Data collection methods for field inspections have significantly changed after the fast irruption of mobile technology in everyday life. The smartphone has adapted to the business requirements for higher effectiveness and productivity levels, apart from representing important in cost reductions and time savings, providing a valuable option versus the traditional inspection forms.
If your company considers the contribution that smartphones and other mobile devices valuable, in terms of streamlining the field inspection processes you use -such as inspection forms– this article can provide you some guidance in your efforts to strengthen the technological advance over data collection systems still stuck in the 20th century.
An interesting article published by GCN can serve as an example of the far-reaching need for more effective solutions in the area of inspections. The news shows how the US Food and Drug Administration used technology to help manage the vast amount of data coming from inspections.
“We automated all of our field inspection audit processes so we don’t do any paper inspection forms anymore,” Todd Simpson, CIO of the FDA said. “We leveraged a “choose your own device” program where everything is done electronically through tablets now.” With the amount of data being collected through field inspections, one of Simpson’s current areas of interest is using AI to make sense of all of the data.
In the urban environment, the use of mobile inspection forms to solve different problems is also a reality. Forbes states that although cities have been using data in various forms for decades, the modern practice of civic analytics has only begun to take off in the past few years, thanks to a host of technological changes, such as the widespread use of smartphone apps and mobile devices that enable citizens and city workers alike to monitor problems and feed information about them back to city hall.
“Using the public as data collectors isn’t new—it’s the idea behind 911 and 311 systems. But smartphone apps, in the hands of residents and city workers, give cities new and more powerful ways to expand their data-collection efforts”, the article indicates. In Mobile, Alabama, building-code inspectors armed with smartphones and Facebook Inc.’s Instagram photo-sharing app were able to inventory the city’s 1,200 blighted properties in just eight days—a task that enforcement officers had previously considered impossible with the older paper-based systems of tracking blight such as paper inspection forms. With Instagram, inspectors could snap a photo of a property and have it appear on a map, showing officials where dilapidated, abandoned or other problem properties are clustered.
Mobile data collection is also helping Los Angeles to clean up city streets. Teams from the city sanitation department use video and smartphones to document illegal dumping, abandoned bulky items and other trash problems. The teams can use an app to report problems needing immediate attention, but what was really noteworthy—especially for a city the size of L.A.—was that they were able to view and grade all 22,000 miles of the city’s streets and alleyways.
The program, which recently finished its first full year, has resulted in an 80% reduction in the number of areas scored “not clean.” The new data-driven approach not only has made it possible to better identify problem areas, but it also has helped to reduce disparities in the city’s cleanup efforts, which previously depended mainly on complaints to identify locations needing attention.
If you or your company, for whatever reason, want to go ahead and replace your current inspection forms but don’t have enough time to evaluate options, DataScope can be the place to start and finish your search. This Chilean entrepreneurship offers a much more sustainable, efficient and cost-effective alternative to printed documents, which allows a 19% productivity increase and which already has one thousand clients in 23 countries. This way, the service doesn’t just convert inspection forms, but also work orders, reports and certifications to a mobile format suitable for any smartphone or tablet, thus transforming the paper into an unnecessary resource.
DataScope is a platform which allows various industries to streamline, organize and evaluate the work of their field staffs thanks to online forms which provide real time indicators 100% adaptable to any field.