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Quality Automation

October 3, 2022Field Service Software

I saw this headline, insurers paying hundreds of millions from a mistake in wording – something slipping through the cracks. This example and a client conversation last week prompted me to write this. Investing in quality, to reduce the chance of things slipping through the cracks is not glamorous work, it takes effort. But it’s so important. I haven’t forgotten how one client put it to me quite a few years ago when I asked him how he was able to get Exec approval for his business case. He told me the business case was easy, because stopping just one incident, one thing that might slip through and cause havoc, recovers the investment many times over.

A multi-year field service cleanup

I have seen the time and effort that is needed to remediate when something slips through the cracks – like a faulty product or incorrect installation. A couple of years ago our software was used to manage a large audit and remediation program, spanning thousands of sites. Naturally, very specific information needed to be captured, with photographic evidence and time stamped history at each step along the way. Emvisage was a perfect fit and this organisation was able to quickly mobilise field technicians across Australia, to get this important program completed on time. Keeping both the internal stakeholders and external authorities happy. 

The brunt of the work was finished in months, but more cases were discovered in pockets over the next two years. So, closing out the long tail took some time. Seeing the multi-year effort needed certainly gives an appreciation for getting field service work right the first time. 

Safety and line of sight

Getting back to the client conversation last week. This client supplies equipment into the manufacturing industry. One of their downstream partners had an incident while completing the final steps of production. Fortunately, no one was badly hurt. The site needed to be shut down as WorkSafe completed their investigation and our client was able to log in to Emvisage and supply everything needed. Time stamped verification tests, completed checklists and photographs showing where cabling was located – which was all correct and exactly as it should be. 

WorkSafe and our clients’ partner were grateful that everything upstream was logged and crystal clear in Emvisage. This helped them to quickly diagnose the cause and rectify their process so it couldn’t happen again in the future.  Our client told me that although the incident was with a downstream partner and nothing to do with the quality of his team’s work, he was so glad they had Emvisage for their job management. 

So what is quality automation? 

These two experiences underscore how important quality is, especially with any sort of detailed field service work like equipment installation or maintenance. Most clients have a JSA or equivalent safety forms digitised in our software, but it’s the next layer of customisation in Emvisage that is the big enabler of safe and compliant work.  Where smarts, logic and contextual reminders embedded into the work forms and process, help field technicians to do the work exactly as it should be. We call this ‘Quality Automation’. 

At Emvisage we love the better-known automation areas like document automation, workflow, journey automation and the productivity leaps they deliver. But I think for some time we haven’t been giving enough recognition to the unsung hero, ‘Quality Automation’. One Emvisage client found that this reduced their QA (Quality Assuranace) overhead by more than 65%. The way he put it:

‘Before we would spend so much time reviewing…..Now it’s so ingrained in the forms. They are no longer just fields or forms, they are guides. It allows us to communicate with field tech’s without actually talking to them. Actually guiding the field tech’s, have you done this? What about this? They don’t really call us anymore, there is no need.’

Quality is critical for safety, but it can also boost efficiency. Less rework, less additional site visits to schedule - less frustration. But we can’t forget it’s also a must have for happy customers. No customer likes having to get issues remediated. In one strike it can undo everything positive that came before and weigh heavily on NPS (Net Promoter Scores) and word of mouth referrals. 

It’s takes effort, but it’s good work

This last week talking with clients has been so enlightening, as it always proves to be. Hearing their stories made me proud of the team here and our clients. It takes effort to build software that is powerful enough to do this, especially without costing an arm and a leg. It takes effort from clients to think through, to take the time to really get this right - to automate it. Knowing that together we are ensuring field work of the highest quality, keeping field teams and people safer – that’s good work if you ask me.

Cam Milnes

Do you want to dive a bit more into quality automation or workflow automation? Drop us a note, it might be a game changer for your organisation. 

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