The physical format of pen and paper evokes fond feelings of nostalgia in people, which is particularly notable considering that the digital age has mostly replaced it.
Texting and emailing have largely taken the place of the once-popular practice of letter writing. Typing notes instead of writing them by hand using a pen and paper has become more common. Using apps, even paper shopping lists are becoming more and more digitized.
Despite this, the use of pen and paper continues to be allowed during inspections. Is this because it is a legacy system that has been implemented for a long time and is challenging to alter, or is it because physical inspection forms provide an advantage?
We know that traditional pen-and-paper formats used to have an edge. Still, that advantage has been erased due to new technological developments.
This article discusses ten reasons why every business should think about making the transfer from traditional inspection methods like pen and paper to digital inspection systems.
Challenges of Using Traditional Physical Inspection forms
Pen and paper inspection forms are becoming extinct today as more sophisticated mobile technology becomes ingrained in our day-to-day lives. You can no longer turn a blind eye to these ten drawbacks of pen-and-paper inspection forms, which are listed below.
1) The Possibility of Suffering Physical Harm
Documentation stored in a physical location has the risk of being damaged by various hazards, including but not limited to water, fire, mold, termites, and so on. It implies that the only copy of your critical information might be lost at any time.
It’s true that you have the option of creating backup copies of the paper documents you use. However, doing so would not only waste time and resources that might be put to better use, but it would also exacerbate the next issue, which is storage.
2) Huge Need for Filing Space Due to Paperwork
When running a business, you’ve probably heard the adage that “time is money.” Space is another commodity in the business world that may be seen as analogous to monetary wealth.
The space of your business that you use to keep documents eventually becomes a useless place that does not contribute to generating money for your organization. This precious space may be used to expand your business by employing various methods, either directly or indirectly.
For instance, it may be used to enlarge the floor area of a factory or remodel it into a welcoming place for customers or staff members, improving morale and stimulating increased output.
3) Paperwork Might Provide Some Security Concerns
Even regarding inspections, every company must maintain a high level of data and confidentiality protection. The data on inspection sheets may include confidential information, such as contractors and inventories, the disclosure of which might be detrimental to the company.
It is simple to disappear without a trace when paper records are taken. Apart from that, it is also possible to make duplicates secretly without anyone’s awareness.
However, digital data may be encrypted before storing securely on hard drives, the cloud, or other electronic devices. Suppose there is a digital breach of any kind. In that case, digital footprints may help reveal who has accessed the information, which is helpful for investigations.
4) Lack of Ability to Adapt or Change
When you depend on pen-and-paper inspections, keeping your procedures up to date may be challenging. This is because any modification you make will need changes to the forms, necessitating redesigning, reprinting, and issuing new forms.
This constraint does not apply to digital inspection forms. You are free to make modifications at any moment. Those modifications will be immediately distributed and available to everyone else. A greater degree of flexibility makes it simpler for you to modify existing forms to meet the requirements of other departments and applications as and when they arise.
5) Finding the Information Might be Challenging
When using digital inspection tools or equipment, it is much simpler to look up information, recognize patterns, and generate reports with only a few clicks.
When all your documents are converted to digital format, you can conduct searches based on almost any criterion, including location, time range, department, or personnel. When you have a mound of papers to go through, doing this manually might take hours or even days.
6) More Time-Consuming and Room for Mistake
Scanning paper forms, producing copies, having meetings, attaching follow-up forms, browsing for records, analyzing data for patterns, and preparing summary reports; all require much more time due to the manual procedures involved in each of these activities. Also, as a process becomes time-consuming and laborious, it becomes more prone to errors on the part of humans.
In contrast, using digital records can help your organization save a lot of time and cut down on the number of errors caused by humans. Ultimately, this will enable everyone to concentrate on the more essential duties that will help your company expand.
7) Inaccessibility and a Lack of Visibility in Real-Time
In contrast to digital inspection forms, physical inspection forms can only be read by the individual who is physically in possession of a particular piece of document. Accessibility and visibility in real-time are both hindered as a result of this.
Meanwhile, it will require longer for the information on inspection forms to reach the hands of the individuals who can take the appropriate corrective or preventive measures or crucial business decisions if it is not accessible and visible in real-time.
8) A Laborious and Tedious Collaboration Process
Unlike digital inspection forms, collaborating becomes much more challenging and laborious when there is a lack of accessibility and visibility in real-time due to physical inspection forms.
Suppose you want to collaborate with pen-and-paper inspection sheets. In that case, you have to generate several copies and then distribute them to the team members. You may need to organize meetings so everyone can view the papers and have a conversation about them simultaneously.
This results in delays as well as meetings that are not essential. Besides, any further collaboration or choices taken will not be reflected in the original copy. They will instead need to be attached to the original document, resulting in a paper trail that only becomes longer and thicker.
9) No Task History Makes Editing and Tracking Difficult
It is simple to make changes to digital files. When it comes to editing on paper, using a pen may result in much clutter (not to mention unreadable handwriting, which can be difficult to read as well!). More crucially, no historical record shows who made adjustments and when they were done, which is information that might be quite valuable.
In addition, it is more difficult to construct a historical record of follow-up actions when using paper inspection forms. Adding follow-up forms to the paper trail creates more workload for everyone involved and results in an increased volume of documentation that has to be filed away.
10) Concealed Expenses
Even though digital inspection systems feature higher upfront costs, there are often no hidden charges that will catch you off guard. When maintaining physical forms, several expenditures are not immediately obvious, like the cost of printers, printer ink, sheet, storage, delivery, and so on.
Suppose any inspection forms need to be added to or updated. In that case, you will be responsible for the extra expenses associated with reproducing and distributing them. In addition, any old forms that have previously been printed are ultimately thrown away as garbage.
Moving Towards Digital Inspections!
Many of the industry’s most influential companies have switched to digital inspection systems because of the numerous advantages offered, including improved work efficiency, increased accuracy, enhanced security, greater flexibility, and a quicker resolution of corrective actions. In addition, these technologies assist businesses in managing their compliance requirements, streamlining their operations, and making better business decisions.
Contact us immediately if you’re interested in discussing the possibility of switching to a software program that manages inspections and projects.