Mission Accomplished: ScheduALL Manages Army Television’s Resources with Military Precision
History-making news and changing world events are all part of business as usual at Army Television, the U.S. Army’s official audiovisual production organization. From its offices and studios at the Pentagon in Washington, DC – the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense – Army Television provides audiovisual support to the Pentagon’s senior leadership, from the Secretary of Defense to all departments and staff under his jurisdiction. Army Television creates and delivers audiovisual and multimedia products and services of the highest quality, designed to document the Army’s history and advance its efforts in training, information, marketing and recruiting.
Army Television is staffed by a professional team of 41 directors, producers, videographers, editors, engineers, live event managers and other production professionals. Together, the team handles a variety of audiovisual projects each day, including videotaping meetings, ceremonies, conferences and events and creating informational and training videos, as well as managing and providing support to all activities and events in the 350-seat Pentagon Auditorium. As a self-contained unit, Army Television handles all pre-production, production, and post-production activities in-house, including coordinating local and international distribution.
As part of its day-to-day operations, Army Television utilizes and manages a wide variety of people, studios, facilities and equipment who work both on base and on location, anywhere in the country. Engineering Branch Chief and Chief Engineer Kevin Beverley, who has worked at the Pentagon for 30 years and is a 27-year Army Television veteran, is responsible for managing these resources, along with other managers and supervisors. Together, they must ensure that each resource is assigned and scheduled accurately and precisely at all times, even when changes, delays or unforeseen circumstances arise.
“If a General requests that we videotape an event, but all of our cameras are currently in use for other projects, I’d better have very specific and accurate information available regarding where and how our equipment is being utilized,” he says.
An even bigger challenge is doing more with less, as major cutbacks across the organization have significantly reduced its number of professional staff. “Like so many other entities, the U.S. Government is slenderizing operations, including those of Army Television,” says Mr. Beverley. “We now have a greater number of missions to handle, with more complexity than ever before, but we have fewer people to handle them. Therefore, it’s critical that we have a reliable scheduling system in place to make sure that we are utilizing our available resources to their maximum effectiveness at all times.
SOLUTION AND BENEFITS
Mr. Beverley discovered the core ScheduALL scheduling system more than 20 years ago and has been a satisfied customer ever since. “We’ve been using ScheduALL forever and I consider it to be an integral part of our operations,” he says.
Indeed, ScheduALL continues to make genius possible at Army Television, its long-time partner. ScheduALL’s core scheduling system enables unit leaders to schedule and manage Army Television’s professional staff and significant volume of work, as well as its state-of-the-art production facilities and equipment. Resources include the Pentagon Auditorium and its four robotic cameras, as well as a fully-equipped TV production studio with three cameras, which can be used as soundstage for interviews, training videos and other audiovisual assignments. For remote coverage, the organization also makes use of a full complement of portable production equipment, as well as a four-camera video production truck, which is primarily used to cover events around the nation’s capital, but often travels to locations along the east coast.
When audiovisual support is needed for events that will take place across the country, Army Television collaborates with other military units, such as the U.S. Air Force, which provides remote truck coverage on the west coast.
An example of Army Television’s professional and comprehensive audiovisual capabilities is its memorable broadcast coverage of the Pentagon’s 9/11 Memorial dedication on September 11, 2008. Thousands of people attended the moving ceremony as then-President George W. Bush dedicated the memorial to the 184 individuals killed at the Pentagon when American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the iconic structure.
Army Television team members utilized their video production truck at the dedication site, where they videotaped the event, providing a live-feed to The Pentagon Channel for worldwide broadcast, and handled the editing to create a historical record of the event.
Even though Army Television is operating with fewer staff members, the unit is always working at full capacity – and ScheduALL helps keep it that way. While Mr. Beverley is responsible for ensuring that the system is configured and functioning correctly at all times, every member of the team utilizes the system in various ways each day. For example, each team member uses ScheduALL to see his or her schedule in real time, including what projects they’ll be working on, which studio or remote location has been assigned and what equipment will be used. On this particular day, for example, Mr. Beverley can tell from a glance at his ScheduALL system that nine missions are scheduled, with full utilization of all available people, facilities and equipment – and he can account for every single resource.
“Right now, members of our staff are setting up production of a training video, doing audio production, duplication and editing in the studio, and using our video production truck to get live coverage of an event out in the field,” he says.
“Things also have a way of coming up on short notice in this environment, so I always expect things to change at a moment’s notice. When they do, we can update schedules and make changes and reassignments in the ScheduALL system in real time to ensure that we remain up-to-date and effective, without wasting resources or duplicating efforts. We also avoid double booking resources or accepting a requirement beyond our available capabilities, which can easily result in mission failure. ScheduALL helps us make sure that never happens.”
“I will state emphatically that without ScheduALL, there is no way Army Television would be able to successfully achieve and maintain the operations tempo which has become our norm, including effectively managing a large number of complex missions each day, plus all the people and moving pieces involved.” says Mr. Beverley. “I would estimate that the efficiencies afforded by utilizing the ScheduALL system and modules result in 20% – 30% higher workload capability than we could achieve otherwise.”
He is referring to ScheduALL’s scalable suite of modules that add enhanced features and capabilities to the powerful core scheduling system. Army Television also utilizes most of the available modules, including Project Manager, Personnel Manager, Media Manager, Developer’s Tool Kit, and Invoicing and Receivables.
As for the latter module, Mr. Beverley makes it clear that his organization does not charge its military clients for any work performed. “However, the Invoicing and Receivables module is very worthwhile because it allows us to value our services to our customers, so they can compare the quality and professionalism of our deliverables to what they’d receive and pay for on the outside.”
He also claims that ScheduALL enables personnel and resources to be effectively managed much closer to absolute maximum because of real-time resource/assignment visibility. He estimates that without the system, Army Television would have to hire an additional full-time requirements manager to oversee resource availability and distribution, potentially costing the organization anywhere from $60,000 – $100,000 or more in salary and benefits. As one of ScheduALL’s earliest users, Mr. Beverley is very satisfied with the system’s current features, but excited to further expand its capabilities in the near future. “Our original ScheduALL system was configured more than two decades ago to be compatible with our operational workflows at that time,” he explains. “While our ScheduALL system is still managing our operations easily and efficiently, we plan to build a new system in the next few months and start from scratch with an upgraded and even more powerful ScheduALL system that will provide additional features, benefits and capabilities.” But even before that happens, Mr. Beverley continues to be a devoted ScheduALL advocate, especially when advising other military entities about the system’s proven abilities to manage resources, streamline workflows and increase ROI.
“I frequently get calls from members of other military organizations considering using the ScheduALL system, such as the Pentagon Channel. I hope my comments are useful in their research and ultimate decision to get a ScheduALL system. Time and time again, those that chose a ScheduALL system are very happy they did.”