From 3000 B.C. to present, we have been collecting data in the field on paper. And since the inception of industrialization, a typical paper collection process requires a team in the field or in a plant to collect information on paper, then manually enter it into a central system, where it’s processed and delivered to a supervisor or an executive for analysis. The challenges of a typical paper process are:
- The data collector can’t prove they were actually at the correct location.
- The supervisor or auditor has no way to validate or verify that the transaction happened at a specific time and was performed by a certain person at an exact location.
- When the data is transcribed “post-process” – moving the data from paper into Excel, doing the math on a calculator or other manual processes increase costs and decrease accuracy.
So fast forward to 2018, where we are all aware that by digitizing your paper forms and reports through mobile data collection, most organizations can dramatically improve the general efficiency of these processes. Data is collected faster and distributed quicker – in some cases with limited manual intervention.
But not everyone is aware of how the next wave of flexible mobile data collection devices are incorporating the power of the mobile device and the flexibility of applications like KipTraq (pronounced “Keep-Track”) and other tools to improve accuracy and compliance accountability.
The rest of this blog post will highlight a few of the possibilities that now exist to increase both accuracy and accountability of both your production processes and your compliance requirements.
Identifying bottlenecks and efficiency issues
Mobile data collection platforms provide an opportunity to identify measures to either mitigate bottlenecks or find efficiency gains issues through both the short- and long-term trending of data in two ways:
- When data is captured accurately and made easily visible, supervisors can identify where improvements can be made.
- Downtime can be avoided – missed or skipped data can result in production downtime, recalls, and other costly capital expenses.
In both cases, managers who are drowning in paper can’t effectively manage their teams, especially without access to real-time data. Mobile data collection ensures for delivery and measurement of valuable information to stakeholders in real-time, so they can make better decisions, faster.
Increasing accountability and accuracy
Compliance is all about accountability, so if you can’t trust your records, you can’t hold people responsible for their actions. Now with passive presence verification – a technology component, like GPS or RFID, that timestamps and proves your employee was correctly performing a task – you can supervise remote employees without micro-managing. Simply put, employees can no longer “game” or “pencil whip” a report if they are not on location collecting the data.
Increasing accuracy through process controls
Mobile data collection provides more clean and accurate data because the new wave of systems can be configured to your organization’s processes without the added cost and time of custom software development. Custom configuration includes:
- Requiring a step-by-step process for form completion
- Requiring that a field is completed in a certain way, otherwise additional checks must be completed
- Configuring these apps to push data to your mobile BI tools allows reports to be delivered directly into an ERP, eliminating the chances of errors resulting from post- processing transcription.
- Eliminating post-processing (someone having to reenter or do anything with the data after it’s first entered into the system) removes the ability to falsify records.
By customizing your data collection tools, you gain visibility to the person who collected the data, when they collected it, and their location at the time of collection. All of this can save your employees hours of effort every day and dramatically lower your overall costs. Many organizations that use mobile data collection, report a 20% increase in their Q/A staff efficiency.
Replacing paper forms and surveys with mobile data collection tools benefits a compliance process at all levels of an organization by:
- Identifying bottlenecks and efficiency issues
- Increasing accountability and accuracy
- Enhancing accuracy through process controls
An intuitive mobile data collection system provides you with a frictionless solution for increased visibility, enhanced accountability, better accuracy, and real-time data analysis for better decision making – and that’s good for everyone.
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