Autumn has crept up on us and we are fast approaching the steady climb towards winter. Surveys, inspections and checks still need to be done during the winter and deadlines still need to be met. Clients still need to see reports and regulations need to be adhered to. But do you enjoy standing out in the cold on a windy day or inside a cold building clutching a pen and clipboard, or precariously holding a heavy laptop to complete a survey or inspection? Or what how about those of you who do have the luxury of using an app – is it working as quickly or easily as you would like it to be? Does it do what you need it to do without all the faff?
We’re going to look at our top 5 ways to speed up your reporting processes this winter so you can save yourself from frost bite!
At number 1 – Implement standardised reports
Consistency is key to speeding up any process and ensuring all reports cover the same format is crucial.
If different people or different teams are using different versions of reports or different reports all together because the left hand isn’t talking to the right hand, whilst it might not cause issues for the user of the report, it could cause problems for the person who has to sort the data or information.
Pulling together different reports to present information would be far easier if reports are in a standardised format across the business. It’s up to management to ensure this is put in place.
At number 2 – Call up the previous report and use it as a starting point
Rather than starting from scratch every time, make use of previously completed reports. Many reports are carried out on a regular basis so having to input the same information every time can slow you down. By calling up the previous report, you can still meticulously perform the report but save time by referring to the answer that was put in previously. If the data or information hasn’t changed, the answer can remain as is.
If answers are lengthy and require detail, this could reduce the time taken to do a report even by 10 minutes. Across a month, if this report is being carried out daily, that’s almost 4 hours per month saved.
At number 3 – Move away from spreadsheets and word docs
Instead of printing off reports to do them on paper, use online reporting – if you have a spreadsheet or a Word document utilise drop downs and multiple choice to save typing in responses. This also reduces typing errors as the answers are already input. This can be crucial further down the line when organising the information for management.
Even better than spreadsheets for this is to utilise a bespoke reporting online system that is designed to do what you need it to do. Input your question set and make use of yes/no response, multiple choice, uploading photos – pictures say a thousand words after all.
At number 4 – reduce the number of reports
Where possible, reduce the number of different reports there are. This might be easier than it sounds depending on the size of your business, but it will be worth it. When was the last time you reviewed what reports you carry out across the business? Are there reports that are being done that possibly don’t need to be or are being duplicated? Could all the information from two reports be combined into one and carried out in one visit? Perhaps there are two different departments carrying out similar reports. This could be an opportunity to merge reports and have one person or one team do the report.
At number 5 – switch to an online app
Switch to an online app that works for your business. Of course we’re going to drop this one in. Any manual process is going to take longer than one that’s automated. And that includes reporting. There’s a myriad of apps out there but not all of them will suit your needs. It’s up to you to decide which one will do what you need it to.
You can check out our handy 100 day planner to help you make the switch to a new way to report.
If you’d like to keep the frostbite at bay this winter, contact our UK based team to chat about switching to the INSPCT app.
Crawford Burns, INSPCT Commercial Manager.