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6 Ways Mobile Data Collection Improves Accountability and Lowers Your Compliance Risk

Many companies are required to capture and report on hourly/daily inspections or other processes in the field and in the plant. Traditionally, these processes have been logged on paper, and supervisors are required to sign off on the transactions. In theory, this proves that the tasks were done on time and correctly. This approach is difficult to enforce and exceptions occur regularly. Some of those exceptions can result in quality defects, downtime, or even costly equipment failures. With the advent of mobile data collection tools, these critical processes can now be managed in a much better way. As an added benefit mobile data collection improves accountability and now also lowers your process compliance risk.

Prove “who” and “when” – One of the most basic accountability elements that isn’t enforceable in a paper or Excel solution is the ability to prove who did a task, and when it was done. Paper and Excel solutions can be manipulated after the fact, but a mobile solution requires a login (the “who”), and can store the time something was done (the “when”). These data points aren’t editable, so you can have full confidence in what you see in reports.

Prove “where” – A mobile data collection platform can be configured to allow a user to log a transaction only if they’re physically at the correct location. For users in the field, this can be done with GPS. Indoors, it is accomplished with RFID tags or barcodes that are attached to equipment. Employees must bump or scan a tag before the system will allow them to log a transaction. These enforcements occur in the background, so with no additional work for the employee, you can prove your employee was in the right spot to do their job.

Take a picture – Capturing pictures is another quick and easy way to increase accountability. Modern mobile software applications integrate pictures into the transaction, so no one has to try to match up the pictures on their cell phone or camera after the fact.

Scan a barcode – Barcoding is another way to improve accountability. Scanning a barcode on a product or batch allows your team members to capture information quickly and accurately. Barcoding eliminates costly transcription errors and can even drive custom behaviors. Users can configure mobile solutions so that if they scan a specific barcode, they are prompted with product-specific questions, min/max values, or other data points as needed.

Authorize electronically – Electronic authorization is another easy way to ensure your supervisors are reviewing the right data at the right time. Rather than slogging through stacks of paper, supervisors can now review all transactions online. They are also automatically alerted to any issues through the use of exception-only reporting, which ensures they are seeing anything out of the ordinary. This eliminates their risk in signing off on bad data, while dramatically reducing their management time. Once they are confident that the data is correct, they can sign off on hundreds of transactions with a single click. The click adds the supervisor’s name and a timestamp to the transaction, which meets regulatory compliance requirements.

Identify Opportunities – Exception reports are only the beginning. Organizations can customize their reporting solution with easy to understand graphs and charts. This allows you to track KPIs and constantly monitor the overall health and performance of your operations. This easy access allows you to view trends which will help to identify bottlenecks or other issues as they, or in some cases before, they occur. Real-time reports can be customized and emailed automatically to supervisors, managers, or any other stakeholders for better collaboration and decision-making.

Summary

Ultimately, mobile data collection removes the complexities and inaccuracies of paper and at the same time mobile data collection improves accountability. It does this while also reducing employee effort and increasing employee job satisfaction.  With the right solution, a time savings of 20% for front line employees and 50% for managers is possible.   

With an intuitive mobile data collection platform, businesses gain greater control over data collection processes, the information being collected and by whom, which leads to increased visibility and accountability with fewer errors and real-time data analysis. This all leads to better business results and less risk for compliance.