Crew Scheduling for Live Events in a Smartphone World

LASSO is not just a scheduling tool specialized for the live events industry; it is a complete communications platform that allows companies to centralize their crew hiring and booking operations. Many rental software packages offer labor scheduling, but none are as comprehensive as LASSO.

Finding an Alternative

A few years ago I was at a training seminar put on by our rental software company. I chose to attend a session about their labor planning module lead by the logistics manager of a well-respected company. I was curious to see how an organization much larger than ours was able to use this labor module because we had been trying, but kept running into issues.

The presenter described more than ten custom fields they had added to the system to capture information the developers hadn’t thought of. They seemed to be using the software to the best of their ability, but it was still cumbersome.

When the speaker described the multiple spreadsheets they would print on paper and take to their weekly meetings, I had a realization. This wasn’t a presentation about how to use the software. It was 45 minutes about how to work around the limitations of the software. I felt there had to be a better way.

I left the training thinking about how most rental software packages treat labor and resource management as an add-on. We knew that the subject deserved more attention to really improve workflow efficiencies. Shortly thereafter, we reached out to LASSO. Their new product looked like it could fill the gap left by all of the major rental software vendors.

Making Booking Easier for Technicians

Our focus was not solely on ourselves though. Yes, we wanted a better tool for our logistics managers, but we also wanted to create a better experience for our overhire technicians. The Baltimore/Washington DC region has seen a spike in labor companies entering the market over the past few years. We needed a better way to compete. If we could offer the easiest way to present and accept job opportunities, we would have an advantage.

LASSO is actually a suite of tools including:

  • recruiting tools
  • new hire on-boarding
  • digital signature capture for policies
  • scheduling
  • communication
  • time and attendance tracking
  • document distribution
  • skills management
  • travel management
  • payroll

Making the Change

When we first started using LASSO in 2016, we understood that we chose a new platform that would need time and experience to mature. However, we approached the situation with patience and an open mind. We worked closely with LASSO’s support team, providing feedback and suggesting improvements. LASSO responded by quickly fixing bugs and teaching us how to better take advantage of their system.

Currently, we use LASSO to manage all of our production resources. This includes full-time employees, part-time overhire technicians, drivers, and trucks. Adding vehicles to the system prevents double-booking and gives everyone a more complete picture of the event.

Continued Improvement

Over the past few years LASSO has continued to develop features, which make it even more of a pleasure to use.

Centralized Communication

It is possible to centralize all crew communication within LASSO. Schedule changes can be communicated instantly with push notifications, email, or SMS. Recipients can be selected based on position and messages can be scheduled to send at a certain time. You can even require confirmation from the crew member that they received each message. Documents can be attached so they are available in the app and a full history of messages related to each event is available.
When changes are made to an event for which people are already booked, LASSO even reminds you to communicate those changes to the crew.

Crew Registration and On-Boarding

One of the most underrated aspects of LASSO is the registration process. It’s not the same as signing up for any other website. LASSO’s registration process is actually a job application for us.
New users choose the positions they want to be considered for, suggest rates, attach their resume and photo, and can electronically sign policy documents. Every step can be customized per company, from the positions offered to the thank you message. As a manager, you can choose to receive a notification when someone applies for a new position and manage applicants from the pending crew page.

Calendar Integration

Crew members can easily sync LASSO bookings to their phone’s calendar with one click. In addition, the company’s event schedule is available as an .ics feed. Our logistics team can add that calendar to their desktops and phones for a complete view of all events across our organization.

Crew Chief Features

As a crew chief or supervisor, you have access to the complete crew schedule as well as the roster. Communication is easy with one-click access to email and SMS for each scheduled worker. When the job is over, each crew member can be rated on a 5-star scale for their great work.

Final Thoughts

LASSO was built for our industry. It’s incredibly tough to solve for the complexities found within the live event industry, as they are quite unique. LASSO has set out to tackle these issues head-on, and they do so with the help, support, and feedback of the industry itself.

By offering more features and options, LASSO has built an amazingly thorough scheduling and communication platform. They understand that the smartphone is the primary communication device for most people and designed their product accordingly. Most importantly, LASSO makes it easy for technicians to make scheduling decisions with just a few clicks.

Blog post

Like the tip of an iceberg, show day is just the small part of your event that everyone can see. Getting to that day takes coordination, planning, and efficient communication. Similar to the part of the iceberg under the water, it's the pre-production work that provides flotation and allows the tip to be seen. Conference calls and emails are helpful, as well as newer collaboration platforms like Slack and Basecamp, but the best way to get ideas across is with an image.

Vectorworks - The Event Professional's Choice

At Event Tech we use Vectorworks, the industry-leading design software for the entertainment business, to create drawings of our events. These drawings serve as the information hub - connecting clients, vendors, and technicians to make sure everyone is on the same page.CAD, or Computer Aided Design, is the process creating detailed technical drawings and 3D renderings that depict exactly how your event’s design and production elements fit together in the venue to create your event experience. There are several different types of drawings that a special events production firm can create for you using a CAD program:
  • Floor plans
  • Lighting designs
  • Stage plots
  • Site maps
  • Cabling diagrams
  • 3D design renderings
  • Engineering drawings

3D Design Helps Set Expectations

Vectorworks allows us to design simultaneously in 2D and 3D. Most technical drawings are shown 2D in a plan view, looking down at the room from above. However, when there's a desire to see what things will really look like in a room, we use 3D representations. A rendering is a more realistic image of the 3D space that shows all the room surfaces and can include elements like the beams of light that emanate from each fixture. Throughout the planning phases, being able to provide your clients and team with accurate 3D renderings of the final build will facilitate getting all of the stake holders on the same page. This helps to set realistic expectations before the day of the event. 

Everyone Benefits From Detailed Drawings

CAD drawings help everyone. The event designer can see what the stage set and color schemes will look like. The meeting planner can see the spacing between tables and share that floor plan with the hotel. For technicians, drawings serve as the map of equipment placement and connections. Integrating data from the venue, like room dimensions and electrical access helps limit confusion, shorten set up times, and save money. And in the warehouse, CAD drawings inform our pick lists so that the right equipment ends up on site.We also use Vectorworks to create drawings that we share with our Professional Engineer in order to prove structural stability and wind resistance at outdoor events. The engineer can see every detail about how a structure is built and will stamp or certify our drawings for submittal.

Information Sharing Through CAD

Many of the large events we stage are collaborations with other production companies. Being able to communicate effectively and share information ahead of time is key to making the load-in go smoothly, satisfy the client, and keep everyone safe. When there are multiple companies on site and space is at a premium, CAD drawings make sure that everyone knows where things go and any conflicts can be worked out before load-in. Since many similar companies also use Vectorworks, files can be passed back and forth with each vendor adding their bit to the drawing.Event Tech offers a full range of professional CAD and event planning services. Incorporated into a full production design or offered as a standalone service to event professionals and coordinators, no matter how large your event may be or what stage of development you find yourself in, Event Tech can help put your ideas on paper. As you start the design process of your next project remember that if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.

Blog post

LASSO is not just a scheduling tool specialized for the live events industry; it is a complete communications platform that allows companies to centralize their crew hiring and booking operations. Many rental software packages offer labor scheduling, but none are as comprehensive as LASSO.

Finding an Alternative

A few years ago I was at a training seminar put on by our rental software company. I chose to attend a session about their labor planning module lead by the logistics manager of a well-respected company. I was curious to see how an organization much larger than ours was able to use this labor module because we had been trying, but kept running into issues.The presenter described more than ten custom fields they had added to the system to capture information the developers hadn't thought of. They seemed to be using the software to the best of their ability, but it was still cumbersome.When the speaker described the multiple spreadsheets they would print on paper and take to their weekly meetings, I had a realization. This wasn't a presentation about how to use the software. It was 45 minutes about how to work around the limitations of the software. I felt there had to be a better way.I left the training thinking about how most rental software packages treat labor and resource management as an add-on. We knew that the subject deserved more attention to really improve workflow efficiencies. Shortly thereafter, we reached out to LASSO. Their new product looked like it could fill the gap left by all of the major rental software vendors.

Making Booking Easier for Technicians

Our focus was not solely on ourselves though. Yes, we wanted a better tool for our logistics managers, but we also wanted to create a better experience for our overhire technicians. The Baltimore/Washington DC region has seen a spike in labor companies entering the market over the past few years. We needed a better way to compete. If we could offer the easiest way to present and accept job opportunities, we would have an advantage.LASSO is actually a suite of tools including:
  • recruiting tools
  • new hire on-boarding
  • digital signature capture for policies
  • scheduling
  • communication
  • time and attendance tracking
  • document distribution
  • skills management
  • travel management
  • payroll

Making the Change

When we first started using LASSO in 2016, we understood that we chose a new platform that would need time and experience to mature. However, we approached the situation with patience and an open mind. We worked closely with LASSO's support team, providing feedback and suggesting improvements. LASSO responded by quickly fixing bugs and teaching us how to better take advantage of their system.Currently, we use LASSO to manage all of our production resources. This includes full-time employees, part-time overhire technicians, drivers, and trucks. Adding vehicles to the system prevents double-booking and gives everyone a more complete picture of the event.

Continued Improvement

Over the past few years LASSO has continued to develop features, which make it even more of a pleasure to use.

Centralized Communication

It is possible to centralize all crew communication within LASSO. Schedule changes can be communicated instantly with push notifications, email, or SMS. Recipients can be selected based on position and messages can be scheduled to send at a certain time. You can even require confirmation from the crew member that they received each message. Documents can be attached so they are available in the app and a full history of messages related to each event is available. When changes are made to an event for which people are already booked, LASSO even reminds you to communicate those changes to the crew.

Crew Registration and On-Boarding

One of the most underrated aspects of LASSO is the registration process. It's not the same as signing up for any other website. LASSO's registration process is actually a job application for us. New users choose the positions they want to be considered for, suggest rates, attach their resume and photo, and can electronically sign policy documents. Every step can be customized per company, from the positions offered to the thank you message. As a manager, you can choose to receive a notification when someone applies for a new position and manage applicants from the pending crew page.

Calendar Integration

Crew members can easily sync LASSO bookings to their phone's calendar with one click. In addition, the company's event schedule is available as an .ics feed. Our logistics team can add that calendar to their desktops and phones for a complete view of all events across our organization.

Crew Chief Features

As a crew chief or supervisor, you have access to the complete crew schedule as well as the roster. Communication is easy with one-click access to email and SMS for each scheduled worker. When the job is over, each crew member can be rated on a 5-star scale for their great work.

Final Thoughts

LASSO was built for our industry. It’s incredibly tough to solve for the complexities found within the live event industry, as they are quite unique. LASSO has set out to tackle these issues head-on, and they do so with the help, support, and feedback of the industry itself.By offering more features and options, LASSO has built an amazingly thorough scheduling and communication platform. They understand that the smartphone is the primary communication device for most people and designed their product accordingly. Most importantly, LASSO makes it easy for technicians to make scheduling decisions with just a few clicks.