2017 // PQS
“How can we use technology to increase our workflow efficiency, reduce risk, improve our offering towards our employees and clients?”
PQS is a company that offers improved security for electrical installations in all types of commercial buildings, including large national hospitals and supermarkets. Based on government standards, PQS certified inspectors assess sites and electrical installations and make detailed reports on deviations and call-to-action for their clients.
The old workflow required an inspector to manually write checklists on paper while in the field inspecting a site. Inspectors would also photograph deviations with cameras or mobile phones. After the inspection the employee would return back to base to import photos from their device to their desktop and then transfer their checklist notes into templated Excel sheets. By placing the Excel sheets and photos in specific folders, they would use Excel macros written by own staff to export the data to a report. Only one member of staff would know how to use and tweak the macros due to its complexity. The end report would be manually uploaded to a directory where their clients could access it.
All in all a cumbersome process for the existing employees and a barrier of entry for new employees. A lack of proper report versioning was apparent. For the management the workflow didn’t give the sufficient intelligence and insight into the work conducted. Statistics to help price new jobs and to follow up the ROI for clients after inspections and call to actions were harder to assemble. Also, the staff would manually have to account for the correct report and deviation versioning, making it possibly less pleasant for management on future audits.
Purpose and scope
The purpose and scope of the project was to create a system for managing PQS checklists together with a mobile app for inspectors to be used for data collection during field operation.
After the initial consultation the following goals were identified:
For the mobile app:
• Digitize the field work for inspectors by providing them with a native mobile app
• Let inspectors complete the full job in the field with no need for post-field work
For the cloud platform:
• Automatic report generation and versioning
• Automatic report and deviation numbering for compliance with internal process and audit obligations
• Making all unintuitive “system know-how” and manual post field work processes redundant including Excel macros
• Let administrators and employees have a clean platform for managing clients, sites, standards and deviation classifications
• Structured backbone and data APIs enabling future platform extensions and business opportunities
• Improved insight and statistics for management
The digitized workflow
Today the inspectors do all their reporting via a lightweight iOS app and the collected data is synchronized to a cloud platform where all checklists and reports are managed. Since inspectors often find themselves inside installations where network connection is limited, offline support secures predictable access to necessary data and that information is synchronized and securely stored in the cloud as soon as the inspectors are back online.
Business rules are taken care of under the hood so that new employees will get faster up to speed. Risks have been mitigated and audit is no longer an inconvenience. Management has better overview and insight.
At the end of the day the solution is not only a digitized workflow, but a new digital foundation that enables PQS to seek new business opportunities with their platform and extend their services.
Counseling, concept and design, end-to-end specifications and documentation, system architecture, native iOS app development, backend and web platform development, QA, user testing & maintenance.