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Imagine this scenario:

You’re in the middle of a production line and a major incident occurs. Before you can hand in your paper form, you have to exit a clean area and follow a fixed process that takes up valuable time. Worse still, you’ve now got just mere moments to capture that urgent and all-important information. Is that paper form really the most efficient and reactive enough solution?

Whilst the limitations of paper forms and documents are obvious, many of us still use them every day of our working lives. But they can make it a real struggle to report (in a timely fashion) all the necessary information in a way that is consistent, easily readable and detailed enough for all the relevant parties.

forms

What’s the solution?

Given all the mobile technology currently available (phone, tablets, apps etc), there is very little reason not to embrace the flexibility, accuracy and freedom offered by modern ways of capturing data.

Using an electronic form can help you break the 4th wall and enable you to move away from traditional paper reporting methods to quickly capture accurate information in a consistent and easily-readable format.

Using drop-down menus, you can ensure answers are consistent and always aligned to the most relevant option. Poor or ineligible handwriting will also no longer be a problem.

If you need to exit an area quickly, there’s no worries as your electronic form will already have been completed – with the information able to be passed ahead to those who need it (if required).

Gathering evidence via an electronic form can allow you to add real-life pictures, helping to prove the work you have carried out on site, with digital signatures required for the acceptance.

When in everyday use, the ability to add details in a form which is not restricted by space (like on a paper document) or use dynamic questions can allow you to react to previous answers. Not only can this save massive amounts of time, it can also offer a quick return on your investment by reducing paper and printing costs.

What else can data capture do for you?

As you would expect, there’s far more to data capture than just electronic forms.

If used in combination with a structured information management system, the combined processes they offer will allow you to enjoy even greater increases in productivity – thanks to concise automated storage and accurate audit recall. Combine this with workflow processes and you can ensure proactive tasks are generated by a simple form submission or used to initiate the start of a document ready for release. The possibilities – and cost savings – are endless.

If this doesn’t encourage you to move to electronic forms, think about the frustration you’ll feel the next time you’re in the middle of a production floor (or freezing cold field!) and struggling to interpret your colleague’s handwriting.

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