Smart phones and tablets allow mobile workers to perform many activities in the field that were not possible a few years ago. An indication of the pervasiveness of mobile devices in the field can be gauged from the fact that in late 2013 the sales of smartphones exceeded the sales of conventional cell phones for the first time.
Using the appropriate application, mobile devices can replace paper and notepads that are widely used by technicians, inspectors and other mobile workers.
Can mobile devices replace paper forms when conducting inspection in the field following an Australian Standard?
If the technician has to follow steps that are listed in an Australian Standard, the application can present the tasks/steps as an electronic checklist on the mobile device. Additional information can also be available to the technician with instructions or code requirements. The process of converting any Australian Standard to a checklist is a simple process.
The application can also integrate the built-in camera to take pictures of the findings, enable annotation of the picture, and in most mobile devices convert speech to text for additional data collection. Functions such as barcodes, GPS, timestamp, RFID and scanners built in the mobile devices enable efficient and quick identification of areas and equipment, determine points of entry and exit, improve efficiency, and minimise human errors.
Let’s take AS 1735 - Lifts, Escalators and Moving Walks as an example. If the user requires a lift annual service report to be filled out, the mobile device can fulfil the same function. The user can pick from a list of possible choices that are listed in the standard. Mobile devices make current and past information accessible and easy to use.
Mobile device applications should deliver functionalities such as enabling the user to list information required by Australian Standards to perform the periodic inspection, adjustment and testing of existing equipment comprising of safety gear, ropes, rails, governor and oil buffer, including questionnaires, possible results/outcomes, acceptable threshold values (for collecting field data), etc. It should allow the user to adjust the checklist and related information or develop their custom own checklists.
Providing easy to use navigation capabilities and quick access to information, allowing service personnel to enter information as much as needed, automatically transferring data from the mobile device to the relevant stakeholders without the need for further data entry or ‘manual’ data reformulation, automatically using the camera to take pictures, and converting speech to text are some of the functionalities required in a mobile device.
Some of the benefits of using a mobile application to automate any Australian Standard include improving efficiencies, minimising unnecessary administrative tasks and data entry; increasing productivity and profitability, enabling effective completion of tasks, simplifying repeatable tasks and providing staff with easy to use tools that focus on performing tasks; incorporating mechanisms to focus on exceptions and ensure proper execution of tasks, including automatic listing of activities, reminders, alerts, escalation procedures, and easy access to information; and improving controls and accountability, leading to better quality of work.
Techs4Biz Australia offers Pervidi products, which combine service management, asset management, maintenance management and inspection management functionalities to improve operational efficiencies and reduce costs.