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Audio Visual Centres in the 21st century
15.1 With the continuing round of cuts year on year it has been impossible to increase our compliment of permanent staff.
15.2 However we have had some success and for some time have been employing temporary AV staff on short term contracts. Not ideal, but funding has been found for two additional technicians for busy periods starting in January 1997.
15.3 Since we have been using temps the service has improved immeasurably. The improvement in service has demonstrated to college the need for permanent staff. Moreover theory has been practised and I can report that seconding a technician to a faculty has improved service immeasurably. Academic colleagues report that they are very happy with the new arrangements.
15.4 I can report that MSU has had a review and recommended three additional AV staff. The review group were presented with the data shown in appendix five along with a persuasive argument to support the case.
15.5 The case was made on the grounds of work against staff availability and complexity of the task. Regular service and maintenance is a major concern and it was being neglected along with other essential work. It also took a number of complaints to support the statistical evidence and served to highlight the problems faced by academic colleagues.
15.6 Data has been compiled for a number of years and covers a period from 1990 to date. (See appendix five)
15.7 From the graph it can be seen how the trends have stretched our meagre (three technicians) resources each year.
15.8 To compile this data was not an easy task and a formula had to be established that allowed us to obtain a broad view of the demands. Of course with so few AV staff I did not want to waste their time by asking them to fill out time sheets. In any case they can be overlooked by staff and consequently would be forged at a later date which was something I wanted to avoid. When compiling this sort of data it has to be obtained with minimum effort.
15.9 The solution seemed to lay within the booking forms but of course with so many variations in requests for service how can these make any sense.
15.10 After much thought and several false starts a plan was devised that allowed all existing data to be recorded as a job regardless of the length of time the task took to complete. Not ideal I know but it does give a trend.
15.11 This was achieved after analysing all jobs that had been undertaken for the previous two years. It was considered appropriate to treat each booking as one job regardless of time. For example installing an 35mm projector would be logged as one job. A video shoot which may take four days would be booked as four jobs, one per day. If two technicians were involved an allocation of one job each per day would be recorded.
15.12 As can be seen this has produced a trend which is as accurate as we need without wasting staff time. The data is compiled on a data base by our administrator each month and again with minimum effort. Because the data is so rudimentary errors in transfer to the data base are largely eliminated.
15.13 The next stage will be to compile equipment usage by item and we are currently undertaking this work. It is still at the planning stage and more work needs to be done before implementation.
15.14 It will help to assess what equipment is being used and how often, where shortfalls are occurring in our equipment stock and what needs replacement. It will be able to identify service intervals on specific items and signal this to technical staff. Hopefully it will ease their burden and remove the need for them to keep a separate log. This will be developed alongside the bar coded price list for our production services and the networked room bookings outlined above. The emphasis is on reducing manual operations to an absolute minimum.
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