5 Underrated Features to Look for in a Mobile Audit App
If your plant is considering implementing a mobile audit app, you probably have a list of standard features you need in a solution.
Automated scheduling, easy-to-use forms, and closed-loop issue management are typically some of the big ones, as well as custom reporting and dashboards for gaining real-time insights.
As you start digging deeper, however, it’s important to look at some often overlooked features that can have a big impact on the success of your rollout. Let’s take a look at 5 underrated features to consider and how your team can leverage them to improve quality and safety.
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1. Audit Photos
The ability to incorporate photos into audits can make checks more efficient and effective in several ways, including:
- Clarifying good vs. bad: It’s faster in many cases for an auditor to verify conformance with a visual standard rather than having to read and understand a written description.
- Reporting findings: When auditors identify a nonconformance, capturing the issue in a photo can provide critical context compared to trying to describe the problem with words.
- Preventing pencil-whipping: Some plants require auditors to include a photo in each audit. This ensures people actually complete audits on the plant floor and can’t just complete them from their workstations.
2. Conditional Questions
Conditional questions are those that trigger a follow-up question based on the response provided. Conditional questions can be helpful in many situations, including by providing more granular detail on non-conformances. A failed question on whether an operator is wearing the required personal protective equipment (PPE), for instance, could trigger additional questions on which types of PPE aren’t being worn to better inform what actions must be taken to correct the issue.
Conditional questions can also help quickly exclude non-applicable items, helping keep checks short while ensuring you’re getting relevant data. For example, you can ask a question on whether a forklift is even present in a work area before asking additional questions related to forklift safety.
3. Repeat Findings Indicators
When a question fails in a work area, knowing if it has failed recently can provide important insights. Repeat findings can indicate a systemic issue or unresolved problem. They can also show if previous auditors are missing issues, or if questions themselves are confusing or ambiguous.
Real-time visibility is essential here. With EASE, anytime a question fails in a given work area, every audit asking the same question in that location for 30 days displays a notice of prior findings. Auditors can see how many times the question has failed and who reported it, helping them find systemic issues faster and point to areas that may need formal corrective action.
4. On-The-Fly Finding Reporting
Another underrated feature to look for when evaluating mobile audit software is the support for any team member to log findings outside of scheduled checks. This kind of flexibility promotes quality and safety culture by allowing teams to:
- Record observed hazards or other safety observations on the plant floor
- Create incident reports to ensure proper follow-up on quality and safety events
- Notify maintenance of potential issues needing attention
- Recognize someone for a job well done
All in all, this function promotes a proactive approach to preventing problems, wherever they arise. It also enables everyone to take ownership of issues they find, so the entire team is more invested in quality and safety.
5. Vendor Support
While not exactly a product feature, one final factor to consider as you evaluate software options is vendor support. Often overlooked, this can make a huge difference in the value you get from your implementation. So what does robust support look like? Look for services such as:
- Guided setup to align the system with requirements and industry best practices
- Lean implementation process to get your program running quickly
- Multi-lingual staff and global presence to accelerate global deployments
- One-on-one training, open office hours, and administrative support for ongoing needs
Implementing mobile audit software can improve quality and safety outcomes while helping build connections among your entire team. A successful implementation all comes down to asking the right questions, finding a truly flexible solution, and having a vendor to streamline the process.
- Request a personalized EASE demo today to see how these 5 features can help transform your plant floor audits
Jason Holte is the senior product marketing manager for EASE, the innovative mobile platform that helps manufacturers simplify how they administer, conduct and respond to plant floor audits.
Jason began his career at The Behr Paint Company, a leading North American CPG manufacturer. It was at Behr that he developed a passion for enabling quality, safety, and productivity on the shop floor through the use of real-time insights into process and protocol adherence. He considers digital transformation essential to zero error, zero injury manufacturing.
A California native, Jason is a graduate of Concordia University Irvine.