As institutions compete for enrolments in media and creative industries courses, investment in related equipment and facilities is as important as ever. Universities are often under pressure to offer industry-standard resources – cameras, studios and editing suites – to provide students with the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the latest equipment and produce their best work.
With such valuable resources available for student use, it’s important that precautions are in place to protect them from misuse and loss. In this post, we explore the tactics used by our university connect2 equipment booking system customers to ensure equipment is returned after use in the best possible condition.
Getting the most from your kit
As anyone involved in inventory management knows, it’s crucial that valuable portable items are used as intended with due care and responsibility. This helps ensure they remain in good working order and are able to produce the high quality results they are designed for. Here are some approaches that have been tried and tested by our customers:
- For larger cameras and video kits picked up for use on location, staff make sure students have suitable transportation. Some include this in their loan terms and conditions or ask the question as a distinct step in the booking process with the student’s response required before a reservation can be finalised
- Students may be asked to state they have adequate insurance cover in case expensive items are lost or stolen while in their possession. Again, this may be included as a mandatory question in the online process of making a booking. It’s an approach that’s especially popular in US institutions and may require providing the insurance policy number as evidence of cover
- At some institutions, a more rigorous approval process is in place for specific high value equipment items – where the exact intended use and location are reviewed prior to the booking being confirmed. Meanwhile, more generic, lower value items will have instant automated authorisations in place to support fast access to resources
- If equipment damage occurs due to usage other than that described at the point of making a booking, the student can be held to account. At these universities, the rule is that usage has to remain transparent and accountable. So say if a camera comes back with sand in the lens and water damage, the student can be challenged over the city centre location details given when making the reservation
- Only students with the required experience, skillset, and genuine requirement are usually permissioned to borrow high-end resources via connect2 bookings. In this way, availability of specialised items is exclusive to those students that really need them, the return on investment is greater in terms of the quality of the work produced, and damages due to unintentional misuse are greatly reduced
Establishing best practice
It’s easy to establish best practice around lending valuable items of equipment with the support of the connect2 equipment booking system. Using the approaches above together with connect2’s customisable booking process and permissions, there’ll be less repair costs and drama all round. Not least, it helps promote a culture of responsible borrowing where everyone benefits.
Of course, when you see what’s working for other university departments it’s easier to develop your own approach so we hope you find this post useful. Any further tactics to report, please get in touch. We’d love to hear how you manage your more valuable items and are happy to share further.