These days we not only carry a mobile phone in our pockets but a mobile mini computer. We have many clients that come to us that are sick of using paper based inspection reports in the field; then bringing the paper back to the office and re entering all that inspection detail into a database at their office; thereby effectively doubling the work of recording the results and stretching the reporting and corrective actions timeline. Smart Mobile phones have the ability to replace this paper extensive process. Not with just another paperless inspection ‘app’ that has pretty screens and not much functionality, But have the ability to have software loaded onto them that can ensure the paperless inspection process is not stopped or effected in anyway if the operator looses a connection to the web.
The paperless inspection software has the ability to ‘store and forward’ the inspection results. So if you’re the inspector or field technician is in an area without internet coverage- such as a basement or out in the back blocks they can be sure that the data collection and inspection activities will not be compromised or disturbed. Once the smart phone re establishes an internet connection via 3G , LTE, or Wi-Fi, the data can be sent back immediately to the database in the office (or in the cloud). Once the results are returned they can be available to review by any stakeholder, such as supervisors, accounts personnel, clients and sub- contractors over a web portal; so no more mailing, emailing or calling required. Simply access the data over the web and look at the report or any other action required from the data collection in real time.
There are a number of paperless inspection software options on the market; the biggest factor when choosing the right paperless inspection solution is:
Does it have a ‘back-end’ database?
A number of programs are simply ‘form fillers’ and a ‘tick and a flick’ whereby a static form is completed and sent to a client. The addition of having a database behind the paperless field software is that it gives you the ability to archive all inspections done, interrogate the database by building specific queries relating to things you want to know (e.g.: Show me the last six months inspections done at Site A), set up automatic email reminders of inspections coming up or automatic emails of corrective actions etc.
It is tempting to look at the cost only without considering the broader benefits of a fully operational paperless software package. From market research results we find that the majority of ‘full service’ software users will get cost recovery usually within 6-9 months. So if you thought that you don’t have the sophisticated computing power to use field mobility software , have a look at the device in your pocket. It’s much more than a phone !!