Monday, November 20, 2006

Field Inspections on Handheld PDAs

In the past I have written about the advantages of conducting inspections using handheld computers and a mobile software platform. In most of my articles I have focused on the efficiencies from collecting data once, and then synchronizing the inspection data directly to a central database. In this article, I would like to highlight the advantages of synchronizing historical inspection data on the handheld computer.

I was recently working with a state agency responsible for inspecting professional licenses and premises. In order to perform their tasks, they were required to drive into the main office, rummage through paper files, remove these paper files and load them into a box to take with them to the inspection sites. They would use a carriage with wheels to transport this box to their automobiles.

Let's pause a moment to think of the costs and inefficiencies of these task. They do the following:
  1. Drive to the main office where previous inspections are stored
  2. Sort through file cabinets for previous inspection results
  3. Read through these files to determine any previous non-compliance or failed inspection issues.
  4. Record these issues and highlight them for review at the site
  5. Load these files into a box and carry out to their vehicles
  6. Re-inspect the site and record more information on new forms
  7. Add new paper forms to the files
  8. Carry back to the main office
  9. Administration staff types all information from the new forms into a database system

A simple database synchronization with a handheld computer, laptop or Tablet PC from the field could have completed task 1-5 and 7-9 in a few seconds.

MobileDataforce helps both commercial and government organizations improve their inspection processes daily.

I have written about other inspection automation and mobilization processes in this recent blog article.