Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Paper Data Collection vs. PDA Data Collection

A friend of mine works at a company that supplies temporary and contract labor. They recently supplied an electrical utility with a dozen workers to act as data collectors. They were given the task of counting the number of lines coming off of each electrical transformer. They were suppose to walk to the transformer, count the lines connected to it, and identify where each of the lines terminated.

Despite my valiant sales effort to convince them to use our PDA based data collection solutions, they decided to accomplish this task using paper forms on clipboards (my arch rival). The other day I met up with my friend and he shared that the project had been a disaster. Why? Large amounts of the required data collection fields were left blank, or were unreadable. Random testing of the data uncovered a great deal of inaccuracies. To add to these issues, the mistakes and problems were not discovered until the project was completed and the workers dismissed. Bad data in - bad data out.

How could MobileDataforce had made this project a success? Our data collection solutions for handheld PDAs can do the following:
  1. Validate the data at the point of work
  2. Ensure required fields are completed
  3. Synchronize the data to a database for real time review and quality assurance
  4. Tie the data collection process to individuals for quality assurance (pay only for quality)
  5. GPS coordinates can be automatically captured and tied to the data collection

To send a group of temporary and unproven data collection people into the field with paper forms is expensive, time consuming and often a total failure. By automating the data collection process, and engaging in real-time quality assurance, you can ensure you are getting accurate data and the results you require.