3 Ways Mobile Data Collection Creates Competitive Advantages By Optimizing Your Compliance Processes
Whether the requirements are from a government regulatory agency, from a customer, or for our own internal purposes, we all have to collect data. Typically this is done through employees in the field or in a plant using paper or Excel. In some cases, that data may need to be re-entered into another system, where it’s processed and delivered to a supervisor or executive for analysis. Most of the time the data is reviewed, signed off, then ends up in a file until an auditor asks for it. This workflow works, but there are challenges such as:
1. The supervisor or auditor has no way to validate or verify that the transaction happened at a specific time and place, unless they happen to be there watching. “Pencil whipping” is a real thing.
2. If anyone is touching the data after it is first entered (referred to as “post processing”), mistakes can happen. Using calculators, summarizing information into Excel and creating reports are examples of activities that can all result in errors. This means the post processing has to be double checked as well, resulting in even more work.
3. All of the post processing can be a significant drain on your supervisor’s time. Who has time to supervise when they’re busy pushing paper around?
Enter a mobile data collection tool. We are all aware that by using mobile devices to capture data, most organizations can dramatically improve the 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 to effectively leverage a mobile device with a platform such as KipTraq (pronounced “Keep-Track”). Combining mobile devices and platforms can, among other things, improve accuracy and compliance accountability.
The rest of this blog post will highlight a few of the possibilities that now exist to increase the accuracy and accountability of both your production processes and your compliance reporting requirements. These tactics are just a few of the ways mobile data collection creates competitive advantages.
1. Mobile data collection helps identify bottlenecks and efficiency issues
When your employees capture data on mobile devices, the data is captured directly into a database. If your mobile data collection platform includes a flexible reporting tool, this feedback can quickly result in improvements and cost savings because the data can be displayed and reported on – in real time. Reviewing multiple pages of transactions for trends is difficult and time consuming. Bottlenecks become much more apparent when viewed as a graph or chart.
1. Downtime can be avoided – missed or skipped data can result in production downtime, recalls, and other costly capital expenses.
2. Process improvements can be made that increase output, reduce raw material usage, and increase safety.
In most cases, managers who are drowning in paper can’t effectively manage their teams, especially without access to real-time data. Mobile data collection ensures delivery and measurement of valuable information to stakeholders in real-time, so they can make better decisions faster. This is one of the quickest ways mobile data collection creates competitive advantages.
2. Mobile data collection increases 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. With passive presence verification – a technology component like GPS or RFID that timestamps and proves your employee was correctly performing a task – you can ensure remote employees are doing their job without micro-managing. Simply put, employees can no longer “game” or “pencil whip” a report if they are not on location collecting the data at the appropriate time.
3. Mobile data collection increases accuracy through process controls
Mobile data collection provides clean and accurate data because the systems can be configured to capture 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 step is completed in a certain way, otherwise additional checks must be completed (e.g.: if something fails, add required followup questions)
– Using barcode, picture capture, or other tools to simplify data capture and reduce ambiguity
– Driving different requirements depending on the product, line or resource involved in the process. For example, make minimum and maximum values product specific
By customizing your data collection tools to adhere to your business rules, data entry takes less time and errors are reduced. All of this can save your employees hours of effort every day and dramatically lower your overall costs. Many organizations that use a mobile data collection system like KipTraq report a 20% or greater increase in the efficiency of their QA staff, as well as an increase in employee job satisfaction.
Replacing paper forms and surveys with mobile data collection tools benefits a compliance process at all levels of an organization by:
1. Identifying bottlenecks and efficiency issues
2. Increasing accountability and accuracy
3. 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.
Instead of seeing regulatory requirements as a burden, see them as a competitive advantage. Businesses that implement mobile solutions that help them reduce cost and increase efficiencies will perform better than their competitors, save money, and ultimately provide better products or services at lower costs.
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