Tips to improve your on-site inspections

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Store inspections are preventive tools that help an organization to detect and control unusual and risky situations and  improve production processes and safety conditions.
Safety audits and inspections are much more than compliance. These procedures help your company to retain low maintenance costs and keep people safe while improving operational efficiency. Field inspections are essential to maintain control over production, distribution and commercialization processes and to identify any anomaly within an organization. Therefore it is extremely important to perform them in an efficient and orderly manner.
On-site inspections, carried out systematically, are preventive measures that provide essential information which can help to define or rethink your organizational priorities and action planning. Store inspections are preventive tools that help an organization to detect and control unusual situations or risky conditions that can occur within it.
The results of safety audits and inspections can be used to improve production processes and  safety conditions, help with equipment scheduling, set budgets, and much more.
What is the purpose of store inspections?
The objective of store inspections is to control and analyze the production, distribution and commercialization processes of a company and identify any anomaly that may result in risky situations for workers, customers and for the organization in general.
Other objectives of field inspections are:

  • Evaluate business administration and management.
  • Identify unforeseen issues in the workplace.
  • Diagnose deficiencies within the work team.
  • Evaluate behaviour towards suppliers and customers.
  • Analyze accounting and internal control systems.
  • Detect any problem that may arise in an organization.
  • Identify the undesired effects of changes introduced in the production process or in the administrative management.
  • Propose solutions to problems or deficiencies found.

Store inspections must be carried out by trained personnel who must have the necessary tools to carry out this task efficiently.
Types of store inspections
There are different ways to classify on-site inspections. Here, we show you one of the most recurrent classifications which is based on the planning of visits.
1.- Informal field inspections
This type of inspections do not need a chronogram and can be carried out by any person, at any time. They are not systematic inspections and will just help you to identify very obvious situations or problems that are reported as soon as they get detected.
2.- Planned field inspections
These inspections have been previously arranged, following a schedule and must be carried out by specialized personnel. In general, for this type of inspections the organization establishes a timetable with an execution program.
3.- Special field inspections
These type of inspections are linked to tasks that involve higher levels of risk. In general, they are deployed to review changes in production equipment or processes or to analyze incidents that have already occurred.
How to perform efficacious store inspections?

A first step to carry out a effective field inspection is to create a checklist. With this tool the worker or inspector can perform a systematic verification of activities or products to avoid forgetting any relevant item. It is also helpful to record all the points that have been inspected. Checklists should include all the aspects that can provide relevant data to the organization.
The checklists can be done in a traditional way, using pen and paper, or digitally, using a mobile application.
Why you should use a checklist using a mobile application?
Using a checklist app on a smartphone or tablet has certain advantages over the more traditional methods.
Some of those benefits are:

  • Do not need Internet access.
  • Mobile apps have mechanisms of geolocation(GPS)  that recognize the point of checking.
  • Allow to control the store inspections execution times.
  • Do not require the use of paper.
  • Avoid data loss that is more likely to occur when working on paper.
  • The reports and data are sent and uploaded to a database immediately.
  • Can deliver field inspection information in real time.
  • Detect anomalies more effectively.

Problems using paper on store inspections
Field inspections on paper might involve a duplication of work, since, generally, they require a person to fill out the inspection forms and another to upload the data into the corresponding systems.
Store inspections on paper are inefficient and inconsistent. On the other hand, those made with mobile applications allow standardizing the criteria. The manual collection of data is slow, which increases the administrative burden and carries the risk of documentation loss.
Many organizations have chosen mobile apps to perform their audit processes and field inspections. By doing this, your company can save time and money and you can get more accurate information which will allow you to take the right decisions at the right time.

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About the author

Sandra Melo
Sandra Melo

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