Enterprises looking to determine the benefits of developing mobile inspection apps can turn to an unlikely source to see just how effective those apps can be: State governments across the United States. As the article “Inspect a Drainage Ditch? There’s an App for That” for the Pew Charitable Trusts shows, moving from paper-based workflows to mobile apps have saved state inspectors countless hours of time and saved taxpayers millions of dollars a year. Any company considering building an inspection app should give it a read.
The article provides snapshots of how the inspection apps are used. In New York State, for example, horticultural inspectors used to have to lug heavy instruction manuals with them to plant nurseries, and then fill out reams and reams of paperwork. They did it that way for decades. The process, the article notes, was extremely time-consuming, inefficient, and frustrating.
All that changed when a mobile inspection app was developed. Inspectors now use an iPad to do the inspection and carry a small printer with them to print the results and give it to nursery owners. They can also use the app to view satellite imagery of the nursery or greenhouse, and to take photos. They can even use their fingers or stylus to draw in on image in order to “pinpoint problem areas, such as a group of dead trees or an insect infestation, rather than document it by hand on a form,” according to the article.
The result? The article notes: “By helping inspectors track trends and respond more quickly to potential threats, the apps help ensure that consumers are buying high-quality plants and trees that don't carry diseases.”
There are also benefits for the agency that does the inspections, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Margaret Kelly, an assistant director of the agency, said, “The paperwork nightmare is gone. Now, inspectors can spend their time looking at plants and using their horticultural knowledge, as opposed to shuffling papers.”
The article covers the benefits that many other states have gotten from moving from paper-based inspections to app-based ones. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources turned to an app to conduct its annual inventory of 10 percent of the state’s 4 million acres of state forests. Doing that used to take 40 percent of state forester’s time. Use of the app cut that time in half.
And the state of Pennsylvania has saved $27 million in administrative costs in two years by moving to a mobile app for inspecting road construction. In addition to the monetary benefits, the inspectors no longer need to travel back to their offices to get important data — they get it from the field using the mobile app.
If your company is looking to figure out how much it might save by building inspection apps, the article is well worth a read.
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