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Rock and Roll Heroes: Managing the Logistics of Live Concert Tours

live-concert-tours-banner Everybody applauds musical performers, but few people appreciate some of the true heroes of live concert tours. These are the logistics and inventory managers who make sure that everything from musical equipment to souvenir T-shirts shows up on time and doesn't get lost to inventory shrinkage. These challenging tasks require special kinds of professionals when musical groups, orchestras, or ballets may need to perform in dozens of cities over the course of a few weeks.

Rock Out with Labels and Portable Technology

Some concert tours are the size of small cities. In this case, the touring company may employ in-house logistics and inventory management. Smaller groups may find it more efficient and affordable to outsource some of these critical functions. In either case, a tour manager must stay on top of dozens of different kinds of physical items. These can range from tickets, posters, guitars, speakers, and costumes. Standardized labels, software, and barcode management ensures everything is tracked as it travels from venue to venue. Tour managers might favor mobile inventory tracking solutions that include a handheld computer, portable printer, and intuitive software. The rugged hardware stands up under rigorous use and features wireless Internet connectivity for use almost anywhere. Better yet, everything needed to track thousands of items can fit into a suitcase or computer bag. These are some features of mobile inventory tracking for musical tour logistics and control:
  • Print labels or tickets on the fly from almost anywhere.
  • Check inventory items, like costumes and instruments, in and out to tour members.
  • Keep track of retail inventory costs, sales, and locations.
  • Get notifications when inventory runs low or checked-out items are past due.
  • Communicate with other handheld or stationary inventory users on the same network, even if they are not in the same location.
Do you currently rely upon an outdated and unreliable inventory tracking system? These new devices may be small, but they are mighty enough to import all of your old data in a flash.

Bar Codes Help Musical Performers Connect with Fans

iStock_000043976962Not only can inventory and logistics control help your touring company keep track of everything, similar technology can also help with promotional activities. Have you seen QR codes that are read by the smart phones many of your potential fans and customers already have in their hands? Consider the many types of creative uses for QR codes that are bound to help raise interest and brand recognition for your musical tour. Give away free downloads of songs or videos, offer discounts for tickets or tour souvenirs, or hold a promotional giveaway for backstage passes. As a manager for a creative group, you will find that uses for these codes are really only limited by your own creativity, and they help your tour connect with and excite the folks who are likely to come out and see a show.

What are your thoughts on the unsung heroes who make your favorite concerts possible?  Tell us in the comments.