One of the largest camera rental companies in the Los Angeles/Hollywood area, Keslow Camera has a long list of credits ranging from blockbusters like “The Social Network”, to thrillers like “Contagion” and comedies such as “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone”, as well as popular Emmy-winning television shows like “The West Wing,” “House M.D.,” “Monk,” and “Chuck.”
To keep up with the fast pace of production and keep track of nearly 40,000 individually barcoded items in its inventory, Keslow Camera abandoned its old paper-based system for one that incorporates iPads, iMacs, and iPhones.
Brad Wilson, who manages Keslow's rental department, says the system ties 50 people within the company together who are managing contracts and bids to fulfilling orders, tracking equipment worldwide, invoicing and forecasting sales.
"Instead of being bogged down in paper, spending several minutes trying to locate an order or determine what's in stock and what is already rented out, we can now respond instantly to customers, whether we are in the office or out in the warehouse,” Wilson said.
Once a contract is ready to be filled, for example, the equipment puller, shipping and receiving team, and prep technicians all take an iPad with them. They use the tablet to perform various functions such as scan barcodes that track camera equipment or build or modify contracts in the office or on a location.
"When we're on the phone with clients we have immediate access to gear availability and numbers, and can answer most inquiries over the phone in a matter of seconds, rather than taking down a client's info, looking for paper documents, and needing to call them back, thus losing the time and patience of the person calling in needing immediate answers,” Wilson said. “This is important, because every day in production can cost many thousands of dollars."
Making the digital transition Flawless
To help keep contracts straight and prevent mistakes, Keslow made sure its iPads had Wi-Fi, 3G and a database software built around FileMaker Go app.
Build by developer Scott Rose of ScottWorld, the company affectionately calls the software Flawless. In addition to other productivity and communication programs, Flawless on the iPad is hosted for easy access across Keslow’s offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Santa Fe and New Orleans.
“We need to manage a large number of PDFs – purchase orders, contracts and invoices,” Wilson said. “With our custom solution, the company can maintain these documents externally to the solution in managed storage, while still being able to have instant access.”
The software also helps the company submit bids faster than the competition so they are the first to respond to the customer, he added.
Since transitioning to tablets and cutting down on paperwork, Keslow Camera reports growing roughly 30% year over year.