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How often do you take a good look at your company and the processes involved?

Anna Goodwin wrote a great article (Pro Mobile issue 103) about knowing your numbers and why it's important for your business. I want to take that point further by examining some ways of looking at where you can improve efficiency.

I first heard about the ‘lean process’ a few years ago. At first I assumed it was another workplace initiative to get us all to lose some weight. But it’s not.

The lean process is about becoming more efficient by removing 'waste' from your processes. For example, let’s take the office stationery cupboard. If the most used item is a blue biro, why have this at the back of the cupboard when it could be at the front? Or go one step further and have the most common items dotted around the office nearer the desks. Now, you might only be saving a few seconds per trip, but multiply this by the number of employees and the number of trips per year and those savings can soon start to add up. (Of course, the flip side to this is that if you want to up your step count, then move the things you grab often further away!)

Back to something more relatable to us mobile DJs. If your most used item is your speakers, why place them at the back of your storage when they could be at the front, reducing the number of steps needed and items you have to squeeze past? Think about loading and unloading: how many trips do you make and how long does each take? How much time could you save by reducing just one load? Again, perhaps the savings won't be massive on their own, but the combined effect of all the time savings could help cut down your set up and pack down times.

The more you think about your processes and how to cut down wastage, the more benefits you'll get. You could consider whether you could park closer to an entrance or use a different entrance to reduce time taken for each load. Or perhaps look at packing your equipment in boxes or bags to make it easier to carry. On a similar point, would having some of your equipment in a console save time?

I've seen some DJs that have refined their equipment so that they can fit it all into one trolley, saving time (as long as it’s quick and easy to load the trolley). At some venues the slow speed of my trolley means I've actually found it quicker to carry my equipment, which means I need to look at getting a better trolley.

Thinking about setup times, there are probably some tricks you could use to speed up the process. Could pre-wiring your truss help? What about bespoke cables that have power and DMX combined? Or using cable ties to make it quicker to tidy your cables?

I asked a few DJs from SEDA what they’ve done to help cut down wasted time and they had some excellent suggestions:

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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 114, Pages 40-42.
PLASA Show London
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