Just a few years ago, the main advantage of using a smartphone on the construction site was turning on the flashlight app. Today, smartphones are as important a tool as anything found in the contractor's toolbox, especially when it comes to quality and risk management.
From mobile inspection checklists to improved Project Manager-to-Subcontractor interaction, smartphone apps have changed how Quality Management (QM) is performed.
Photo-based communications are identifying and correcting defects faster and allowing you to access relevant quality data. Real time data transference is improving report accuracy. In fact, the old pen-and-paper based Quality Management System has almost become a deterrent to productivity.
Here are five advantages of improving your Quality System with a Quality Management App.
1. Inspections have better credibility, accuracy and thoroughness
Incomplete inspections and illegible or incomprehensible comments are just a few issues with paper checklists. Quality planning isn't limited to the plan itself. The storage, management and way you deal with the gathered data are equally as important. Not to mention, papers get missed, lost and shuffled out of order. Mobile inspection checklists require inspectors to follow a sequence and ensure all required inspection items are marked.
The sequence can't be bypassed. Line items can't be skipped, else they are flagged and the inspection can't be submitted. Notes are typed, so they are always legible.
Plus many comment fields provide drop-downs or auto-fill for common phrases, which reduces overall inspection time. Time stamps tell exactly when you took pictures and signed-off on the inspection. Pen and paper just can't compete.
Using a quality management app offers many advantages. One of the main ones being the ability to conduct quality and supplier audits with your portable device.
2. Photos are enhanced to improve defect communication
Contractors have always snapped photos of defects, but mobile technology takes it a couple of steps further. A top quality management software allows you to take photos from the mobile device and tie them directly to a specific checkpoint or corrective action. Plus the inspector can mark-up the photo, circling or drawing arrows to a point of interest.
Notes can be added directly to the photo and shared instantly with a Project Manager, subcontractor or project owner—or all of the above at one. After repairs are made pictures also communicate the proper correction of the deficiency. The beauty of it all is that you don't need enterprise quality management software to get all of these features. Our solution is suitable for businesses at every level.
3. Inspection results are easily managed
With mobile inspections, quality management data is immediately available for reports, so trends, completion status and punch list items are monitored in real time. Mobile technology also reduces the administrative cost and lag time of data entry.
With improved quality data transference comes a higher-functioning reporting system. For example, missed inspections or pending open items, a serious risk for any project, are easily identified and supervised. Reports can show coming due and past due corrective actions. Or they can rank recurring defects to show exactly where they happening and how often.
4.Forms are never out of date
Updating paper-based inspection checklists can be complicated, to say the least. Recalling outdated forms never seems to be 100% effective; someone somewhere always seems to be using an old version. Mobile technology automates this process.
Updated inspection checklists are synchronized with the mobile device the inspector uses on the Jobsite. There are no recalls of outdated forms or roll-outs of new versions. A mobile software platform eliminates confusion while improving the product and service quality.
5. Mobile tech is convenient
An inspection requires examining, measuring, testing, documenting and photographing work in multiple phases of a construction schedule. That inspector has a lot to carry and keep up with while focusing on project management. He has to juggle a clipboard with many types of inspection checklists, quality management processes, along with pens, camera, and a laptop. Mobile technology consolidates all this to one phone or tablet, for a more convenient, less cumbersome inspection process.
Mobile checklist and inspection apps are improving how work is completed on the construction job site. Those rugged smart phones have evolved from cool tech toys to a critical component of the Contractor’s mobile office. Specialized apps designed to advance quality management are making the old pen-and-paper QM Programs obsolete.
If you want to see a quality improvement and sustainable business success in your construction projects, having a robust quality control system and/or app will be very important. The days when quality assurance wasn't as much of a priority are very long gone. You must ensure regulatory compliance throughout your project.
We understand that with so many options out there, it is very difficult to choose the right one. Sign up for a free demo to learn more about how FTQ360 can help your construction business and existing quality processes.