There are so many advantages to using a digital inspection system that it’s a good business decision to shift from paper to digital inspections. Those contractors already using digital inspection technology are reaping big rewards. For those contractors still relying on a paper-based inspection system, there are compelling reasons to set a goal to make that switch as soon as it’s feasible to do so. In the meantime, here are some considerations that highlight the importance of using digital inspection technology.
10 Reasons To Shift from Paper to Digital Inspections
Here’s a look at the top 10 reasons to switch from paper to digital inspections.
1. Immediate Inspection Results
When field inspectors are using a paper-based inspection system, there’s typically a delay of days or weeks for when the office staff gets the paper inspection forms. This delay is quite common, as many field inspectors only come by the office every week or two to drop off inspection forms. Delays in processing paper inspection forms is particularly problematic when inspectors have found a critical inspection deficiency that needs to be resolved as soon as possible. In contrast, a digital inspection system like ServiceTrade allows field inspectors to upload their inspection findings right after the inspection has been completed.
- Faster billing of inspection services
- Faster identification & resolution of critical deficiencies
2. Improved Inspection Reports for Customers
On a practical level, paper inspection forms can get dirty, crinkled, wet, stained with coffee, and more. When paper inspection forms are soiled, it can show up in scans or copies. This can render the forms hard to read. In addition, soiled inspection forms that are scanned and sent to customers don’t look professional. In contrast, digital inspection reports both look professional and can be more easily branded with a contractor’s logo and colors.
- More professional-looking inspection reports
3. Double Entry of Data Can Be Eliminated
With paper-based systems, office staff members typically have to enter the data into an office computer for generation of an inspection report. When inspections are hand-written, they can be difficult for the office staff to read, resulting in delays due to reaching out to the inspector to get clarification on what was written down. This scenario can add significant delays to the process and also can result in errors that create liability for the contractor. With digital inspection systems, inspection data is entered by field technicians, and the inspection results can be uploaded right from the inspection site. This results in fast, efficient generation of an inspection report.
- Save office staff time & money by eliminating double data entry, copying, scanning, and mailing inspection reports.
4. Master Inventory List of Facility Devices Ready To Go
Paper-based systems typically don’t have a master list of the devices for each facility. With digital inspection systems like ServiceTrade, field inspectors enter the devices custom to each location once. Once the initial device information is loaded into a digital inspection system, field techs will have master lists of devices to inspect by facility.
- Accurate, thorough master lists of devices by facility.
- More detailed, thorough & accurate inspections.
5. Faster Handling of Inspection Deficiencies
It’s very common for deficiencies found during inspections to fall through the cracks when a paper-based inspection system is in use. Either that, or there’s a significant delay in getting inspection deficiencies resolved. With digital inspection systems, deficiencies are clearly identified and prioritized in terms of severity and resolved faster.
- Faster resolution of deficiencies.
- Improved safety.
- Reduced risk & liability.
- Increased revenue from services business.
6. Time Savings for Field Techs
When field techs conduct inspections manually using a paper inspection form, they have to reinvent the wheel every time they conduct an inspection, because they have to input data again and again. With digital inspection systems, data associated with specific facilities is archived and ready for the next inspection. Digital inspection forms also can auto-populate historical data about the facility, which greatly speeds the inspection process.
- Increased efficiency.
- Time savings allows field techs to finish more inspections by day, week, etc.
7. Improved Documentation & Liability Protection
Paper-based systems provide limited documentation for liability protection. In contrast, digital inspection systems have many features that help mitigate liability, including time-stamped inspections & reports that can be used in a court of law in the event of litigation.
- Improved liability protection.
8. NFPA Code Information Easily Available
With paper-based systems, field inspectors do not have all NFPA code information at their fingertips. Digital inspection systems actually provide NFPA code references embedded in the digital inspection forms. Digital inspection forms also can be structured with specific disclaimers that limit liability. NFPA code references embedded in a digital inspection form are helpful both for experienced inspectors and those just starting out in the industry.
- Saves time for field inspectors.
- Protects contractors from liability & risk.
9. Inspection Data Archived In The Cloud
Although the specifics vary from state to state, it’s required by law that inspection reports have to be saved for a number of years. With paper-based inspection systems, this means contractors & facilities departments must have extensive office storage space to be able to store all the inspection documents. With digital inspection systems, inspection data & reports are stored in the cloud, take no office space, and are easily accessible.
- Reduces office space & file cabinet storage needs.
- Inspection data easily accessible (vs. searching file cabinets or dusty boxes).
- Increased customer satisfaction by quickly & easily providing inspection report copies for customers who request them.
10. Additional Inspection Information Is Easily Available
With paper-based inspection forms, there’s no easy way to include photos with paper inspection forms. With digital inspection systems, inspectors can shoot photographs of deficiencies and attach the photo file to the digital inspection.
- Proof of deficiency work that needs to be completed.
When owners or managers of fire-life safety contracting companies are considering new initiatives, the initiative that can transform the business is to switch from paper to digital inspections.
Interested in switching from paper to digital inspections? Chat with our team!