By Katie Simpson on June 18, 2014
Maintaining various compliances on your farm isn’t easy. You have to ensure food is safe to eat, measure your use of water, even your handling of money. All of this work takes time away from your livestock or crops and puts you in front of your computer for hours on end.
But what if you could have faster and more accurate farm audits? By switching to a mobile app, you can save hundreds of hours this year. Here’s how:
Working in the field can create a lag in information. Filling out audits on paper meant that your employee would have to return to the office in order to enter that information into your systems. Not only does this paper based audit take hours or days to return to your office, it also requires additional work that no one likes-- data entry.
With a mobile app, audits return to your office in real time. Once an employee finishes an audit, the form is immediately transferred to the cloud. There, you can see it as a PDF, or enter it into your own databases in a variety of file types. What once took you hours is now available in real time.
Instead of lugging paper forms back to the office, your employees can stay out in the field, doing critical work. Instead of hours of data entry, you can use that free time for other critical tasks. That’s thousands of dollars in labor hours you can reclaim for critical work strengthening your business.
Taking down notes on pen and paper is time consuming. When auditing on paper, you have to carry a clipboard and all the right pages. If you need to take photos, suddenly you need a bag to carry all these items. No matter what, paper audits are cumbersome, and slow, especially for longer forms. How long do these audits take you? 30 minutes? An hour? That’s time you can’t get back.
With a mobile app, audits become easier. Instead of bulky items, your employee only needs a smartphone. With drop down lists, checkboxes, and one click photographs, audits are often faster on a mobile app than with paper. We’ve seen forms that once took two hours now only take 15 minutes.
Worried that typing will take your employees longer than writing? Many smartphones and tablets have a talk to text ability. So your employees talk into their phone, and their answers get transcribed straight into the app. With this functionality, your workers don’t have to struggle with touch screen keyboards or spelling.
When reporting to the USDA, or a partner, you want to have accurate and comprehensive information. But paper audits leave room for dangerous errors. It’s easy for employees to skip over fields. Ambiguity can easily arise with illegible handwriting.
Plus, it’s easy to make errors without realizing it. Perhaps they miss matched pages of a form. Maybe they got the date wrong. Human error happens. But those human moments also could leave your farm open to some uncomfortable questions.
With a mobile app, your audits return with far more accuracy. Automatic date and time stamps ensure you know when each and every audit occurred. You can make fields required in a mobile app. Even if your employee skips the field, they won’t be able to submit the audit until they fill these fields. Also, every form comes back not with handwriting, but clear text. So you don’t have to struggle with ambiguous text.
A mobile app ensures a greater level of accuracy than paper ever provided. You get clear text, full forms, and reduced ambiguity. All of these options provide you stronger information and ensure you keep up your due diligence.
How often has this happened: you go to enter an audit into the system only to find you’re missing a page. Or, you go back looking through your forms, only to find that the one date you need has magically gone missing. In either case, you could spend hours looking for the missing information, and not find it.
This situation isn’t unusual for businesses: PWC found that up to 11% of business documents are misfiled or lost. Not only does this force you or your employees to try and chase down documents, it means that a certain percentage of your work disappears. All the time your employees spent writing it down, getting the form back to the office, and entering the information in your database is gone. You don’t want to lose that information or all that hard work!
With a mobile app, all audits go straight to the cloud. They’re safe from being caught in a sudden wind, or the dangers of a dirty truck, especially if you have a strong protective case for your smartphone or tablet. They won’t accidentally slip into the trash can.
And finding your information? That’s a piece of cake too. You can name your audits by entries inside the form. For instance, you could name it by date, location, or even the employee’s name. You choose the filing system, and each form will automatically be named how you want it. So you can type in a quick search along the terms you use. Instead of 15, 20 minutes, you’ll find the right audit in seconds.
Farms love mobile audits not because they get to use smartphones and tablets, but because they provide real measurable difference in work. They get information back to the office in real time, employees finish them faster, they get more accurate information, and no longer lose forms. Whether you use iOS, Android or Windows, you can use a mobile app and start saving—today.
Get inspired about automating and digitizing your forms and business processes by viewing our collection of customizable agriculture, forestry and fishing mobile form templates.
Learn more in our free ebook: