Quality Automation

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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. 

For organisations with highly complex field workflow