By katie simpson on February 18, 2014
Tags: Data Collection
Whether you work in fire safety inspections or restaurant health and safety, you do inspections in locations beyond your office. Your inspections are vital, but the paperwork costs you time and money. More than paper cuts, it drags on your business and ability to collect good data.
By switching to a mobile app, you can collect data faster, more accurately, and even expand the data you collect.
How long does it take your workers to fill out their forms? Not only does the inspection take time, but so does filling out everything by hand. If you include notes, calculations, it can take even longer. These factors can reduce the number of inspections you do in any given day.
By switching to a mobile app, you can make your inspections faster. Pre-populate fields with reference data, emphasize check boxes, and even add in app calculations. All of these will help your field workers fill out their inspections more quickly, saving you time and money.
Where companies find the larger time savings is in storing the data. By switching to a mobile app, their inspections go immediately to the cloud. There, companies can easily integrate their data into their own backend systems with csv or xml files, or API webservices.
In plain English? This gives you instant access to your data. Once the submission is finished, it is immediately available for access and use. While paper forms could take hours or days to come back to the office, mobile apps allow you to access your inspections seconds later.
Mobile apps also remove the time (and money) spent on redundant data entry. Before, it would take additional time to re-enter the information into your system. With mobile apps, you can simply download an xml or csv file to integrate with your system. If you only saved two hours a week, you could save over 100 hours a year! That’s a lot of time to invest in projects to help your business grow.
Working in inspections, missing or incorrect information can cause both a headache and major issues for an organization. It could force your inspectors to go back and redo their inspection, or overlook issues that could affect people’s health and safety.
Yet paper inspections are a cause of the problem. Nothing forces your inspectors to fill out required fields with paper. Illegible handwriting can cause confusion when entering a form into your system. Worse, you could have a perfectly filled out form, only to lose it by happenstance. It gets lost in a car, or damaged by coffee.
Mobile apps give companies more accurate inspections. Required fields ensure that your workers can’t submit their app without filling out those fields. Typed text removes the ambiguity of handwriting. And each submission is safe in the cloud. With the rise of Otterbox and protective smartphone and tablet cases, you can handle the occasional human mishap without losing your data. That means less time spent on dealing with issues, and more focusing on your work.
In terms of type of data you can collect, paper is far more limited than smartphones or tablets. You can do calculations, text, address, even add photographs later. But this will be prone to inaccuracy. Trying to add photographs is cumbersome and difficult. Having to print and attach photos to each form.
With a mobile app, you can collect all of this and more. Calculations can be done by the app. With a click of a button you can capture GPS location, or add photographs. Ensure you are looking at the proper piece of equipment with barcode scans as well. These functionalities can give your inspections additional data for fuller documentation.
Seven years ago, the first iPhone had just entered the market. Today, smarpthones are filling the market, changing the way we both play and work. Smartphones and tablets can do more than entertain you: they can help automate tedious parts of your inspections to help you do your work.
It’s time to let go of paper, and the time it wastes. See how mobile inspections transformed Sonoma Valley Pool and Spa.