It’s 2020 in America and the reality is that the health and safety of our communities are at risk, and the looming threat of a repeat disastrous event like Flint, Michigan happening in our nation isn’t just growing stronger each and every day, it’s imminent. Watchdog reports tell a dark story as they expose scary facts like one in five schools has not met the EPA’s safe drinking requirements, or one in nine bridges is structurally unsound, or one in six Americans gets food poisoning each year.
These staggering statistics beg the question — How government agencies can disrupt the status-quo to stop public mass calamities like these from impacting our communities and affecting those we hold dear? The answer can be found with the brave men and women who do the thankless job of conducting tens of millions of inspections around the country each year. This group of enforcement and compliance organizations acts as the first line of defense against our crumbling infrastructure, wildly slashed government budgets and negligent entities who put their profits in front of public safety.
The same way that police officers enforce the law by patrolling our streets, there is a nation-wide network of federal, state, and local inspectors representing nearly every government agency. Just as officers are empowered to issue fines for speeding or making life-saving arrests from those conducting illegal activities, government inspectors issue fines when dangerous toxins are identified in a public water system. These highly skilled workers are invested in their work protecting our communities yet most are using outdated processes, pen and paper data collecting practices and error-prone manual methodologies which are keeping them from meeting the ever-growing demands of protecting public safety.
These inspectors are able to use their personal phones to pull up mapping apps to avoid traffic getting to their office, send photos of a cool sunrise to their spouse, launch an impromptu video chat with their kids, access last week’s grocery list to have food delivered to their house while they are at work. Yet, none of this technology is available to them to use in their work life. In fact, Facebook has more data and collaboration tools than inspectors are given to work with.
Most inspections are performed the same way they were decades ago. That means many processes are still paper-based, or simple excel-like checklists and require mountains of hours spent in-office conducting manual, inefficient and error-prone data entry. The result is that inspection backlogs pile up, critical violations go undetected, fraudulent activities go unseen and communities and businesses suffer from increasing risks to public health and employee safety. The use of future-forward technologies like AI, RPA, and Machine learning in the inspection processes is long overdue.
However, modernizing the inspection process is more than putting a form on a tablet, the edge leading to true digital transformation comes from future-proofing these processes. Soley arming inspector with a mobile device and digital checklists do nothing to utilize the true power of big data and AI on that device. What inspection organizations need is the technology that digitizes the inspection process from the field to the back office so that it is data-driven to be predictive, proactive and automated. This is what we are doing at ARInspect.
The ARInspect Digital Inspections and Monitoring platform include:
- Mobile Inspection Application: For use in the field, inspectors have access to all needed information and supporting materials via a mobile device. Likewise, they use an intuitive interface, designed around their specific workflow, to capture needed data in the field and send it immediately back to the office. The application includes checklists, photos, maps, communication with regulated businesses, as well as integration with office networks for in-field data access.
- Back-Office Portal: Via this portal, management can prioritize high-risk inspections and more effectively map routes. It also enables immediate visibility into inspection results and action items while inspectors are still in the field.
- Risk indicators and scores — Applying algorithms to inspection data, geographic data, facility data, equipment data and more, ARInspect can quantify the risk associated with failure of each site under inspection. This can include compliance risk (chances a violation will be found) and environmental health and safety risk (risk to the community should something fail).
- Visibility into best-fit scheduling — ARInspect provides recommendations for the best inspector based on their history with the site or similar sites. It also provides insight into productivity by inspection type and the team as well as workload per inspector.
- Citizen Portal: Business owners and facility managers can now access their previous inspections and enforcement actions. In addition, they are also able to correspond with the inspectors and submit follow up documents. Inspector’s mailboxes are no longer cluttered and nothing falls through the cracks. All corrective action messaging and filing can be automated to the enforcement entities’ satisfaction.
If you are interested in learning more about the future of inspection workflow, contact us today for a demo and hear about the impact the technology is having on our customers’ efficiency and job satisfaction.