5 Tips to Optimize Your Inspection Software Process
Whether you’re performing inspections to meet external compliance regulations, internal safety standards, or just looking to improve record keeping; you know that establishing an inspection process that works for your organization can be tricky. It’s a delicate balance between keeping requirements lightweight enough to be executable but comprehensive enough to capture the data you need.
Here are our top 5 tips to optimize your inspection process so you can maximize the value of data captured in a fraction of the time:
1. Know your team.
Every team is unique and as the manager it is your job to know the players better than anyone so you can put them in positions to succeed. Knowing what will trip up inspectors in the field is the first step towards eliminating wasted time.
Perhaps adding help text will help clear up confusion around a question or adding a diagram of a properly grounded outlet will make it easier for a new team member to evaluate an installation. If there is a disconnect between the manager and the team it is exponentially harder to identify time saving solutions and increase efficiency. Ultimately, you want your inspectors to be field experts and knowing your team is the first step towards achieving that goal.
2. Keep it simple.
The more complicated an inspection checklist, the longer it’s going to take to complete. Of course, job hazard analysis needs to be thorough and you don’t want to cut corners during a lab safety audit, but identifying ways to simplify inspections will save your inspectors valuable minutes per inspection. At scale, these saved minutes quickly turn into hundreds of working hours saved per year.
For some easy wins, think about auditing the number of required questions an inspection includes. Does every inspection need an answer to a question about special precautions or is that usually supplemental information? For questions that are often not applicable, think about setting N/A to be the default answer.
Inspectors are great at identifying abnormalities in the field, but it is easy to get caught up looking at a screen when you have to interact with every single question in a massive list. Instead, default answers give the inspector the opportunity to save time on their device so they can redirect that effort towards accurately documenting when conditions are out of place.
3. Automate, automate, automate.
This is where you can really get serious about making things easy for the entire team, both in the field and in the office. If teams are missing inspections, or even if the inspections happen on a regular cadence, set up scheduled inspections so assigning the work happens automatically however often you need it executed.
Need to generate a monthly report on remediation steps and action items? Set reports to generate automatically on the last Monday of the month or at whatever frequency suits your process. Set up data tags to automatically mark hazard categories based on the question that was answered.
Add reminder emails to time sensitive projects so team members know when they’re at risk of missing deadlines. At SBN we are always looking for functionality to automate, so you in turn can reduce the time intensive aspects of your inspection and follow-up processes.
4. Organize logically.
As you are building checklists and planning for inspections, be sure to structure them in a way that makes sense. Does your inspection cover multiple aspects of a property? It might seem at first you want to group all your electrical questions in one section and all the fire extinguisher questions in another. But you have to ask yourself whether answering the electrical questions will actually make the inspector walk the entire property. Will they have to go back and recheck rooms for the fire extinguishers?
On second thought, it might make sense to organize an inspection by room so the inspector can check all the wiring AND the fire extinguishers AND the smoke detectors in one room before moving to the next.
This is why you always want the end goal in mind while planning your checklists: in a world where efficiency is at a premium, you don’t want inspectors wasting time going back and forth on a job site when a walk-through of each space is all that’s required.
5. Repeat and Review.
Of course, no one expects you to come up with the perfect process on your first pass and that is why this step is so important. Once you think you have something solid, start using it!
No one tests a system better than users in the field and if you have built the pipeline between manager and team correctly (see step 1), then you’ve given yourself the perfect feedback machine to keep improving on your process.
Luckily, SBN inspection checklists are completely configurable so it’s easy to edit a checklist and add or re-arrange questions without touching historical data. So while your team will get more and more efficient over time, you can also rest easy knowing your inspection history is well preserved.
Contact us anytime to learn more.