The job isn't done 'till the paperwork is complete.
by Ted Smith on 02/13/18
A true,. yet frustrating fact of business and construction. We have chosen a career as electricians because we like to build things, we like to work with our hands. We like to problem solve, take on challenges head on, and get dirty in the process. Hard work has never made us back down and no problem comes up that we are not prepared to conquer. Yet, a single document can frustrate us to no end. I understand, after all, if we liked doing paperwork, we would have sought out a career in an office, instead we chose to build those offices.
Unfortunately, there is no practical way, we have found so far, to eliminate paperwork from the construction process. There are just some things that we need to document in order to protect ourselves. the company and to be financially successful. There are things we can do to make the paperwork process easier, more efficient and less burdensome. We are consistently attempting to find ways to do just that. We experiment with different methods of documentation, use of technology, innovative techniques and problem solving to accomplish that goal. We are often an industry leader in these innovations and find that our clients adopt our processes after seeing them in operation on their projects.
One of the challenges with getting paperwork completed is the time to do it and when it is done. Supervisors on a construction project are very busy, every day, all day long. They are doing what they are good at, building. This means that very often the paperwork has to wait until the end of the shift or maybe, they will come in early the next day and get caught up. Of course, this also means that they will have to rely upon their memory of what happened, and how to record it. Not to mention, something may come up that further pushes that paperwork to side and then it starts stacking up, until it just isn't important anymore. It becomes this thing that needs to be done, but there just seems to always be something more important keeping us from it.
We implemented and developed processes around iAuditor to address this challenge because we understood how often it happens and why. iAuditor was specifically designed to allow safety personnel to make reports, complete inspections and file paperwork while they were in the field and on the move. It was designed to eliminate the need for them to take notes while in the field and then go back to an office and write or type a report on a computer. Think about it. It is brilliant. The standard method was for them to make an observation, determine what to do about it, make a note and then go write a report about all of that. This is doing the inspection and report twice. Once in the field and taking action and once in the office at the computer. It is the same with our paperwork for supervisors. Not just safety related items, but all of it.. Daily supervisors reports, time and material records, observations, change orders, disruptions, delays, etc. We handle it in the field and then we have to write a report about it. iAuditor takes the second part and eliminates it. We recognized how beneficial this could be and also helpful to our supervisors and managers and we started a process of developing templates for our use and training personnel in the use of the program.
The idea is simple really. iAuditor allows us to create our forms and reports in a mobile format, that is on your smart phone or tablet. As things happen, you can input the information right there, including pictures. The advantages of this are that you can enter things as they happen. Each item doesnt take too long. If you wait till the end of the shift, you will have to enter all the items at one time. That will require you to sit there and make the entries. Also you will have to do something to remember so you dont forget when you enter it later in the day, as opposed to entering it right there.
iAuditor was designed with this concept at its core. Therefore, all the functionality, process, tracking, etc are designed around the forms and reports being completed on a smart phone or mobile tablet device. They do have the option of doing them on a laptop or computer, but you have to do extra steps and some of the functionality does not work even if you take the extra steps. Why would they make the product in that way? Simple, it is based on the core concept. If you wait until later and go back to your office to input things into the program on your laptop or computer, you are defeating the benefit of the program and process. It becomes the same thing as waiting until the end of the day to write out your reports.
Here is the key, try using the process as it was designed. Try doing your reports on a mobile device as it is happening. You can use rapid observation reports for a lot of things and make professional documentation, very quickly, while you are standing in the field. You can start your daily supervisors report in the morning. Fill out some base info, close it, and then, as things happen during the day, pop it open, add an observation and close it again. At the end of the day, send it and you are done.
You may feel more comfortable with typing on a computer and that is why you want to do it that way. I understand. When computers first came out, everyone was more comfortable with writing because they didn't know how to type. However, we all overcame that. We were horrible at typing at first, then as we practiced it, we got better and very comfortable with it. "Thumb Typing" or inputting things on a cell phone or tablet is no different. You will get better at it with practice.
Also, I have found an even better way than thumb typing. You can download a free app called Google Keyboard from your app store. The google keyboard replaces your devices keyboard and it has, in the top right hand corner, a mic button. If you click this, you can talk into the phone and it will type what you are saying. I have found it is very accurate and it works with lots of background noise. Give it a try.
I encourage you to make use iAuditor and the templates we have created and I believe that if you use them way they were designed, you will find that they help you. Also, iAuditor is extremely flexible and we can make adjustments in minutes, so if there is something on a template that we can change to make it easier, faster, more accurate, please let us know and we will give it a try.
Ted "Smitty" Smith