Conduct your Public Works Inspections Online
Collect Data in Real-Time
Pen and paper inspections are quickly becoming a thing of the past – and county governments need to follow suit. Not only do inspections conducted by hand waste time on-site, the information input required to make the best use of data collected in the field is tedious and usually put off or ignored completely.
Collecting information from the field online and in real-time utilizing mobile devices is much more efficient. Having a connected, standardized data collection method also opens up the potential for comprehensive data analysis including root-cause analyses. Being able to identify a common string of incidents related to one stormwater management plant or bridge malfunction could uncover necessary steps that need to be taken to ensure a safe county environment.
Automate the Data Input
When someone is in charge of inputting inspection results by hand into a database or Excel spreadsheet, there is a potential for human error – forgetting a decimal, entering the wrong data point, etc. By automating this data input, users save time and ensure accurate reporting.
With cloud-based inspection systems, this process of inputting data into a central repository is automated and formatted so that no time is wasted.
Get Other Departments Involved
We learned from Howard County, MD that, though one storage tank went through multiple inspections by the county, these reports were being tucked away in various filing cabinets and nothing more was done with the information. Learn more about what their county Bureau of Facilities is doing to combat this.
Typically, county responsibilities cross over departments and fall under multiple directors. One facility or site could be inspected by three different departments. It is common that these departments are conducting inspections on their own but not sharing this information. Assess your department’s responsibilities and determine if there are any possibilities to work together with different departments. It may be helpful to map these responsibilities out, seeing who oversees what, their processes and what is done with data collected. Try some of the resources below to help in creating process maps:
Utilize Information Sharing
Now that you can visualize what is happening among departments regarding inspections, it’s time to start using this information to your advantage. The online inspection program you choose should allow for multiple users and access levels so you can begin to include other county departments in the new process of conducting inspections.
This way you are all on the same page, can share data, and communicate within the system as well. If you are conducting an electrical safety walkthrough on a county building, you should know that three days ago it had a power failure and may require a more thorough inspection.
If you switch to an online, cloud-based system the chances are you need to re-write your process maps because they have become less-complicated. With this new inspection process comes a new reporting process. No more filing cabinets! Once an inspection is conducted, configure custom workflows within your new system so that all of the correct employees are notified that an inspection has been completed and of any issues that need to be resolved. This includes employees in other departments – especially if you both inspect the same county site.
By migrating your inspections online, involving other relevant county departments and reporting on a consistent basis, you will improve the efficiency of your public works inspections leading to an overall safer and more prosperous county. Need some help getting started? We’ll be attending the MACoCon Summer Conference in August in Ocean City, MD or give Chad, our product specialist, a call at (703) 863-4883 to chat.