Inspection apps are raising expectations for what general contractors, homebuilders, and specialty contractors can accomplish with their quality and safety processes.
These apps leverage the benefits of mobile devices in important ways that allow users to provide real-time feedback, take pictures from the field, and update inspection checklists with new check points as they recognize recurring issues.
These are all things that you either cannot do with old paper and data entry methods, or that are just much easier to do with apps.
Benefits of apps vs. paper and data entry methods
There are countless benefits inspection apps can bring to your business; here are just a few that can make your processes easier and more efficient:
Take and mark up pictures from the jobsite. Many apps allow you to use the camera on your tablet or phone to take pictures while you are inspecting. This is useful for documenting completed work and illustrating deficiencies you observe.
Compile and distribute on-demand inspection reports. You can use next generation inspection apps to compile reports on-demand so you can measure quality performance in real-time.
Be sure your inspection software includes the reports you need and that they are actionable, practical, insightful, and professional.
Apps should also give you the ability to automatically email reports to stakeholders so you can distribute information to save your time and decrease delayed feedback.
Reference standards, pictures, and drawings are available from the checklist while inspecting. Some apps allow you to attach reference pictures and documents to your checklists.
This can be a useful because you can show inspectors where to focus their attention, emphasize new installation methods, and highlight details on high-priority issues.
Update checklists in real-time. The best apps come with a library of checklists and the ability to quickly add new check points as critical items come up. You will find that having a library of checklists and the ability to easily copy and modify them makes your job much easier.
How to get started using apps
While introducing an app at your company might seem intimidating, any inconvenience you experience when getting started should be short lived. Moreover, if you take the correct approach, you should feel confident that the process will go smoothly and the app will benefit your bottom line.
Do your research. Make sure you evaluate all your options and that the software you pick has everything you need. You might watch videos, visit websites, see demos, or use a trial. You might find features you want to implement that you did not even know existed.
Make sure you are thorough. You do not want to find out later that there are problems with the software that you cannot overlook. Or, that the processes in the software are awkward or will not work for your business. The software should surprise you with all you can do and the information you can track.
Predict how your people will use the software. Try to put yourself in the shoes of the people that will use your software. For example, a superintendent might use the software’s checklists, add to-do items, and mock up images for corrective actions. A subcontractor might use the system to respond to feedback and send pictures of corrected work.
You should also think about how management will inspect, measure results, and use the data to manage quality.
Use a phased approach to implementing your software. You might want to implement your software in phases so you can reap benefits sooner. By using a phased-in approach, you can build on what you have learned and fine tune your ideas of what you want to do next.
For instance, after you set up and customize your software, you might have a phase where you select team members to test it, a phase where you adjust your setup based on feedback from the testing stage, and another phase where you transition your entire team to use the software.
It is important to let the results from each phase help you decide how and when to introduce the next phase. This can also give you an idea of how to modify the ways you use the software to give you the best results.
Next generation inspection apps can help give you and your team a heightened awareness of how your projects are going with real-time feedback and detailed information to help you manage quality, safety and vendor performance.
If you want to learn how the FTQ360 Inspection App can benefit your inspection process, sign up for a free trial. You'll see the difference between the old paper and data entry methods and the next generation of quality management.