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Audits and Compliance

Examples of Quality – Assurance Mishaps in Manufacturing and How Software can help

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Qualit assurance is broadly acknowledged as a top priority for manufacturers. Yet, as a growing volume of business movies overseas, manufacturers maintain less control and face more risk than ever before. Most industries rely on overseas business for both supply and revenue growth. The perils are significant. Here are four examples of what can happen when quality assurance falls short.

Consumer Goods

A major consumer goods company in the food space operates a global supply network including 84 plants, some wholly owned and others in joint ventures. A tор gоаl оf thе соmраnу іѕ tо knоw whеrе dеmаnd mаrkеtѕ wіll bе, уеt juѕt аѕ іmроrtаnt, thеу nееd tо hаvе vіѕіbіlіtу іntо ѕuррlіеrѕ аnd thеіr tіеr twо ѕuррlіеrѕ, аll thе wау dоwn tо rаw mаtеrіаlѕ. Fооd ѕаfеtу іѕ thеіr tор рrіоrіtу. A mіѕhар саn dеѕtrоу a brаnd. Thеу brоаdlу асknоwlеdgе thаt vіѕіbіlіtу іѕ a muѕt.

Thе соnѕumеr расkаgеd gооdѕ соmраnу іѕ nоt аlоnе. Fооd ѕаfеtу rеmаіnѕ a hugе іѕѕuе іn fооd аnd bеvеrаgе. Rеgulаtоrу рrеѕѕurеѕ соntіnuе tо саll fоr grеаtеr vіѕіbіlіtу tо еnѕurе gооdѕ аrе рrоduсеd ѕаfеlу аnd іn соmрlіаnсе, уеt аlѕо tо еnѕurе соmраnіеѕ knоw thе dеtаіlѕ оf thеіr іnvеntоrу іn thе еvеnt оf a rесаll.

Pharmaceuticals

In thе рhаrmасеutісаl іnduѕtrу, ԛuаlіtу аѕѕurаnсе іѕ a ѕіmіlаr іѕѕuе. Phаrmасеutісаl соmраnіеѕ trаdіtіоnаllу mаnufасturеd nеаrlу аll оf thеіr оwn асtіvе рhаrmасеutісаl іngrеdіеntѕ (API). Thаt’ѕ сhаngеd оvеr tіmе, аnd nоw mаjоr рhаrmасеutісаl соmраnіеѕ оutѕоurсе аѕ muсh аѕ 60% оf thеіr mаnufасturіng. Thеу’rе ассоmрlіѕhіng thіѕ bу dіvеѕtіng fасtоrіеѕ, fіndіng lоwеr соѕt рrоduсеrѕ, аnd mоvіng ѕоmе рrоduсtіоn tо lеѕѕ еxреnѕіvе rеgіоnѕ. Thіѕ rеѕultѕ іn a lоѕѕ оf соntrоl.

Sеrіаlіzаtіоn – аlоng wіth іnсrеаѕеd rеgulаtіоnѕ іn gеnеrаl – іѕ a rеѕроnѕе tо ріrасу, соuntеrfеіtіng, аnd thе uѕе оf drugѕ аѕ сurrеnсу, whісh іf lеft unсhесkеd rерrеѕеntѕ ѕоmе оf thе bіggеѕt rіѕkѕ tо thе іntеgrіtу оf a рhаrmасеutісаl brаnd. Thе соnѕumеr wаntѕ tо knоw thаt whаt thеу’rе buуіng іѕ thе rеаl thіng. Whіlе ѕеrіаlіzаtіоn іѕ a nесеѕѕаrу раrt оf еnѕurіng thе рrоduсt іѕ рurе, іt’ѕ раrt оf a muсh bіggеr рісturе іn thе fіght аgаіnѕt thеѕе rіѕkѕ. Lооkіng glоbаllу, ѕоmе $15 bіllіоn оf API wіll bе еxроrtеd оut оf Indіа аlоnе thіѕ уеаr. Whіlе іt mау bе ѕеrіаlіzеd, іt dоеѕn’t mеаn thеrе іѕn’t a роѕѕіbіlіtу fоr drugѕ tо ѕnеаk іn аnd оut оf thе ѕuррlу сhаіn. Phаrmа іѕ glоbаl. Rеgulаtіоnѕ аrеn’t. Thе ѕаmе rulеѕ thаt аррlу іn thе Eurореаn Unіоn dоn’t dіrесtlу аffесt соuntrіеѕ іn Sоuth Amеrіса. Mаnufасturіng аnd dіѕtrіbutіоn gо wеll bеуоnd роlіtісаl bоundаrіеѕ, hоwеvеr, аnd mаnufасturеrѕ аrе rеѕроnѕіblе fоr рlауіng bу thе rulеѕ іn whаtеvеr gеоgrарhу thеу ореrаtе.

High Tech

High Technology products - quality checkMоѕt rесеntlу, рrоduсtіоn оf Aррlе’ѕ іPаd Prо wаѕ dеlауеd duе tо ѕuррlу іѕѕuеѕ rеgаrdіng іtѕ dіѕрlау раnеl. Aѕ a rеѕult, рrоduсtіоn wоn’t ѕtаrt untіl Sерtеmbеr, аnd thе uрсоmіng tаblеt wоn’t bе аvаіlаblе untіl lаtе 2015 оr еаrlу 2016. In thе hіgh tесh іnduѕtrу, whеrе multірlе lауеrѕ аnd hаndоffѕ еxіѕt іn thе ѕuррlу сhаіn, a mіѕѕtер саn bе mоrе lіkеlу tо gо unnоtісеd untіl іt’ѕ tоо lаtе tо mаkе thе рrореr аdjuѕtmеntѕ. In thіѕ саѕе, аn еntіrе рrоduсt іntrоduсtіоn іѕ dеlауеd.

Automotive

Automotive industryTоуоtа, Hоndа, Mаzdа, BMW, Nіѕѕаn, Mіtѕubіѕhі, Subаru, Chrуѕlеr, Fоrd, аnd Gеnеrаl Mоtоrѕ learned a lеѕѕоn thе hаrd wау аbоut thе rіѕkѕ аѕѕосіаtеd wіth ԛuаlіtу. Eасh оf thеѕе соmраnіеѕ buіlt vеhісlеѕ wіth аіrbаgѕ mаnufасturеd bу Tаkаtа, a ѕuррlіеr thаt dеlіvеrеd раrtѕ fоund tо еxрlоdе wіth tоо muсh fоrсе, роtеntіаllу саuѕіng іnjurіеѕ аnd fаtаlіtіеѕ. Thе rеѕult: mаѕѕіvе rесаll оn vеhісlеѕ mаnufасturеd bеtwееn 2000 аnd 2011. Inаdеԛuаtе ԛuаlіtу соntrоl rесоrdѕ mаdе іt unсlеаr hоw mаnу vеhісlеѕ оf whаt mаkе аnd mоdеl wеrе аffесtеd bу аіrbаg рrоblеmѕ. Thаt lеd tо ѕеvеrаl rесаllѕ оvеr mоnthѕ аnd уеаrѕ, саuѕіng gеnеrаl соnfuѕіоn, рublіс оutrаgе, аutоmаkеr fruѕtrаtіоn, аnd fіnаnсіаl lоѕѕ.

Bесаuѕе оf іnсіdеntѕ lіkе thеѕе аnd оvеrаll ԛuаlіtу аnd ѕаfеtу соnсеrnѕ, ѕtаndаrdѕ аnd rеgulаtіоnѕ аrе оn thе rіѕе wоrldwіdе. In thе еvеnt thаt mаnufасturеrѕ dоn’t hаvе thе trаnѕраrеnсу tо ѕее whеrе аll раrtѕ аnd соmроnеntѕ uѕеd іn рrоduсtѕ hаvе bееn, thеу run іntо trоublе. Nо соmраnу іѕ іmmunе, аnd rіѕk еxроѕurе іѕ grеаtеr thаn еvеr bеfоrе. Addrеѕѕіng thе сhаllеngе lаѕt уеаr, GM rеѕроndеd tо a fасtоrу еxрlоѕіоn аt оnе оf іtѕ ѕuррlіеrѕ wіth a ѕurрrіѕіng blіnd еуе. Blооmbеrg rероrtеd thаt thе іnсіdеnt kіllеd аt lеаѕt 75 wоrkеrѕ аt Kunѕhаn Zhоngrоng Mеtаl Prоduсtѕ Cо., a ѕubсоntrасtоr tо саr whееl mаkеr Cіtіс Dісаѕtаl Whееl Mаnufасturіng Cо. Cіtас Dіѕсаѕtаl іѕ a dіrесt ѕuррlіеr tо GM.

Thе rеѕроnѕе frоm GM? “Our tіеr-оnе ѕuррlіеrѕ оn a glоbаl bаѕіѕ аrе rеԛuіrеd tо mаkе ѕurе thаt thеу аrе ѕоurсіng frоm ѕuррlіеrѕ thаt аrе іmрlеmеntіng thе rіght ѕаfеtу ѕtаndаrdѕ,” GM Prеѕіdеnt Dаn Ammаnn ѕаіd. Vеrу ԛuеѕtіоnаblе. Bе thаt аѕ іt mау, thе аutоmаkеr іѕ nоt аlоnе. Vіѕіbіlіtу bеуоnd tіеr 1 ѕuррlіеrѕ іѕ a wіdеѕрrеаd сhаllеngе. In a rесеnt KPMG ѕtudу, іt wаѕ rероrtеd thаt 49 реrсеnt оf mаnufасturіng еxесutіvеѕ glоbаllу (54 реrсеnt іn thе US) аdmіt thаt thеіr соmраnіеѕ сurrеntlу dо nоt hаvе vіѕіbіlіtу оf thеіr ѕuррlу сhаіn bеуоnd tіеr 1 ѕuррlіеrѕ. Thіѕ іѕ еуе ореnіng, gіvеn thе hеаvу еmрhаѕіѕ оn ԛuаlіtу аѕѕurаnсе аnd ѕаfеtу.

At thе hеаrt оf thе сhаllеngе іѕ соnnесtіvіtу аnd соllаbоrаtіоn. Mаnufасturеrѕ tоdау tеnd tо rеlу оn trаdіtіоnаl hоѕtеd ѕоftwаrе, оr ERP (еntеrрrіѕе rеѕоurсе рlаnnіng) tооlѕ. Thеѕе dо аn еxсеllеnt jоb оf соnnесtіng реорlе, ѕhаrіng dаtа, аnd dеlіvеrіng vіѕіbіlіtу wіthіn thе fоur wаllѕ оf thе buѕіnеѕѕ. Thе сhаllеngе еntеrрrіѕеѕ fасе аѕ оutѕоurсіng іnсrеаѕеѕ аnd ѕuррlу сhаіnѕ bесоmе mоrе соmрlеx іѕ thаt рrоduсtіоn mоvеѕ bеуоnd thе оutѕtrеtсhеd аrmѕ оf ERP.

A Network Approach to Assure Quality and Safety

Thе fаѕtеr a mаnufасturеr саn rеасt, thе lеѕѕ dаmаgе tо іtѕ brаnd, аnd thе lеѕѕ fіnаnсіаl іmрасt tо thе соmраnу. Tесhnоlоgіеѕ еxіѕt tоdау thаt саn hеlр fіght thіѕ оngоіng bаttlе – аnd mаnу wоuld аrguе thаt іt’ѕ іrrеѕроnѕіblе nоt tо lеvеrаgе thеѕе іnnоvаtіоnѕ. Bе thаt аѕ іt mау, ѕuррlу сhаіn vіѕіbіlіtу, trасеаbіlіtу, аnd соnnесtіvіtу іѕ nоt a bоlt-оn рrоjесt. Thеrе іѕ nо ѕіnglе ѕоlutіоn thаt аddrеѕѕеѕ thіѕ сhаllеngе. It rеԛuіrеѕ a nеw аррrоасh – a rеwіrіng оf thе undеrріnnіngѕ оf соnnесtіоnѕ bеtwееn mаnufасturеr аnd іtѕ trаdіng раrtnеrѕ. Pоіnt-tо-роіnt ѕоlutіоnѕ аrе іnаdеԛuаtе. Rаthеr, whаt іѕ nееdеd іѕ a nеw іnfrаѕtruсturе thаt соnnесtѕ аll оf thе nеtwоrk nоdеѕ nоt оnе аt a tіmе, hоwеvеr ѕіmultаnеоuѕlу аѕ a ѕіnglе nеtwоrk. A ѕіnglе glоbаl nеtwоrk саn іntеgrаtе аll оf thе ERP ѕуѕtеmѕ, trаdіng раrtnеrѕ, аnd mоѕt іmроrtаntlу, thе dаtа thаt mоvеѕ bеtwееn thеm.

ReachOut, for example, is an all-in-one field service platforms that enables you to manage work orders and jobs, conduct inspections and audits, record customer requests with tickets and much more. Wіth thіѕ fоundаtіоn, thе іdеа оf ѕuррlу сhаіn vіѕіbіlіtу bесоmеѕ a rеаlіtу. Cоmраnіеѕ саn ѕее bеуоnd thеіr tіеr 1 ѕuррlіеrѕ іntо tіеr 2 аnd 3. Blасk hоlеѕ thаt оnсе еxіѕtеd bеtwееn trаdіng раrtnеrѕ аrе еlіmіnаtеd thrоugh vіѕіbіlіtу іntо аll trаnѕасtіоn dосumеntѕ аnd fast and effective іntеrасtіоnѕ. Mаnufасturеrѕ саn knоw whеrе thеіr gооdѕ are, their quality compliances аnd where they should reach at what time. Thіѕ mаkеѕ ԛuаlіtу аѕѕurаnсе, trасk-аnd-trасе, аnd ѕеrіаlіzаtіоn сараbіlіtіеѕ асhіеvаblе.

 

How Field Service Automation Improves Efficiency with Reduced Costs

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Automation is the buzzword to improve efficiency and reduce cost at the same time. This is true for almost all facets of work, and more so for field services, which has a historical reputation for delays, inefficiencies, and high costs.

Field service is often the place where enterprise information systems, labor controls, and productivity tools falter. The opaque nature of the work, far removed from the office or shop floor is the chief cause for blame. While cells phones offer visibility and connectivity, its effectiveness is limited. Technology is, however, changing the situation, transforming field service through new improved paradigms.

State of the art field service automation software, powered by mobility technologies, enable field service technicians to remain connected with their controlling office in real time, even automatically. Such field service automation software, which updates in real time, improves visibility, allows better control, speeds up the workflow, eliminates manual work, and improves accuracy.

 

Better Control

Field service automation enables business and operations managers to remain in better control of the situation. The following are some ways in which automation improves control, and by extension efficiency.

  • Automated scheduling of service calls, deploying the right technician at the right site, within the shortest time.
  • Real-time tracking of field service technicians, to give an accurate picture of the expected arrival time of the technician at the field site, reducing uncertainty and ambiguity, and sparing the need for clients to make follow up calls and clarifications.
  • Ability for supervisors and other stakeholders to monitor movement of technicians in real time, to resolve any bottleneck, slack, or other glitches in real time, pre-empting disruption of work
  • Enabling field service technicians to connect with the command and control office in real-time for better insights on the nature of the job, any required assistance with experts, and for follow-up, sparing the need to make duplicate visits, and also for doing a more accurate job
  • Increased accuracy and precision, as forms are populated automatically wherever possible, and delivered to all stakeholders and regulatory agencies at the correct time, in the correct format, automatically.
  • Auto-generation of timely alerts and reminders, whenever manual intervention is required.
  • Automatic replenishment orders for spares and other stock, avoiding stock-out situations which may delay field service.

Such interventions eliminate wastage, paving the way for lean operations, with reduced operations cost and maximum returns on investment.

 

Speedier Workflow

With field service automation, reducing time on non-essentials and improving efficiency, work is executed faster, enabling technicians to make more calls per day, speeding up the workflow, and clearing the queue. This delivers a twin benefit of greater revenue through more work being done with the available resources and improved customer satisfaction. The customer delight on being able to get the machinery serviced in double-quick time, without any glitches, and that too in just one visit is priceless.

Companies with manual, paper-based operations typically face a delay of several days before the invoice is finally presented, leading to a cash-cycle disadvantage compared to companies with automated operations.  Using mobile printers, which runs on thermal paper reduces the operating cost considerably, and speeds up the workflow, making billing instant.

Reduced Manual Work

Field service automation software reduces the labor required for data entry and processing in a big way. When field service technicians record data on mobile devices, and still better, when data is populated on to reports automatically to the extent possible, field service technicians are freed from their clerical workload. Duplicate work is eliminated, and inaccuracies that arise when trying to decipher handwritten work orders and invoices while entering it into appropriate systems are eliminated.

Qualified technicians are freed from the non-value-added time they spend on preparing invoices, filling out work orders, and providing other documentation, allowing them to focus on their core competencies.

Field service automation reduces duplication and errors caused when technicians prepare service reports manually and later uploaded it online at the office. The savings manifest in many fronts, including time, the cost of staff to do the same work twice, the cost of infrastructure and resources such as paper and pen, and more.

Improved Accuracy

Field Service automation enabled timely issue of bills, with 100% accuracy, preventing billing disputes.

The savings resulting from such automation is often underestimated. Even a conservative estimate of 20 service technicians who can complete an average of five work orders each day, and customers raising a dispute on just 5% of service invoices results in needing to investigate and resolve 1,300 inquiries per year. Assuming that a conservative estimate of 15 minutes per dispute case raised means the company spending about a month’s wages of a full-time employee, every year, on just investigating disputes alone. This is just the labor cost alone, not factoring in the cost of resources, and the indirect cost of loss of face and customer dissatisfaction caused by the dispute itself. When details are vague, the company is more likely to accept the customer’s version of events as a goodwill gesture, leading to further erosion of revenue.

An average manufacturing company misses about 50% to 70% of potential service revenue owing to poor record keeping and management.

Companies with best-in-class field service operations complete about 8% more work orders per day compared to average performers, have 12.5% higher service level agreement compliance rates and are on average 2.5% more profitable compared to other companies. Automated mobility delivered solutions are a key enabler of such best-in-class companies, for only 22% of such best-in-class enterprises still use paper-based processes in field service operations.

Field Service automation works wonders, but the desired productivity and efficiency improvements, leading to reduced costs of business and improved customer satisfaction realize only when the mobility and automation systems in use are in prime shape. A half-baked or ill-conceived system would likely do more harm than good, agonizing delays on waiting to get the system up and running, critical information trapped in electronic repositories with no way to retrieve it, more time wasted on re-doing things, all round confusion on when faulty electronic and improvised manual systems co-exist, and in short the investment down the drain, with greater customer dissatisfaction than ever before.

Automation is a double-edged sword, and companies cannot afford to take chances with it. Partnering with us for all your field service automation is a safe bet, considering our long-standing and established expertise in the field. We offer fully customized comprehensive field service automation software to conduct inspections and audits easily, allowing you to create checklists, eliminate paperwork, manage work orders, and automate the process with considerable ease. Start your free trial today.

 

Why should you use Custom Management Software to run your Field Service and Repair Operations?

By | Audits and Compliance, Field Service | No Comments

Companies involved in sending staff out for services, such as on-site repair often rely on their ERP system rather than a dedicated repair service software to manage field staff. The reason they claim is cost efficiency, but we believe they are only making matters more complex and expensive in the long run. ERP software is designed to help enterprises have a control over their internal entities. But, for field service companies, the game is altogether on a different horizon that ERP software may not be able to handle even with additional field service plug-in apps. So this is where you invest in dedicated field service software, as it brings several advantages over integrated ERP systems.

Let us see the advantages of a custom software over ERP, to manage your field service operations:

Automation

Field service software can bring about a great deal of automation in the management of workforce. This allows for efficient time management, lesser human resource requirement for work planning and scheduling, more productive workforce and ultimately lowered organizational costs for staff management.

Field Service Automation

Anywhere Anytime Access to Information

The biggest concern for field service operations is the lack of information for field staff in order to rectify faults at customer locations. The information may pertain to hardware or software reconfiguration policies at the customer location or related to potential information about service policies, etc. With dedicated field service software, organizations can offer real-time access to their field agents to acquire information from their centralized information portal. Through designated apps, information can be delegated to the agent’s mobile phone and thus allows the data to be accessed anywhere anytime.

Information collected fast

Work Allocation and Management

Field service applications allow managers to trace service requests and organize schedules for field service associates on the go. Work orders can be easily transmitted to remote workforce technicians according to factors such as their proximity to the customer site, availability, skillset, level of experience and many more. The possibilities are limitless.

Faster Service Delivery

Dedicated repair service software systems can be integrated with navigation features of smartphones and hence can effectively charter work schedules to help customers get their desired services delivered in shorter time spans. Based on traffic conditions, field service software systems are able to route consumer requests to the nearest available remote technician and thus lower transportation and logistics overheads for the company.

Mobile Inspection App

Transparent Billing

With repair service software systems, customers can be easily offered with accurate invoices as soon as technicians or field service agents complete their work rather than traditional invoice generation practices, where the customer gets the bill by post or by email only after the field associate completes the work and returns to the office after duty and provides details of the work carried out. Also this opens up venues for better customer dispute settlement, since work logs are transparent and can be accessed by the concerned team to evaluate bill discrepancies.

Standardisation

With automated workforce management and work progress measurement, it becomes easy to create a well-organized system for carrying out employee evaluation. Performance improvement tips can be offered to field technicians to do their job better and it becomes easier to identify unproductive work schedules or in other words eliminate idle time during office hours.

Work History Access

While on deployment at consumer premises, technicians and field service associates may face situations that they might not have encountered before. However, there might be customers who have encountered similar issue before and the same would have been rectified by other technicians. The rectification measures and the work would have been entered in their work history and with field service management software, this information is easily made available to the new technicians.

Streamline Accountability

With a well-organized mobile workforce, there is no scope for malicious work time management and undue benefits or under cut wages will become inexistent. There is increased visibility into progress of each assigned work and hence it is impossible to tamper with time logs to perform non-billable or non-priority tasks while top priority tasks are in the queue.

Customer Relationships

The customer is ultimately the King for any service oriented company, be it for field services or online or at office services. When you have a dedicated field service management software, it becomes easier for technicians to interact with customers due to the large amount of information they can readily access about the customer, their previous work history, troubleshooting and service tips, extended remote support and much more. Customers, on the other hand, gets faster service, more reliable choices and above all, transparent billing for the service they received. Data collected from customer premises can easily be transferred to centralized CRM systems that help marketing and sales associates to better connect with them for repeat service orders.

Customer Relationship Management
So overall, implementing a dedicated repair service software system is a very crucial step for service companies in order to create a more productive workforce, reduce costs and bolster positive customer relationships. 

Sign up for free and test all the features of ReachOut suite, a simple and easy solution for field service management software

A Food Inspection App for Easier FDA and DEFRA Approval

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Any business that prepares food, or is into agriculture, is subject to regulations and inspections for compliance with the relevant food laws. Inspectors aim to safeguard public health by evaluating the premises, the type of food being made,  the work methods, and the food safety management measures in place. They may also check the description of the food on the menu or food labelling for accuracy.

Food Safety meeting DEFRA standards

 

Inspections and licensing of restaurants and grocery stores are typically handled by local and county health departments. However, FDA serves as a scientific and technical consultant to state and local regulatory agencies by publishing the FDA Food Code, which sets forth model provisions for keeping food safe in restaurant, cafeteria, and institutional food operations.

Whereas in the UK and Northern Ireland, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is the major government department responsible for setting standards and regulations related to food and farming industries. DEFRA guidelines call for inspections in establishments that produce and serve food. The nature of the inspection can vary, and the specific inspection activities may include taking samples and photographs of the food, inspecting records, seizing suspect foods, and issue notice seeking specific improvements. 

Compliance is a serious business, with non-compliance making the enterprise liable for a criminal offence. Inspectors, responsible for overseeing the compliance of several enterprises are often left hassled trying to track the state of the compliance in so many enterprises, and issuing notices.

An inspection app can make life easy for food inspectors in so many ways. Here are some:

Proactive Compliance

Delivering a checklist of FDA and DEFRA approved requirements through the app allows employees and other stakeholders to indulge in proactive compliance, to accelerate the certification. For instance, the app could issue timely alerts on some of the most common or likely violations, such as improper hot and cold holding temperatures, incorrectly stored equipment, linen or utensils, issues related to cleaning, issues related to plumbing and drainage, incorrect usage of toxic substances, and more. Such alerts help pre-empt the problem or nipping issues in the bud..Food Audit Checklist

Paperless Inspections

An inspection app enables paperless inspection, sparing the need to carry notepads, checklists, forms, sign-off sheets or cameras. The resultant accuracy and reduced paperwork boosts productivity and reduces costs. Data stored in the cloud, accessible from anywhere, by any authorised user, at any time boosts process efficiency in a big way.  

Food Inspection Audit

Capture Issues

Recording the inspection in real-time, leveraging the camera, barcode scanner and other features of the smartphone improves record keeping, helps to highlight issues, and generate detailed reports.

Inspection Checklist on Mobile

Raise Tickets for Flagged Issues

The inspection app can keep track of the instructions issued by the inspector. An intuitive app would generate a checklist based on the compliance requirement, complete with a process flow deadlines, and reminders. For instance, if the inspection discovers an exposed electrical wiring in the kitchen, the app takes a photo, annotate it, and pinpoint the area needing attention.  The app then sends out to-do lists, issue timely reminders, and make a follow-up to specific stakeholders responsible for compliance. Each issue could be raised as a ticket and tracked to its logical conclusion, across workflows.

Auto-Generate Reports

The inspection app could auto-generate forms and checklists based on FDA and DEFRA guidelines, and also for internal audits, sparing valuable times creating the process manually. An intuitive field inspection suite standardise complex forms to make data entry easy and then populate such forms automatically.

Improved Visibility

The inspection app gives instant visibility and access to all inspection reports and related materials. Such reports offer valuable data, and visualising such data offers scope for improving internal processes, while remaining compliant at the same time. The analytics and reporting capability of the app makes explicit audit summaries, trends, and areas for improvement. It enables taking informed decisions, and tracking the status of safety and quality issues instantly.

Appeals

In many instances, the establishment would prefer to go in for an appeal against an FDA or DEFRA inspector’s requirements. FDA and DEFRA lay down a formal appeals process, with the establishment encouraged to contact the head of environmental health or trading standards services at the local authority, in a bid to resolve the problem through a meeting. The materials recorded using the inspection app comes in handy to track what exactly took place in the inspection. The app could also draw into the establishment’s database to confirm or refute the charges.

Marketing

The food inspection app can double up as a good marketing tool as well. Publishing the results of the inscription brings in much-needed transparency into the functioning of the food kitchen, and is the perfect way to assure patrons about the quality of the food and the establishments.

The investment for rolling out an inspection app pays back for itself within a few months, considering the manifold benefits on offer. However, the success of an inspection app depends on a sound design, and how well it is synced with the specific requirements and nature of the establishment. It pays to partner with ReachOut, which has a track record of executing field inspection and auditing app and software  for a host of establishments cutting across sectors.

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How a Mobile Inspection App can Help Your Business

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Today’s fast-paced and highly competitive business environment leaves no room for errors. Yet chances of errors are rife than before, considering production is now outsourced to different parts of the globe, and logistics plays a big role in the delivery of products across geographically dispersed dealers and customers. While outsourcing and e-commerce improve the bottom line, it raises a pressing challenge of maintaining product quality and integrity.

The advancements in communications and collaborative tools notwithstanding, physical inspections are still the only fail-safe method to ensure product quality and process integrity. As the adage goes, “a stitch in time saves nine.” Regular inspections smoke out errors or glitches at the source, enabling a prompt and thorough fix, without it traveling through the supply chain to blow up in the face of the customer, at times literally, as in the case of Galaxy Note 7.

Mobile Inspection App

Success, however, depends on not just conducting inspections but ensuring the inspection covers all bases.

Take retail, for example, the following are some crucial elements worth inclusion in quality inspection services:

  • Validating processes, equipment, and working conditions in shop-floors to meet  required standards in terms of ergonomics, fire safety precautions, electrical safety, corridor accessibility, and other factors
  • Inspecting the layout, display management, merchandising and other retail-critical functions, for adherence to laid-down norms
  • Random sampling of stock goods or raw materials and components, to establish product integrity and adherence to quality standards.
  • Tracking critical incidents and out of norm occurrences, to ensure timely resolution of all outstanding issues
  • Customer layaway forms, such as checking for accuracy of payments, balances, sending alerts, notifications, and more
  • Inspection on random sample of ready-to-ship or ready-to-sell goods, to check packing details in terms of quantity, size, and other specifications
  • Supervision of loading, shipping, and order processing processes, to ensure no glitches in logistics

It is not that organizations or stakeholders are ignorant of the uses or benefits of inspections. Rather, traditional paper based inspections have often been found wanting. Inspections are often seen as disruptive, generating processes on its own, and being error-prone in itself anyway, negating the very purpose.

Mobile Inspection App: A Savior

As in many other walks of life, mobility comes to the rescue. A mobile inspection app infuses a whole new world of accuracy and enhanced possibilities to the inspection process.

The creation of validation checklists in mobile inspection app ensures critical issues do not slip through the cracks, and processes meet the necessary quality standards. For instance, the checklist may validate whether the random sampling techniques deployed meet internationally recognized statistical random sampling techniques.

A mobile inspection app speeds up processes, ensuring relevant data reaches stakeholders across the value chain in real-time. For instance, uploading a photo of an error or glitch, with annotations, makes the issue explicit to the relevant team, and enable immediate remedial action.

Stakeholders can keep up with the requirements, or remain updated. The employee may log on to the inspection app, to validate compliance with all the required safety and quality processes. The top management, responsible for the factory operations, may check to ensure the shop-floor is compliant with all safety regulations.

Companies can leverage the power of big data, by placing data generated from audits and inspections to analytics. The insights help smoothen out process flow, optimize production schedules to match demand and reveal more.


Tweet: “The best inspection apps increase the visibility for  management, and make explicit trends and insights critical to the business.”
The best inspection app does not just offer a customized set of features to do a thorough job but is intuitive and user-friendly as well.


 

Reach-Out Suite is your trusted partner for developing solutions for quality inspection services. Leverage the expertise and experience of our talented team to conduct inspections and audits, manage work orders, and take your business to a whole new level.

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How Samsung Could Have Avoided the Note7 Blast with Quality Control and Facility Inspections

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Samsung had a sizzling blast in the aftermath of its Note 7 launch, but not exactly the type of blast it wanted. The Note 7 has burned down an SUV, wrecked houses, and threaten to blow up aircrafts. Internet memes portray it as an excellent substitute for hand grenades! As much as 96 devices have exploded or caused a fire in the few weeks, the Note 7 was in use. The US regulator records the phone causing 26 instances of burns and 55 instances of property damage, as on September 15.

Samsung made a recall of 2.5 million devices in early September, but it’s cup of woes ran over when even some of the replacement Note 7 apparently caught fire, forcing the company to halt sales and advise users to shut off their phones. As Samsung awaits results of the probe by U.S. safety regulators, the direct loss for the company is pegged at $17 billion. Far worse is the indirect loss in terms of reputation. The fallout will certainly extend to the brand’s other phones, and even other lines of business, such as the component business. The company is also certain to face lawsuits, claiming compensation for damages.

The fiasco could have many causes. While defective batteries are a possible cause, there is an outside chance of the US investors declaring the product as fundamentally flawed and ban the sale of the product. While many predict a replaceable battery could have saved the day, such speculations ignore the root-cause of the problem – inadequate quality check. Regardless of what causes the problem, an extensive quality check could have unearthed the issue. As Samsung’s case proves, for want of a shoe horse, the kingdom could be lost.

The business case for rushing the product was obvious. Samsung was in a race against time to launch Note 7 before rival LG V20, and iPhone7 hit the market. In any case, quality checks on the devices are reactive, but a facilities inspection could have made a proactive difference, and pre-empted the creation of such a defective product in the first place.

Enforcing strict quality control throughout the supply chain, and at every step of the product development cycle is an effective safeguard against such debacles.

Foolproof facilities inspection is a complex task and requires keeping track of many variables and an extensive checklist. Inspection software is a must to do a good job.

Good Inspection software offers:

  • A powerful scheduling tool to plan inspection, assign specific tasks to inspection teams, manage workloads and keep track of the tasks
  • Ability to define and implement an inspection route within a facility, to improve process efficiency.
  • Ability to define inspection locations, along with appropriate items to be inspected at each location
  • Dashboards with performance view and key metrics such as facility inspection state, corrective actions initiated and closed, and so on.
  • Checklists, defined and associated with the item to be inspected.
  • Ability to capture essential information, such as figures, dates, images, and more during the actual inspection process, and upload the same to the cloud
  • Ability to manage the inspection and ensure high levels of productivity.
  • Elimination of paperwork streamlined process, and app-based delivery of the inspection software

Samsung’s internal post-mortem reveals a flaw in the manufacturing process of the batteries, causing positive and negative electrodes come together. When energy-packed batteries, laden with combustible components separated by ultra-thin walls are subject to stress or overheat, the separators between positive and negative anodes fail, triggering a chemical reaction that spills out of control.  Tests at Applied Energy Hub battery laboratory in Singapore corroborate the same, showing the Note 7 exploding on the application of pressure to its fully charged battery.

Inspection and quality control at the manufacturing facility could have unearthed this issue or any other issue associated with Note7. Samsung could then have gone in for thick separators or other measures to prevent overheating, before releasing the product to the market, sparing itself the disaster. In fact, deployment of enough safety elements would have overcome even small manufacturing mistakes.

Avoid Samsung Note 7 explosion with Inspection App

It still requires carrying out facility inspection and quality checks in a thorough and professional manner. Reach Out is a simple yet powerful and comprehensive platform that allows you to manage inspections and audits. The suite comes with many intuitive features that allow facility managers to ensure high levels of accuracy and quality, and ship out totally error free products. Furthermore, our team of competent and experienced professionals partner with your product development team, and render valuable end-to-end assistance in all inspection and quality control matters, allowing you to focus on your core business.

Don’t let incidents such as the Note 7 fiasco take the wind out of your business. Reach out to us today to strengthen your inspections and testing, manage work orders and jobs, and process customer requests with ease.

 

Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay