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Effenciency.... Okay here are my suggestions.

#1 User is offline   Pat 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 09:27 PM

Okay, well first off i'd like to point out that i'm a rather proficient person. I love to do things the least time consuming fashion, basically the most efficient manner. So when i went to acen this year for the first time in my life i saw GLARING mistakes in the system that i hope will be addressed. First off, i noticed that a lot of the "staff" was not doing too much, i realize they were volunteers but they seemed to be wandering, waiting to be asked for help. So if i may here i will start with the suggestions.

* Note, i attended the Central Anime Convention on Saturday.
**Note, these suggestions are individual corrections, which when strung together create a completely different enviroment.


A) In the Registration area i saw that there were two (2) people patrolling the computers to make sure there were no issues, my solution to create a better experience for those waiting in line, move one (1) of those two (2) people to the second line (after the registration), the line where you pay. What their purpose would be, would be this. Stay at the last "bend" before the exit of the snake line to the payment area and collect money right there and then, in return give them a plastic (reusable) object signifying what they paid for. If one would do the math of the time it takes for the collection of payments (which ranges from 20-60+ seconds) and saving this amount of time per person would SIGNIFICANTLY decrease a person's time spent in the line, and it would essentially combine the payment with printing, you walk up, state your name and you already have your thing already printed.

B) Increase prices for the tickets by .2$ (This would actually earn extra $ because in bulk the sheets come out to be like .05-.1$) and give out scantrons (the things with bubbles) for people to fill out, once filled out a person would simply feed it into the machine when their turn came and continue to the payment line. This would completely knock out the cost of replacing computer equipment for people and nearly knock out the registration line. Because of this you would be able to use those spare computers for extra payments machines.

C) During my stay there i realized the need for $. Since this is obvious i suggested such an action. Create a booth inside of the convention that is controlled by Acen which sells "ticket books". These ticket books would offer "deals" for future sales. Such as, "bring pass from 2 years ago, get new convention ticket for 5$ less" and "Bring a friend, get 5$ off for next year" and "Buy meal at hotel (work this out with hotle) get 2$ back on acen pass" etc.... There are lots of neat tricks in the the world of marketing which gets money out, and for things that are non profit like Acen (or so i heard) this can potentially boost everyone's experience at Acen.

D) Offer the registration scantrons out early to those people in the line to get inside the building, this way the early birds get in early.


If all of this was to be combined what could essentially happen would be this, everyone would be offered a registration scantron and a payment chip with the purchase of a "badge", they would also recieve a goodie bag which would contain one of those really cheap pencils. They would fill out their scantrons and go into line and as they got close to the printing center they would simply feed their scantron into the machines which would scan and immediately start the printing, people would stand by the printer calling out the names and allowing people to trade their chips in for their badge.

So what do you think?

#2 User is offline   sammy-45 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 09:56 PM

You have some good ideas, would you like to join staff and help out reg?
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#3 User is offline   Pat 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 09:58 PM

View Postsammy-45, on May 19 2008, 10:56 PM, said:

You have some good ideas, would you like to join staff and help out reg?



Perhaps, i will not blindly thrust myself into the unknown though. Perhaps you could post a link to the duties/promos of a staff? I'm like a zombie right now, i am going to sleep (barely keeping eyes open right now) Thanks you for reading my ideas! I really appreciate people looking at my ideas instead of just ignoring them. (goodnight)

#4 User is offline   sammy-45 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 10:03 PM

Oh thats easy.
Reg staff- Maybe you will get a room for the con- but if its your first time staffing most likely not.
You will get a staff badge free.
If you want to eat you will have to pay a staff fee for food.
Working hours- You will work at the con from about 9 am Thursday till 9 pm Sunday(so you wont need the room cause you won't have time to sleep much less see the con.)

If anyone thinks I am joking about how much time reg puts in ask someone who worked reg.

But if we get more ideas and more people to help out we could change this and make reg better for everyone.
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#5 User is offline   Vanni127 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 10:09 PM

View Postsammy-45, on May 19 2008, 11:03 PM, said:

Oh thats easy.
Reg staff- Maybe you will get a room for the con- but if its your first time staffing most likely not.
You will get a staff badge free.
If you want to eat you will have to pay a staff fee for food.
Working hours- You will work at the con from about 9 am Thursday till 9 pm Sunday(so you wont need the room cause you won't have time to sleep much less see the con.)

If anyone thinks I am joking about how much time reg puts in ask someone who worked reg.

But if we get more ideas and more people to help out we could change this and make reg better for everyone.


Are you trying to recruit people or shoo them away? I'm unclear. <_<

Seriously though, you have to work 24 hours throughout the weekend.

Everything else is probably true. Though between now and next year, the rooming and staff fee for food could change.
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#6 User is offline   Pat 

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 03:17 PM

Okay, well i wouldn't really want to work like that but i do know a friend who'd be more than willing to do that next year. If you want i can point him in this direction, he's a pretty devout anime guy.

I would rather help out with white color things such as these suggestions... etc. I really hope someone will take heed to them and perhaps implement them next year.

#7 User is offline   Weighted Companion Cube 

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 09:01 PM

My one concern with efficiency, a highly trained staff that HAS TO WORK 24 hours, is that it's clear you guys are overworked. I'd be happy to volunteer 6 hours to perform a basic function at the con. Don't need a vest.

Frankly, the time requirements seem to be a double edged sword. Yes, you need staffing, but the hours work make you more irritable and makes you enjoy the con less, which means people grow more frustrated and more protective of their decisions. It's a fact of customer service management- the amount of hours put in is not a good idea. A lot of people chafe at the idea of adding more part time workers, but honestly? The alternative leaves a good portion of the staff on the defensive and pissed off, it seems. Would that require more training? Probably, but if it meant that staff got to enjoy more of the convention that they love, at a meaningful but not weekend-eating sacrifice, hell, I don't think you'd be lacking in capable volunteers.

I appreciate the hours that staff has to put in, but the time sink seems to put everyone on edge. Would it require more management? Yes. I don't consider it a logistical impossibility. Concert venues manage to do alright with college students who would rather be drunk, handling crowds a lot bigger than a thrush of anime fans. It's also valid to point out that a small minority of people is in charge of 15,000. An additional 20 or 30 staff should be considerably less challenging, especially since they are ceding to your commands more than the typical guests. Again, I think it would be real hard, but it's drops in the bucket compared to your overall objective.

Personally, I'd do it completely for free. You can keep the vest, the discounted registration, and the free food. Give me a bottle of water, a t shirt to indicate that I'm staff, and the training to get 6 hours of convention moving, and I'm yours. (even better idea: ensure thier badge arrives via mail for the NEXT convention. The promise of eradicating Linecon is priceless, and in volunteers' and in guests' interests)

The thing is, I don't think I'm alone in that view. Retail stores that pay well can't get capable staffing for longer shifts. That doesn't bode well for a volunteer requirement.

Also, amongst those who don't (or didn't frequent the forums), there is still the perception that the Staff is hostile to outsider suggestions and/or involvement. I recall back in the day that getting on to the staff was perceived as this mythological status that no one could figure out. At least that's the view from this end of the badge when I started going 6 years ago. For non-forum goers, I think that perception may still linger.

#8 User is offline   Shiroikaze 

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 11:30 AM

View PostWeighted Companion Cube, on May 21 2008, 03:01 AM, said:

Personally, I'd do it completely for free. You can keep the vest, the discounted registration, and the free food. Give me a bottle of water, a t shirt to indicate that I'm staff, and the training to get 6 hours of convention moving, and I'm yours. (even better idea: ensure thier badge arrives via mail for the NEXT convention. The promise of eradicating Linecon is priceless, and in volunteers' and in guests' interests)


I second this. If I could have most of my weekend but still help out somehow, I'd totally volunteer.
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#9 User is offline   Pat 

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 02:46 PM

This is about efficiency of acen -_- lol. My style would actually reduce the amount of staff needed to man the registration etc.

#10 User is offline   Juri 

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 02:52 PM

View PostPat, on May 19 2008, 10:27 PM, said:

So what do you think?


I think these are very good suggestions. This is, like, a shining model of constructive criticism. Thank you!
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#11 User is offline   Aj-chan 

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 02:57 PM

View PostJuri, on May 21 2008, 03:52 PM, said:

I think these are very good suggestions. This is, like, a shining model of constructive criticism. Thank you!

Hard to find many of those around here. Of course, it takes less time to go through new posts when it's clear which posts you don't have to read. :P

#12 User is offline   Lenne 

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 05:44 PM

View PostWeighted Companion Cube, on May 20 2008, 10:01 PM, said:

Personally, I'd do it completely for free. You can keep the vest, the discounted registration, and the free food. Give me a bottle of water, a t shirt to indicate that I'm staff, and the training to get 6 hours of convention moving, and I'm yours. (even better idea: ensure thier badge arrives via mail for the NEXT convention. The promise of eradicating Linecon is priceless, and in volunteers' and in guests' interests)


View PostShiroikaze, on May 21 2008, 12:30 PM, said:

I second this. If I could have most of my weekend but still help out somehow, I'd totally volunteer.


Why don't you guys try gofering next year? Basically you can work when you want, and you can get crash space at the hotel and your badge refunded if you put in enough hours at the con. You'll still have time to do what you want while at the con, and get a taste of what us staffers do :P

In all seriousness, if you want to help but have reasons to not want to staff (like still wanting plenty of free time), sign up to gofer at the next con. We could always use more good, reliable gofers :D And then if you do decide to join staff you already have an idea of what staffing is like.

(also, the 24 hour minimum for working at the con? A lot of the staff does way more. I myself put in about 55 hours over the weekend, and I don't think anyone in my department did less than 35. It is a hefty requirement but most of us go way over it)
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#13 User is offline   Pat 

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Posted 24 May 2008 - 11:17 AM

Is there any chance of this stuff being implemented?

#14 User is offline   tonyc_76 

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 10:08 PM

View PostPat, on May 24 2008, 05:17 PM, said:

Is there any chance of this stuff being implemented?


Not Registration. So take what I said as an outsider's perspective.

Suggestion A is easiest to implement, but given that Reg is solid on doubling the number of cash registers, they may feel it unnecessary, as that person could be moved to man one of the registers instead, which is probably going to be faster than having the guy man the "bend". After all, between giving change and running credit cards, and the potential problem of somebody paying for X and then claiming that he paid for Y and was mistakenly given the wrong "chit", you'll need records, at which point you end up with a cash register anyway.

Suggestion B and D are tied together. These require buying 4 to 6 scantron readers, training someone in their operation and maintenance, integrating them into the existing system, and then getting rid of them in about 5 years when scantrons become obsolete and is replaced by secure cellphone/PDA based web-apps. I am quite sure that this idea will be rejected. But again, I'm not Reg, so who knows.

Suggestion C is really Marketing. The actual printing part is not a problem. Finding partners is. Unfortunately I am so clueless about the business side of Marketing/Advertising I can't even begin to guess what the chances are for what sort of deal. I like the idea of having a coupon that will get, say, 10% off your breakfast bill from Hyatt's cafe, but I have no idea if Hyatt will be willing to even consider it.

#15 User is offline   xtrastage 

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 11:43 AM

In terms of scantrons, this might be useful.

Apperson Grademaster

A quick google search found it. It's about $500, it's small, we could probably get customized forms, and we could probably link it to the badge printers.

#16 User is offline   Pat 

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 11:23 PM

So like 5 month later, anything gonna happen to change Acen? Just wondering.

#17 User is offline   Riker 

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 03:43 PM

View PostPat, on Nov 19 2008, 11:23 PM, said:

So like 5 month later, anything gonna happen to change Acen? Just wondering.


Pat,

There are many initiatives going on to improve ACen. We've taken this year to essentially try to "do what we already do better" rather than implementing a lot of new programs. Obviously I can't share 100% of what's going on (partly because I don't know it all, partly because it's not my department and I can't speak for everyone), but here are some things I can tell you.

On an organizational level:

* Effort is being taken to encourage and enforce more communication and documentation across the entire organization. Staff are receiving training in these areas. Accountability has been increased and is being enforced more strictly. This has already enabled many departments to be "ahead" compared to our historical performance. For example, Registration is on track to begin mailing badges in January, the earliest time frame that's ever occurred.
* Some events which were historically folded into other departments have been broken off into "event departments," allowing them to have a department head focused all year long on specific events.
* Customer service is being emphasized throughout the organization, especially in departments which have had some weaknesses in this area in the past.

On a registration-process level (note that this is not my department so I don't have the most detailed information, you should ask Bloo09 for more info):

* Because no major changes to the pre-con process were made this year (unlike major changes made in both 2007 and 2008), there have been far fewer hiccups in registration overall, and things that were put in place at the last minute last year now exist months ahead of schedule this year.
* As for at-con registration, I know that they are planning on increasing the "width" of the flow, allowing more people to be processed at once. I also know that they are paying attention to some of the load-balancing issues like how one of the will-call lines was much longer than the other last year. Bloo09 has been working on this stuff non-stop since last con, and she has a lot of good ideas on it, but you'd have to ask her for details.
* Registration staff will be going through training specifically on the registration system. We plan on mocking up the entire reg network and having a "dry run" before con to shake down any problems.

On an IT-department level (this IS my department so it's where I have the most knowledge):

* We are in the middle of a multi-phase plan to rebuild ACen's IT infrastructure. This consists of things like rebuilding servers, hardening our networks against attacks, centralizing system management responsibilities, redesigning our networks to be more secure, and standardizing the software images.

Not all of this applies directly to efficiency, but it does answer your question about stuff being done to improve ACen.
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#18 User is offline   Irish 

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 05:48 AM

24 hours? Thats it? PUH-LEEZ.

I havnt calculated exactly how many hours I work during ACen... all I know is I start sometime on Thursday and dont stop moving until the wee hours of Sunday morning for a quick 2-3 hours of sleep... followed by more moving until somewhere around 6pm... then I go home.

Granted, I'm not the most bright eyed and bushy-tailed person on IRT (even when I've had sleep) nor am I exactly a ray of sunshine... but thats why they keep me locked away in the tunnels :) Seriously though, 24 hours may SEEM like a lot but I assure you that it flies by and you'll more than likely want to pull even more hours. Or you'll have a small psychotic episode.

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