Why Go Digital with Inspection Checklists?

By Brian Sugarman on August 20, 2021
Tags: Business Operations, Data Collection

man and woman on tablet in warehouse

Inspection checklists are an essential task for many industries and workplaces. This could be a safety inspection to spot potential hazards, equipment inspections and preventative maintenance, property or residential inspections, and much more. For all types of inspections, the checklist is a useful tool because it provides a clear list for inspectors to follow and helps to ensure a thorough inspection takes place each time. 

 

Why Go Digital with Inspection Checklists?

With the rise of mobile apps and forms, completing inspections can be performed on a tablet or mobile device, quickly and easily on a job site. This article covers how digital inspection checklists help to simplify the process for inspectors and for management.

 

Digital checklists simplify the process for inspectors

A traditional paper checklist can take a long time for inspectors to complete and bring back the forms to the office before manually creating a report. Take for example Lumen, a US based IT services company that used paper forms for preventative maintenance inspections before switching to digital forms instead. Before going digital with inspections, their technicians on site had to complete paper inspection forms, return the forms to a central office, scan the form, and then attach the scanned reports to particular database entries. 

Seeing how much time was being spent on administrative work, Lumen made the switch to digital forms and realized a 35 to 40 percent reduction in admin work, with savings of up to $1 million in their first year of going digital.

Digital checklists and forms allow inspectors to spend less time on admin work and streamline the process for collecting data in the field. Digital forms also allow for more standardization, meaning that required fields and drop down lists ensure that accurate data is submitted the first time. While paper forms can be filled out illegible or incomplete, digital forms provide a greater level of control of the format of data that is submitted from the field.

Other benefits include the ability for managers to schedule out and assign inspection checklists to be completed on a regular cadence. This notifies employees when an inspection is due and allows them to work collaboratively using cloud-based tools to help with productivity. Instead of spending hours on manual work to create inspection reports, the process is done automatically from the inspection app and sent via email to the appropriate groups of people and saved to the cloud.

Rod Badley, Critical Infrastructure Manager at Lumen explained this in simple terms – “The more time we can spend doing actual work instead of doing administrative work means more money and more savings for us.”

 

Digital checklists simplify the process for management

The entire organization benefits when efficiencies are gained by reducing manual work. Beyond the cost savings from efficiencies, management teams and business owners also benefit in a number of ways by having their checklists managed digitally instead of on paper.

One benefit is the ability to manage all records digitally, in a cloud-based platform that is secure and accessible. For many businesses performing critical inspections, like a job site safety inspection or equipment inspection, it can be incredibly valuable to have a central place to manage all of these documents. In case of an accident or incident, you can understand if proper protocols were followed on site. In the case of an OSHA inspection or audit, having the proper documentation can mean compliance with OSHA regulations and avoidance of fines. Paper forms leave too much up to chance, running the risk of becoming destroyed or lost over time. Moving this important documentation from inspection checklists will help to lower your risk and liability, with infrastructure to help you better manage your records.

Another benefit for organizations is the ability to track compliance. Many businesses have complex operations, with teams in different locations performing inspection checklists. This organization structure can make it difficult to roll up information quickly to verify that inspections are taking place in different locations. With digital checklists and a mobile data platform, you can perform analysis and run reports to track compliance. This type of technology can enable your organization to use analytics to gain greater transparency into operations and ensure that the appropriate action can be taken if non-compliance is found. Switching from paper checklists can empower your organization with greater insights

Take for example US Inspect, a leader in residential inspections that switched their paper processes over to digital forms with GoCanvas and realized an annual cost savings of $720,000. 

“It sounds crazy but GoCanvas has given our company tremendous long-term competitive advantages. US Inspect is not your father’s inspection company – we have morphed into a wickedly excellent data collection enterprise which just happens to produce inspection reports,” explained JB Haller, President & CEO of US Inspect.

To learn more about how inspection checklists can benefit your field teams and your business, contact the GoCanvas team any time to set up a quick introductory conversation.