Inspections can be many and varied. That might be checking working conditions in factories in China, ensuring building fire codes are being followed in France, or verifying the condition of road signage in the US. Inspections are important in the maintenance of infrastructure, protecting employees from dangerous working conditions, and safeguarding the environment. And yet inspections can be a time consuming and painful process.
In this blog post we will explore new ways to conduct inspections. New mobile inspection apps which are simple to use and super flexible are being released which are transforming the inspection process.
Time Consuming Manual Inspections
Ron inspects signs for one of the larger departments of transportation (DOT’s) in the US. Much of his time is spent travelling in remote areas inspecting the many road signs in the state. Wireless connectivity is lacking in many of the areas visited by Ron. His day starts with his daily list of work orders, or assigned list of signs which are due for inspection. His first task is to locate and drive to his first inspection. Next he conducts the inspection. He uses a combination of paper form and digital camera to record his inspection. At the days end Ron returns to his office and manually enters each of the days inspection into an electronic form on his computer and uploads this information with any attached images to the central computer system
Ron would like to find a more efficient way to conduct his inspections, without the need for paper and manual data input. Ron’s boss would like to more quickly see the results of his teams signs inspections, and to action maintenance where needed.
Mobile technology may well be the answer to this DOT’s inspection challenge. A new wave of mobile inspection apps are being released which provide new ways to work both online and offline. Inspection software which automates the inspection process.
Let’s paint a different picture of Ron’s day. Imagine he started his day by pulling out his smartphone or tablet, opening his mobile inspection app and downloading his work orders for the day. A map panel shows the location of each of the signs in need of inspection, and provides routing so he can find the shortest route from/to each sign. Next he sets the app to offline mode, that copies all the information required for that days work to the device. That will allow Ron to work without the need for wireless connectivity. Ron then drives out to his first inspection. Using the same mobile app, Ron completes his inspection. And fills out an electronic form built into the inspection app. He also uses the mobiles camera and links images of the sign to the form. The save option in the app copies all this information to the mobile device.
At the end of his working day, Ron returns to his home, or office. He ensures that he has wirelsss connectivity, then in the mobile app hits the upload button. His days inspctions are uploaded to the central computer system. Ron’s working day is over.
That evening, Ron’s boss opens his inspection management web app, and clicks the map tab. He sees all the inspections conducted that day. Green map icons indicate inspections which passed, while red map icons show those which failed. From here he can quickly generate work orders for maintenance staff tasked to resolve issues found from inspections.
Custom Mobile Inspection Apps
The imagined day described above is today a reality. There are now apps which provide this exact workflow. With GeoAppSmart for Inspections we have built our own solution which provides these capabilities.
Two key areas were an important part of how this inspection software was designed
- Flexibility – The app has been designed for any mobile inspection which follows this general flow. The inspection itself is form based. We have made it easy to customize the form based on the type of inspection needed.
Simple report generation – A paper report, or PDF, is still a requirement for many inspections. We have built in a report generator which outputs a completed inspection with images for emailing or printing.
Improving the inspection process
Mobile technology is transforming our world. Consumer have been quick to jump on the app revolution. Organizations have been slower to adopt new technology. But that is changing. Inspections are a reality of our modern world. Mobile inspection apps are helping to improve the inspection workflow ensuring faster, more accurate collection and sharing of inspections data.
Contact us on 801.410.2532 for more information.