Pitfalls of the Paper Inspection Process
In almost every industry and business today you will find some sort of inspection process. From home construction to retail merchandising, being able to quickly capture, complete and share inspection reports is critical to running a successful business.
A typical paper-based inspection process can be broken down into three parts.
The first part is observation and collection. This is the process of going through all the items on the form and reviewing each section in order to properly fill out the inspection. This may include filling out checkboxes, taking photos with a digital camera, tracking down people for signatures, and much more. This portion can be extremely time-consuming since not only do you have to fill out each part of the inspection by hand (usually more than 2 pages), but also having to use external pieces of equipment including cameras to capture critical pieces of information.
The second part is the transportation of the data. With paper inspections, since they are usually composed of two or more pages of manually entered notes and photos, it is almost a requirement that they are manually driven back to the office for collection. This means that inspections can take hours, if not days, to reach their final destination within the office. This delay can cause backups in your daily reporting and leave huge blind spots in terms of your company's data visibility.
The third and final part of the process is the analysis of the inspection reports. As we mentioned previously, having to manually transport inspections back to the office can take a substantial amount of time. Once these reports are finally returned, the data must be then manually transcribed into the company's backend database. This process of manually retyping each form into a spreadsheet or backend database can take up to 15 minutes per form! This can be a real strain on both your employees as well as your ability to make real-time data based decisions.
4 Ways GoCanvas Can Streamline Your Inspections
We all assume that filling out forms on a mobile device is faster than using paper, but how exactly?
Read below for the exact ways that GoCanvas mobile inspections will not only make your daily data collection more efficient but will also increase your business' overall data quality.
# 1 Folders
Since inspections are so common among businesses, they are often utilized in many different ways within organizations. Vehicle, equipment, and safety are all generic examples of how a single business could use an inspection form. So in order to help organize both your employees and their data, we created Folders.
Folders is a unique feature in that it affects both the mobile and web side of the GoCanvas platform. For example, say you create three folders on the website called "Home Inspections", "Site Inspections", and "Safety Inspections". Whichever mobile forms you place in these folders will now be reflected on your user's mobile devices. Now there will be no confusion over which form they fill out when they are completing their inspection activities. But the best part is, that the data from these forms are now organized within these folders. So all the data from the "Home Inspection" forms can now be found in the Submissions section of the website within the "Home Inspection" folder.
#2 GPS Verification
Have you ever worried about if your employees actually completed the inspection at the actual job site that they said they did? Worried about investing thousands of dollars into fleet or device management solutions that only solve one of your many needs?
With the GPS feature of GoCanvas, you can require that every inspection that is filled out by one of your employees is stamped with exact coordinates of where they were located while filling out the report. These coordinates cannot be modified by the employee, and can even be accompanied by a time stamp on the same page. This information can help you confirm the accuracy of the reports being turned in, as well increasing internal accountability without investing in expensive 3rd party software systems.
#3 Table of Contents
TOC is a feature that gives anyone filling out an inspection form the ability to quickly navigate to the section of the report that they need without having to thumb through numerous pages. This feature is great because as anyone who has ever had to fill out an inspection knows, no form is filled out in the exact same order every single time. TOC also gives your employees the flexibility of knowing what sections they have already filled out and which sections they have yet to complete. The easy to use navigation will display red or green notification alerts to let the employee know if all inspection requirements have been met or not.
With TOC, never carry around a bulky, multi-page inspection packet ever again.
#4 Grid Tables
With GoCanvas, you can setup similar data tables that you would see with a paper form but without the mess of trying to fill them out with a pen and clipboard.
The Grid functionality of GoCanvas allows you to setup static or dynamic tables of information for your users. This could be a table of inspection items to mark off as "Pass" or "Fails", or it could as simple as a standard punch list of items to complete. The real beauty of the Grid feature is that within each item of your inspection, you can easily take or upload photos to attach to each item. So if an item in the table was marked as "Fail", you could add a column for photos and simply capture an image with your device camera to attach to the report.
This integrated process of being able to capture photos and have them automatically embed into the final report will ultimately eliminate 3/4's of the time that was previously spent by the back office compiling paper reports.