Remote data collection with mobile devices is providing huge benefits improving workflows across almost every industry. The replacement of obsolete data collection systems such as paper and Excel is just the first step for companies in industries like produce and manufacturing. But remote mobile data collection is just the beginning of a journey towards a much deeper transformation. One of the areas you can quickly create improvements in is the management of remote teams. The rest of this short article will describe just some of the ways mobile data collection techniques and technologies can help managers more effectively manage remote teams.
Mobile Data Collection Ensures Your Employees are At a Specific Location Performing Tasks with RFID, Camera and GPS
Mobile data collection ensures your employees are performing the required tasks. All phones and tablet have the ability to take photos, use the built in GPS, bar code and RFID scanners. With the click of a button or the bump of the phone you can capture:
- GPS information
And all this can be done instantaneously.
The KipTraq application builds on this data collection by automating emails and text messages automatically set for distribution for:
- Completion of tasks
- Failed inspections or audits
- Flagging irregularities
When you have employees that are not sitting at a desk, when they’re out on the production room floor, when they’re out in the field, sometimes shortcuts are taken. These short cuts could potentially result in broken equipment, downtime, recalls, or worse.
With KipTraq all of your mission critical tasks can be monitored in a variety of ways.
- If you’re outdoors, you can use GPS for turn-by-turn navigation to a ranch or a field. As your user walks through the field to do the inspection, you can optionally track them and show them the path that they walked through field.
- You can require staff to take pictures that are automatically geo-tagged at any location to ensure they are actually at that location, doing that task.
- If somebody is inside a production facility, GPS doesn’t work with any accuracy. In this case you can use KipTraq’s RFID solution. You can place an inexpensive asset tag on a piece of equipment, and the only way a user can log an inspection on that piece of equipment is if they physically bump that tag. This is great for things like hourly checks on production lines.
They are all nice simple ways of proving that your employee was actually at that place, at that time.
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Automated Time Stamps Allow You to Track When the Work is Accomplished
When an employee uses the camera, RFID or Barcode and that asset tag, we now know when the user was at the location or completed the task.
Geo-Fencing and/or Time Stamps Enforce That Critical Work Is Not Fabricated
If an employee is visiting a piece of equipment, like a pump that does not move, you can use the GPS built into the employee’s phone to require that they are within a 50-foot radius of that pump to log any data. All these pieces can be integrated in multiple ways to ensure your employee was at the right place at the right time, capturing the required data and completing the required task and the manager knows they are doing what they are supposed to do.
Quality and safety inspections are often a critical and time sensitive management priority because they require a timely response. Mobile data collection makes this much easier to accomplish.
For example, when collecting temperatures, you can see if a check has taken place. You can also immediately be notified if a temperature is too low or too high. Similarly if it’s a quality inspection, and the quality is below what you require or a threshold is breached:
- It’s very easy to track when the threshold is breached
- You can automatically send an email or text to notify others of the breach
- You can require a photograph of the breach
- You can require the next step to ensure the breach is corrected
- You can require that more data is collected and send notifications with that data for corrective action
How Mobile Data Collection Increases Accountability
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Not all notifications to management need to be immediate. In some cases, exception-based reporting is enough. KipTraq automates exception-based reports. They can be sent to your team as frequently as you like (daily, weekly, etc).
Streamlines Bulk Sign Off
Often a key management task for supervisors is signing off on data logged by their employees. In areas such as food production, due to regulations such as the Food Safety Modernization Act, this is especially crucial.
A mobile data collection tool now allows you to:
- Log into one system
- View all the data in one place
- Examine exceptions
- View outliers
- Check time stamps
- Drill into additional details
- Sign off on dozens of transactions with a single click
All this is accomplished with an audit trail to prove every single action had a time step and was documented appropriately.
Easier to Train Staff of Changes, Onboard New Staff and Increase Customer Satisfaction
You may have a new product. You may have a customer that now requires increased safety inspections or additional checks. With mobile data collection you can program that workflow directly into the digital form. The application than walks the employee through the data collection process and will not allow them to complete the entire task until the necessary steps occur and all the data is collected.
So rather than having to train and educate each employee individually on process changes, you can simply embed and update that logic directly in the app. In addition, as discussed above, you can also use the GPS, RFID and barcode tools for increased verification that an event took place to confirm with your customers that appropriate inspections have occurred.
Streamlines Reporting and Analysis
There is a great deal of mobile data collection tools available on the market. They will allow you to capture data and possibly even configure what kind of information you capture. Where KipTraq really shines with our specialization in Food Production and Manufacturing is that we don’t simply capture the data and present it to you in a PDF or a spreadsheet. We provide interactive tools that allow your managers to do a deep dive and analyze that information. You can quickly:
- Find quality trends and seasonal trends
- Identify outliers, both positive and negative
- Sift through tens of thousands of transactions to isolate what is important
Once you have analyzed the data it can be visualized against any field in an infinite amount of ways. In time series, by products, by thresholds. And this visualization can be done in fields, bar charts, graphs and heat maps. The possibilities are endless.
KipTraq can also be programmed for immediate distribution or easily shared in PowerPoints, Word Document, PDFs or pushed to the Web.
Automated Reporting Online Demo
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A flexible and configurable mobile data collection platform not only makes data collection a very quick and easy process for the people doing it, but once the data is collected, it sorts the information and delivers it to stakeholders as needed. Using the proper tools can make your processes more efficient and your data more accurate and insightful, allowing your organization to grow and meet its goals more efficiently. To learn more about KipTraq or to see how it can be customized for your need please contact us for a custom demo.