You can thank TOURtech for outfitting the biggest music festivals with event Wi-Fi and internet services. And you can thank Flex for giving TOURtech the right cloud based inventory management software tools to pull it off. Events like Lollapalooza hire TOURtech to provide temporary Wi-Fi and networks in places where there isn’t any – like putting down a fiber ring around the three-mile-long perimeter surrounding Grant Park in Chicago.
For Lollapalooza they also deployed more than 500 devices, more than 17 miles of Cat5 cable, and a new onsite emergency broadcast system.
“It allows the whole thing to run smoothly, including point of sale, ticketing, gates, merchandise and sponsor amenities, there’s a lot going on,” said Chad Tyson, Operations Manager for TOURtech.
Managing everything through Flex cloud based inventory management software
It’s a big undertaking, said Tyson – but being able to manage everything through Flex ensures they can deliver projects of this scale to their clients without a hitch.
“I work a lot on the warehouse side, all our inventory is in it right now, we use Flex for crew scheduling too as far as staffing is concerned, we can create gear lists for shows, it’s pretty awesome,” said Tyson.
From Concert Tours to Festival
TOURtech has been using Flex from the very beginning – that’s a decade of using Flex for those that are counting. They appreciate that the cloud based inventory management software can grow and change with them as they’ve had to make changes in how they run their business.
In 2003, Allen Cook started TOURtech out of his apartment in Los Angeles, offering mobile office systems for touring production offices. In 2008, he relocated to North Carolina and the operations was moved to his garage.
That was the year that Cook signed up for Flex and they were able to successfully track all the gear and equipment that were used in tours through robust cloud based inventory management software tools. But in 2010, Cook decided to pivot his service offerings. The company was supporting the likes of Beyoncé, The Eagles, Rihanna and Miley Cyrus – but as the venues caught up with technology the demand for touring production systems diminished. The company transitioned from concert tour mobile office systems to offering event Wi-Fi and internet services.
“The mobile office systems were a self-contained rack unit and they were relatively intervention free, but now we had to make it work for IT, and asset management became a lot more important,” added Cook.
“That was a whole new set of equipment and gear to track, two years later we started managing everything in Flex,” said Cook, “we started setting up packages.”
Now the company has a team of 17 full-time staff and about 20 on-call crew. They’ve worked with NFL Kickoffs and drafts, NBC live musicals, Lollapalooza, and Austin City Limits. They’re particularly proud of their work with World’s Loudest Month presented by AEG which features a series of seven music festivals in seven cities.
“They have one crew, one trailer, and we go city to city right along with them,” said Cook, “it’s really quick pace, and all their crew are beat to death but with the biggest smiles on their face.”
They’ve also done product launches for Amazon and other big tech companies.
“It comes down to trust, if you’re a tech company demoing your next big thing, you don’t want to leave your tech to chance,” said Cook, “the venue might proclaim to have the best network in the world, but it can still be out of Amazon’s control should something happen, they bring us in to have as much control of the tech component as possible.”
And their hard work, dedication, and ambition is getting noticed. In 2017, Inc. magazine ranked TOURtech NO. 2177 on their 36th annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.
How TOURtech manages everything with Flex cloud based inventory management software
By using templates, they can create professional looking financial documents that allow them to build out quotes with sections for equipment, expendables, add-ons, and labor. They use a mix of search functionality, drag and drop from the inventory tree in the resource browser, and suggestions to automate the process.
“If we add a mobile command trailer to the quote, the system will automatically add supporting equipment, through suggestions it will ask us if we want chairs, or a coffee maker,” said Cook, “when there are hundreds of items on a job it’s hard to remember the really basic items when you’re focusing on delivering the critical, more important items for the job.”
The company has developed three custom workflows in the cloud based inventory management software to help them automate processes throughout a project and eliminate manual tasks. They built one for their primary events and festivals, one for mid-market events, and the other is a simple workflow to help them manage straightforward equipment rentals.
“Each workflow allows us to monitor progress, track developments in the calendar view, and use the status option to help everyone see at a glance what to focus on,” said Cook.
“The key for us is scalability, more and more companies like Live Nation want a partner who can handle multiple simultaneous projects, and that ties back into Flex,” said Cook, “knowing what you’ve got, where it is, and what’s available on hand is important, but more so being able to service multiple projects and resolve conflicts.”