In our last few blogs, the theme was efficiency in purchasing gear. This is still the case. As more and more gear outlets are moving towards less phone time and a heavier reliance on the site doing the work, this either makes things more difficult or harder. Many are completely at home at ordering gear online and others aren’t. There are many reason for this, but for the sake of streamlining the process, let’s assume the comfort level is high enough to shop online for your rigging gear.
There are couple of elements you should consider before pushing the Buy Now button..
- Have A Goal
- Allow your Shopping Cart to be preeminent in your plans.
- Have a Budget
The Goal: Although, this would seem really logical, it apparently isn’t. Why? Honestly I think it has to do with many things, but one area stands out more than anything else. Training and thinking for the future instead of the now is a challenge for many. So here is a condensed menu of contents people should really consider before they even go online… in other words, “what is the goal for this purchase?” What is the The Compass?
- The SOP/Safe Practices or Standard Operating Procedures that govern the team’s training, personnel and gear.
- The Organization of the team as whole
- The Communication of the team.
- The General Rigging practices of the team.
- The Goals of the Team
- What systems are being used now and where are strategies going in the future?
- The team’s competency levels.
A well organized team should never purchase a single item unless it can be mapped specifically to the teams The Compass.
The Shopping Cart: Using the Shopping Cart function, while seemingly is a no-brainer is your best opportunity to say no. There are no limits as to how many products you can stuff into your Shopping Cart. Let it build up. Once you have accumulated all the equipment you could possibly afford, start trimming it down. You likely don’t need tons of models of any given widget. You don’t hear this very often, but try to stay with as few options as possible. Vendors, normally, if they are worth their weight, will have a large and generous selection of many options if the have one.
Shop with a strategy in mind. An example might be Helmets, then Harnesses, then Rope, then Pulleys, then Carabiners etc… until completed. Normally a Shopping Cart will list the products in order of your selection. Simply go from top to bottom. Alway refer to your original goal to make sure you have covered all the bases.
The Budget: This is also a very difficult element of purchasing to practice unless a budget and or limits were already given to you. This is also an amazing gift that is bestowed on the purchase agent or technician because it limits the amount of pain that can occur when spending has overflowed the banks and thus creates problems for others that were not ready for it.
The Constraints: This is normally considered a negative concept, but for those who are wise… constraints are even better than budgets. Constraints limit most overages before they start. Constraints could be things like…
- No one piece will have a single purpose. A multi-purpose gear list eliminates many problems and builds a more well rounded team. Small teams greatly benefit from this.
- All systems in place must have scalability and parts (including personnel) must always be replaceable. Specialization has it’s place but as a general rule, don’t do it.
- Significance is not Sacred. Never rely on any one piece of equipment (multi-purposed or not) to be “the way we do things”. Eventually this will bite you hard. Cross training is essential for a well oiled team to function.
- Always let training determine the factors of purchasing. If you don’t train with it, don’t buy it. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it.
- Stay with reliable gear and systems before branching out into the unknown.
So while this is a limited list as best, if you aren’t at least following these elements in one way or another, chances are very high you have purchased gear by mistake and have either tried to return it or it is just sitting there in the cache collecting dust. I have helped thousands of people with their purchases, so I know full well what works and what doesn’t.
Give us some thoughts and feedback on how we are doing at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, make sure you check in at www.rigginglabacademy.com for upcoming courses for this topic and many others.
Until next time,
Lance Piatt is CEO of Rescue Response Gear Inc. His other ventures include Rigging Lab Academy Inc., Raven Collective Media and Trails 2 The Sea.