the most highly valued aspects of equipment lending services. The array of resources available enable students to grow skills for future careers in film, music and other media. It provides valuable access to equipment without the deep pockets or connections otherwise needed.
Respondents stated that the ease of booking items ahead of use and good availability were also highly valued. Ease of access can’t be under estimated! Another key aspect is that these services offer resources that are reliable and well maintained.
So to sum up, these are the top 5 features most recognised and liked from successful operations:
- Range of equipment
- Quality of equipment
- Ease of booking ahead
- Good availability
- Equipment is well maintained
Most common shortfalls
Limited availability of equipment and booking slots that are too short are causing the most frustrations. In fact, over a quarter of students felt this was the case. Others complaints were more focused on the systems in place for access. So what exactly is going wrong?
Many students are expected to turn up on spec and hope for the best when booking kit out. Here they find that checkout is slow, with the need to queue and long prep times. When they get to the front of the line, they sometimes feel rushed.
In these cases students felt that access could be better organised, and systems could be more user-friendly. The top 5 suggestions for raising service standards were:
- Improve resource availability
- Make it possible to book ahead
- Speed up checkout times
- Make booking system easier to use
- Modernise outdated systems of access
The systems under criticism vary from paper and post-its, to spreadsheets, LMS systems, online forms and reservations by email. Some resource booking systems are also failing due to poor usability or no advance booking facilities.
These problems are really worth solving when the services in question are so important to those that use them. But what about the top criticism here, the one concerning availability? With finite resources, this isn’t so easy to fix, right?
Well there’s actually a lot you can do without needing a bigger equipment budget. A well designed online booking system improves availability through the option to book ahead and with better turnaround on resources used. Students will become more aware of the whole range of resources too. And it can even reduce overdue items and losses. Read more in our inside guide to equipment booking and checkout systems.
We hope you find these survey results useful and look forward to discussing the themes raised further.