The use of resource scheduling software helps regulatory agencies in the process of planning, managing and allocating resources in a way that follows the optimisation goals of the agency. An inspection team leader can do effective inspection tracking and aid his decision making to keep the agency’s operational costs below a certain level. The use of field resource scheduling tool for high-risk regulatory inspections is vital for the long term efficiency of the regulators.

Here are 6 reasons why:

1.Visible results, no matter what the workload is

The results of effective resource allocation are equally visible when we’re dealing with large volumes of work or a small volume of tasks. In both types of organisations – large and small, inspection team leaders are improving their planning efforts by making smarter decisions about resource assignments. No matter what is the size of the regulatory agency – the adoption of a field resource scheduling tool is always a good idea.

Related: How to find the best resource management software for inspections?

2.  Save operational costs

Field resource scheduling is important when it comes to allocating a limited number of resources to a growing backlog of inspections. The use of an inspection management platform with a risk scoring algorithm can help team leaders to allocate resources on the field only to high-risk inspections while assigning self-inspection to low-risk enquiries. Making this digitally ensures that team leaders will assign tasks to resources with a relevant skill set and everyone will be notified about it in real-time. Reducing the error rate in field inspection scheduling will result in reducing the operational field inspections costs.

Related: Achieving measurable ROI from resource management – everything you need to know.

3. Improve efficiency

If the same number of inspectors can complete inspections faster, with less driving time between jobs, less stress and less effort, this will eventually make inspectors more motivated and more productive. Team leaders always have visibility on workload and can additionally tackle balance to keep each member of the team productive without overloading his time.

4. Control the time better

How much is the driving time between jobs? What if it can be reduced via route optimisation? Then the resources can have the opportunity to spend less time driving and the prediction of time that’s needed for task completion be more accurate.

Related: The benefits of route optimisation in field inspections

5. Achieve workload balance

Even if we use the smartest field resource scheduling tool on earth, sometimes an inspection will run over schedule. Team leaders will have to quickly design a new work schedule with minimum disruption in the task orchestration.
The use of a proper resource & schedule management software can help regulators reassign overload tasks to inspectors with more capacity and spare those who are overloaded. Achieving this kind of balance is important for having a motivated and effective inspection team.

Related: How resource optimisation boosts task management?

6. Eliminate risks

Planning inspection schedules with priority over high-risk inspections will lead to less risk and improved safety standards. Assigning self-inspections to low-risk cases is going to take the unnecessary burden from the inspector’s shoulder and will help them focus only on field tasks with high-risk scores.

Related: How to implement resource scheduling tool in inspection workflow?

Do you want to have a free product tour with Canalix and see first-hand what our resource scheduling tool can help you achieve? Contact us now.

The smart use of resources is a crucial part of effective regulatory inspection management. If human resources such as inspectors are scarce, and the number of inspection requests progressively grows, the regulatory function of any agency would suffer.

How do we solve the human resource scarcity in regulatory inspections?

The most obvious answer would be to raise the number of available resources. However, that would also cost more. The use of public expenses requires regulators to spend them wisely. The efforts to improve efficiency should be directed not at acquiring new resources but rather on managing existing resources more optimally. In inspections, it requires good inspection planning and scheduling, because mismanagement of resources can easily lead to waste and less efficiency. 

Related: Resource optimisation and regulators – the good practices from the private sector

Good news for regulators looking forward to resource optimisation

Regulators that want to optimise their resource management can choose among different resource optimisation software tools. The variety of solutions may be overwhelming, so the process of research is a bit of a challenge. If you type “What’s the ideal resource management tool for regulatory inspections” on google, you’ll hardly find a good answer. 

Related: Implementing resource scheduling software in the inspection workflow

Let’s try to answer these questions ourselves in this improvised guide. What can we consider as a good option for resource optimisation software? Which are the resource management features that an inspection planning software should offer? But before starting with these questions, let’s start with the WHY.

Why do regulators need resource management tools?

With resource management software regulators can reach a higher level of efficiency by utilising the existing resources better. A good resource management tool enables team leaders in regulatory agencies to keep track of who’s doing what and therefore make better decisions about resource allocation.

A resource management software like Canalix’s Jobtimizer is helping regulators to schedule and assign inspections to available resources – inspectors. As part of the platform CANALIX, Jotbtimizer can take resource scheduling to the next level by using an automated inspection risk scoring system and assign high-risk cases with priority over low-risk cases. This helps in deploying the workforce at the right time to the right place – whether it will be an on-site inspection, virtual remote inspection or self-inspection.

Related: The intersection point between remote inspections and resource allocation optimisation.

The use of an inspection management platform that combines resource scheduling, case management, project management, etc. is important for regulators because using a separate tool for each of these objectives is too time-consuming and can harm the productivity of inspection teams.

So in a nutshell, regulators need resource management tools to ensure optimal resource utilisation, transparency, control and foreseeing problems.

How to identify a regulator-friendly resource management software?

To begin with, resource scheduling is not just assignment operations. It’s more than that. How can you identify a resource optimisation solution that works well for the regulatory inspection objectives? Here’s a checklist with the most important resource scheduling features:

  • Full visibility on inspections – performance, tracking and analytics. Having full visibility on inspection teams helps leaders to pipeline their pending inspections and help inspectors to complete crucial tasks in time. Also, having good visibility on inspection performance via dashboard helps to reduce errors and always allocate the right resource to the right task.

inspection management analytics software

  • Paperless planning. Managing a physical calendar and filling it with the schedules of inspectors is an unnecessarily complicated task. The digital era changed this for good. But is it enough? No, it isn’t. Resource management tools like Jobtimizer are going the extra mile and transfer all of the scheduling and paper-based operations in the cloud. It means that inspectors always have access and back up to their schedules, and also – they get updates real-time.

inspection case management

  • High configuration – one of the definitions that describe Jobtimizer best is its’ high configuration. What does a high configuration resource management software mean? It means that regulators can speed up their inspection processes by easily integrating the software with other platforms so that efficiency can remain high.

Resource planning on SaaS inspection platform

When speaking of resource management, there are two types of software solutions – SaaS and installed on-premise software. The cloud-based SaaS inspection software can be used on any device, no matter where. While the on-premise installed software has limitations in that regard. 

Related: How resource optimisation improves task management in regulatory inspection

Since regulatory inspections require lots of fieldwork and mobility, SaaS resource management software is the more recommended option. It delivers the required freedom and flexibility to ensure convenience for inspectors and inspection teams.

How to find a resource planning tool? Where do we search? How do we compare prices?

Almost every research starts by typing a question in the google search bar. Many software marketplaces provide brief descriptions of different products. Comparing between features and reviews is easy, but also -trying the free trial / live-demo version is important before jumping to any conclusion based on automated comparison via a marketplace.

Related: Is inspection optimisation a risky digital transformation project?

Conclusion

It doesn’t matter if a regulator performs 5 000 or 50 000 thousands inspection a year. In both cases, resources must be managed intelligently. By following this guide, regulatory agencies can easily find a decent inspection management system for their resource optimisation objectives and deploy it successfully for better inspection management.

If you want Canalix to do the first steps for you, contact us now.

The smart use of resources is crucial for the economic growth of one of the most successful products in the United States. Uber, Airbnb, etc. are just some of the examples of  innovative products that employ technology to optimise the allocation of existing resources under a set of constraints. The entrepreneurial spirit of that kind spreads to the public sector as well, even though there it has its own challenges.

The so-called optimising economy impacts the public sector in a unique way. Government structures are trying to keep up with the trends, but at the same time, they are extra careful not to disrupt the existing procedures that are designed to maintain public safety. If we look at the government regulatory sector, we’d see a lot of opportunities for optimisation that match the trends in the economy via better resource allocation and asset optimisation.

Related: Remote inspections as the key to reopening the EU economy

What’s the common between optimising economy sectors?

Looking at the private sector and optimising economy products such as Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, etc., we can identify three pillars of optimisation: 

  • Customisation
  • Automated data analysis
  • Distributed resources.

These three pillars are transferable to the public sector’s optimisation effort as well. But for their potential to be fully realised, some challenges must be overcome.

Challenges for the regulators

The optimising economy, in a nutshell, can be explained in terms of contextualising – to turn an existing process into a better version of itself – to utilise resources smartly and realise the hidden potential of resources that haven’t been used before. However, governments are not good at contextualising, they are good at standardisation (to make rules that are equal for everyone). However, standartisation and generalisation are keeping government at bay to resist customisation – one of the three pillars of the optimising economy. Therefore the gap between the technological advancements in the private sector and the public sector grows. 

Optimising the government and the regulators – the example of the USA

The growing gap between customisation in the private sector and the standardisation in the public sector is one of the big challenges for governance in the US economy. It’s interesting to see how a country with well developed economy that relies on technologies such as cloud, AI, machine learning and data analytics is adopting the same technologies to optimise its regulatory resources better.

The US government’s challenges towards resource allocation optimisation

Since the use of computer systems is present in all government structures, one must think that it would be easy to optimise the regulatory inspection process. However, to achieve that, one must find a way to combine databases across the federal government and use AI to turn regulatory inspections into a more efficient process. Looking at this challenge Adam Finkel and Richard Berk at the Penn Program on Regulation have shown that the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration could improve its targeting of inspection resources dramatically by combining and applying AI, machine learning and data-driven automation to disparate governmental and private-sector databases. This analysis serves as an example of where the road to optimising the regulatory sector could start from and how challenges can be confronted. Some US regulators like the Environmental Protection Agency are considering how remote sensing can be used for improving regulatory monitoring. This on the other hand is an example for creativity as a mean to optimise the government sector.

Related: What resource optimisation means for regulators after the pandemic is over?

Conclusion

The major limitations for more optimal government are the resource constraints. Confronting resource constraints is a key factor for optimising public services. Creativity also has a big part in the equation for a more optimised government. Canalix as an inspection optimisation system helps regulators overcome the challenges that stand in their way to growth and efficiency – not only in terms of digital infrastructure but also in the creative part. For example, regulators that use Canalix for inspection planning and resource allocation improved their smart work by introducing remote inspections and self-inspections in the optimisation equation.

Watch how they did it in our video:

The past 15 months were full of transformation milestones for regulators and inspection teams in big organisations. However, the next 5, 10 and 15 months are not going to be any less different in terms of reaching new milestones, because the economic sectors stood still and now started reopening again. 

What does returning to normal means for regulators and inspection teams?

As we already touched on a previous topic, adopting a new inspection model was and still is crucial for the reopening of the economic sectors that were closed during the peak covid-19 waves. Increasing the capacity of resources by hiring more inspectors, more gadgets and more stuff may sound like a natural effect of the increased inspection workload. But resource optimisation of the existing finite resources is the smartest decision.

The big question is how regulators can deliver an increased level of customer support in an environment of a growing inspection workload, finite resources and inspection teams that are adapting to new operational models?

When speaking of digital transformation, we should always keep in mind that public sector regulators are rarely the first movers in adopting new and innovative inspection models compared to other sectors like insurance risk inspection & claims, financial inspections, etc. So when we consult our clients from the regulatory sector, very often we have to explain to them why resource optimisation is not a high-risk digital transformation project by giving them practical directions that can lead them to successful adoption of resource optimisation.

Here are some of them:

Regulators in different states are at a different level of digital maturity. For some of them, resource scheduling and optimisation is the first move towards digital transformation, for others, it is thе next step after digitising their case management system. Regulatory agencies must plan not only their first digital transformation step but also their next steps in that regard. If they digitise the regulatory case management process in 2021, they must have a plan for digitising the resource scheduling and inspection planning in 2022 and 2023. Expanding the digital transformation scope must be done with the right partners who have industry expertise and can help regulators move their process gradually on one platform. Whenever they decide to adopt an inspection allocation optimisation system into their operations, they will have a readiness that will lower the risk of failure.

  • Change the service mode into a more user-oriented experience.

With or without pandemic, the public sector services faced a trend toward improving the customer experience for citizens and businesses. However, the post-pandemic expectations for a more digital and value-driven user experience have raised. In the regulatory inspections aspect, it means that users are more accustomed to receiving real-time insights into inspection resolution timelines. If regulatory agencies are going to keep improving the user service, they will have to start planning the introduction of more visibility for the inspected entities. This is extremely valid for organisations that embrace the self-service and remote inspection models. Optimising resource scheduling is one side of the coin towards regulatory process optimisation. The other side is having a well-informed end user with whom to realise the digital moment that the inspection management platform is creating.

  • On-site inspections must be dynamic.

Even though complex and high-risk inspections must be conducted on-site, it doesn’t mean that their process should not include self-service points as an alternative to unexpected issues like blocked access to an inspection point, etc. Having an alternative solution for unexpected disruptions during on-site inspections to avoid shutting down the whole inspection is what makes sense to reach inspection resolution on time, as planned resource-wise.

Regulatory inspections are more prone to change now than in the past few years. Acceleration in the digital transformation strategy is advancing throughout the regulatory sector. This means that inspection teams must be encouraged to deliver value while also learning to work in a new operational model. Following these three directions is a sure way to bring the digital transformation efforts to their expected realisation with low risk of failure.

Canalix is an inspection management platform that helps regulators to transform their inspection process effectively. Contact us now to help you transform yours.

One of the major shifts in inspection management that happened in the past 15 months was the mass adoption of the remote inspections model. The remote inspection management allowed regulators to efficiently comply with travel restrictions and pandemic safety regulations. It also enabled them to apply successful resource allocation optimisation.

What did regulators found in the remote inspection model?

Regulators saw an opportunity to improve the quality of their inspection services and to develop a new customer-friendly way for performing low and medium risk inspection.

Related: Why remote inspections are important for the reopening of the EU economy?

Of course, the pandemic didn’t invent remote inspections. The digital transformation of the inspection management model has been around for some time. So there comes the question: why this revolution happened now? Why not in 2010? The reason for that is mostly psychological – redefining the operational processes is a big step for conservative organisations such as public sector regulators. The pandemic was the trigger that provoked this major shift and made the change necessary.

How remote inspections are boosting resource allocation optimisation?

Adopting a remote inspection model can happen fast. But obtaining value and connecting the new inspection model to optimised resource allocation techniques, requires thought and time. How do we make sure that remote inspections will deliver resource optimisation value?

Set KPIs

When we talk about resource allocation optimisation, we should know what resources we’re aiming to optimise. If we look for an intersection point between remote inspections and resources, then it would be cutting the cost of inspections and improving the quality of completed work.

In that case, public sector regulators will have to set KPIs to measure the success of resource allocation optimisation. The adoption of the remote inspections model is the perfect time for optimisation of that kind. Possible KPIs will include reduced time spent on travel, cutting travel costs, increasing the number of completed inspections, reduced number of pending cases in the backlog, etc.

Help inspectors and case managers embrace the needed change

The adoption of the remote inspections model requires changes from the human resource’s end. Inspectors need to convert their inspection M.O. into a remote version, specific criteria must be set about which inspection case is eligible for remote inspections and which not so that case managers can make sense of this new prioritisation.

Related: Remote video inspections – benefits, constraints and risks

What are the pain points inspectors should focus on while adopting the remote inspection model? For example, an inspector who performs a remote inspection may need to ask the customer on the other end to interact with an object. A pre-defined list with the higher risk areas may serve as a good guide for the remote inspections. The digitalisation of inspections makes it easy for inspectors to prepare a pre-defined risk-oriented scenario for each remote inspection based on the data for the case in question.

Long story short, what inspectors need to focus on when converting to remote inspection is the interaction points. How would each interaction happen? To do that effectively, inspectors must be able to prepare a scenario for each inspection based on the data submitted for it.

resource allocation optimistion and inspection management

Remote inspection workflow + resource allocation optimisation

To illustrate the importance of this point, we will describe a classic workflow that our inspection management system Canalix triggers for remote inspections.

An inspectee calls the regulator’s office to request an inspection. Then a support agent sends him a link to a self-service portal where the inspectee can fill in the required details. There the user can upload pictures, video or other shreds of evidence needed for categorising the priority of the case and its complexity.

Once this information is submitted, a case manager can schedule a remote inspection or make another relevant action – assign an on-site visit due to higher complexity or downscale the case to a self-inspection procedure due to its low risk. Since this whole procedure happens digitally, the regulator is saving hours of work, driving and manual paper processing.

The reopening of the economy after the pandemic covid-19 waves serves as a great example of the efficiency of this inspection management system. However, this example is valid for other disaster scenarios. In such situations, efficiency is vital to response time. That’s why the remote inspection model is here to stay. The question is how long will it take for the rest of the world to adopt it.


Resource optimization and business scheduling software

CASE STUDY: OPTIMISING THE RESOURCE ALLOCATION IN REGULATORY AGENCY
          • reducing the scheduling time with up to 75%
          • increasing efficiency of operations with 40%
          • fully eliminating errors in the resource allocation process.
Download a case study.


Conclusion

The remote inspection model can go hand-to-hand with resource allocation optimisation. The effective implementation of remote inspections enhances the regulator’s ability to reduce operational costs, improve the response time and deliver efficient inspections even when the inspector can’t do an on-site visit.

The adoption of remote inspections is not a complicated idea. But it has a serious impact on inspectors, case managers and ordinary citizens who need regulatory inspection services. That’s why any change of the inspection model should be put in a framework to drive value – whether it would be in terms of resource optimisation or just productivity boost.

Canalix is an inspection management system that serves as a solid foundation for a remote inspection model. Its low-code and high configuration saas nature allow regulators to adapt to the change of the current times. Learn how your organisation can find the perfect intersection point between remote inspections and resource allocation optimisation now. Contact us here.

Travel time optimisation is one of the most crucial steps to keeping operational costs under control while expanding their scope with the same volume of resources. It usually starts with applying a route optimisation solution with the goal to find the perfect work optimisation formula. Route planning for complex schedules with hundred of resources assigned to different entities is a very tricky game. That’s why a serious thought is required in the process of optimising complex work models and keep costs and inefficiencies under control in the mean time.

So how can we save time, money and efforts by optimising the total travelling time between field jobs?

Route optimisation 

When we talk about optimising the travelling time between jobs, we mean applying a route optimisation solution for finding the most cost-efficient route – not only from point A to point B but also to point C, D, E, etc. And if needed, we change the order jobs to fit more completed tasks in a day.

Google maps can indeed do (and has done) route optimisation for almost every person with access to the internet. But when we mean complex jobs like field inspections and manage hundreds of teams, we should start looking to an end-to-end work optimisation systems. And that goes far beyond the functions of google maps.

Related: Where resource allocation optimisation and remote inspections intersect?

The hidden benefits of route optimisation

We already said why it is crucial for companies to use route optimisation – to reduce efforts, costs and time. But there are also hidden benefits that are nonetheless important. To name just a few of them:

  • Improving field service for the end customer: increasing the number of daily completed jobs is going to shorten the response time. Therefore it will bring more satisfied customers. 
  • Improving employee productivity: reducing the travelling time of inspectors, technicians or other entities to improve their focus and motivation.

We already said that it takes more than google maps to optimise complex operations with many variables. If we have to plan 10 different field inspection today to 10 locations, we will have to open a file and start filling in the details and then assign the tasks to relevant inspectors.

Manually designing a conflict-free schedule will be a very time-consuming endeavour. But throwing all of this data into an electronic inspection management system and then leave the AI engine automatically to make an optimal schedule will take just seconds.

route otpimisation software

What science is used for efficient inspection scheduling with optimised routes?

Certain factors define how long an inspection will take – the complexity of the case, the distance between a job and an inspector, the available technical devices (if needed), the location of the warehouse (if there’s such), the skill set of the inspector, etc. Based on these factors is created a route between the 10 inspection jobs and the assigned inspectors.

This example serves as a good case for regulators and organisations that are performing field inspections to understand how route optimisation can help them. Their specific objectives often require error-free inspection scheduling that will send qualified inspectors to relevant jobs with minimised travelling time. That’s why the skill set is a crucial variable in the route optimisation formula. Based on our expertise with regulators, we refined this formula and offer it as a successful model to our customers from the regulatory sector. Read the case study now.

But when we talk about resource optimisation in other industries, the business objectives will be different. It means that new variables will be put into the equation to find the most suitable route optimisation formula. Canalix dedicated a significant amount of time to develop a suitable proof-of-concept to mirror a real-world scenario. That’s the way we help our new customers find a working route optimisation formula that serves their business objectives. Request a product tour here.

How route optimisation is implemented into field operations?

Canalix offers a resource optimisation solution that can help field service providers with route planning and safety management. Our track record includes regulators that successfully use our solution as an inspection optimisation tool. If you want to learn more about our resource optimisation system, book your free demo with us today.

The global pandemic brought companies’ focus back on cost efficiency and resource optimisation. But in the process of chasing these objectives, organisations have to keep the customer experience undisrupted. To do that, they must be aware of the risks on the road to achieving cost efficiency.

Achieving the balance

The benefits of cost-efficiency would always outnumber the risks of disrupting the customer experience. Following a balanced strategy will minimise the disruptions in the customer experience and customer may not even notice them if there are any. This rings especially true for process-driven work like inspection management and other field operations. Resource optimisation can be implemented with zero disruptions for the customer but also it can boost the task orchestration.

Before explaining how exactly this happens, let’s dive into the essence of resource optimisation and task management.

What is resource optimisation in inspections?

Process-driven jobs like inspection management and field operations are often being subjected to resource optimisation projects. Resource optimisation aims to align the work process (inspection) with deadlines and available resources. Organizing resource optimisation properly can boost efficiency by allowing staff to be productive and prioritise their tasks according to standardised risk levels. Resource optimisation is often recommended to process-driven industries as a mean to achieving cost optimisation and improving the customer experience.

What is task management in inspections?

Every job in a process-driven work routine contains several sub-tasks that need to be completed to finish the job. The orchestration of these tasks – their prioritisation based on their level of importance and interdependency is called task management.

Where’s the connection between resource optimisation and inspection task management?

Looking at the descriptions of both – task management and resource optimisation, we’ll see that prioritisation is mentioned in both descriptions. So let’s first dive into the symbiotic relationship between resource optimisation, task management and prioritisation of jobs.

1. Prioritisation of tasks on field inspections

The planning of field inspection requires the efforts of inspectors, back-office administrators and other actors. But if there are not enough inspector with the most needed qualification, then the backlog of cases will start growing exponentially. This is where prioritisation of inspection cases is needed. The prioritisation may be based on available resources, complexity score of each case, geo location of the site, etc.

task management inspections

2. Timely completion of jobs

If we have a deadline for inspection completion, but our inspector is working overtime because he travels too much between inspections, then we’ll have an overallocation issue which may lead to low productivity. Resource optimisation software can allocate an inspector to cases that will follow an optimised route between each one of them. This work optimisation will ultimately decrease the total travel time.


Fun fact: Our portfolio includes a success story with our client – a UK regulator that achieved 40% reduction of time spent on travel. Download our case study and find out how we dit it.

3. Eliminate errors

Thanks to cloud technology everyone involved in a work process can get updates in real-time. When everyone is in the loop with what’s happening, the possibility of errors is minimised and collaboration between teams is being improved. This is one of the aspects of efficient task management.

4. Keep employees productive

If David spends more time travelling for inspection jobs than Maria, and at the same time David has to finish an equal number of inspections as her, soon he will burn out. Resource optimisation software promotes the mental well-being of staff. An aspect that is directly related to the long term quality of the completed jobs. Resource optimisation can resolve the issue with the equal distribution of the caseload. This on the other can leads to improving the task management because inspectors are staying productive and don’t suffer from overallocation.

If you’re already giving a thought to implement resource optimisation techniques to improve task management, keep reading.

Jobtimizer is a resource optimisation feature part of the inspection management platform Canalix. Now it is offered independently as a stand-alone product. Read more about Jobtimizer and schedule a meeting here.

Remote video inspections are part of the new normal. Regulatory bodies and inspection entities can both benefit from this regulatory enforcement innovation in the process of reopening the EU economy after lockdown ends. But is it really going to work that way? Not if government agencies ignore the constraints and risks of performing inspections remotely. The key to success of remote inspection programs is to ensure the process flow has good communication between regulatory bodies and inspection entities.

Benefits from remote video inspection programs

Technology proved to be a great ally to regulators during the global pandemic. The digital adoption of inspection management solutions helped regulators to stay efficient even during the lockdowns. The digitally advanced government agencies achieved this by introducing remote inspections in their regulatory policies, and more specifically – video inspections.

The remote video inspection programs can be applied to various sectors – construction inspections, work safety inspections, social care facilities inspections, food safety inspections, fire prevention inspections etc. These sectors benefit from this innovation by saving time in travelled distance and optimizing costs of inspections. On the other hand, the inspection entities are benefiting from a speedy processing of inspections and resolving issues that need fast resolution. For instance, food facilities like restaurants can benefit from fast reopening after lockdown ends; construction project can benefit from more flexibility in the construction schedule; social care institutions can comply with the social distance rules easier when inspections are performed remotely, etc. Long story short, it’s a win-win game when we talk about remote video inspections.

How to prepare for implementing remote video inspections process?

Remote video inspections can be conducted by the rules of regular inspections. It means that actions such as inspection scheduling, filling inspection checklists and managing documentation can mirror the regular inspection process. Conducting remote inspections may sound too liberal for conservative organisations like government agencies. That’s why sticking to the regular inspection model as tightly as possible is recommended for the purpose of acceptance. But it doesn’t mean that the process doesn’t need its own guidelines. A big pie of the changes that covid-19 brought are here to stay and the same is expected for remote inspections. That’s why they should not be looked as something temporary that doesn’t need policies and new rules. Remote video inspections policies and rules should be a talking point before their introduction.

Rules and policies for remote video inspections

1. Basic rules for remote inspections

Regulatory agencies that are planning to introduce remote video inspections should prepare guidelines to help inspection entities and their staff to carry on remote inspections. The very basic rules for remote inspections should outline the types of inspections that allow this method. Usually those are low complexity and low risk inspections.

2. Inspection scheduling rules

The prioritization of inspections should be scheduled according to a certain framework. The inspection management software of the agency can provide data about the complexity score of each inspection and serve as a priority marker.

3. Inspection execution tools

Tools like Skype or Facetime can be used as a medium for the inspection process. The policy of the remote inspection program can require the process to be always with live video so that inspector can direct the process. If the inspection does not happen live, the inspector may not be able to take picture of something or ask some questions.

How inspection entities should proceed to request a remote inspection?

The easiest and safest way to request a remote inspection is via self-submission portal. Once the request is submitted, the regulator can decide whether to accept or decline. This process can be automated with rules that will allow remote inspection for cases that are below certain complexity score and vice versa. For example, Canalix is an inspection management software with self-submission portals that can automatically allow remote inspections to relevant requests or decline if the request doesn’t qualify for remote processing according to the agency’s guidelines.

remote video inspections

Technology is indeed a great ally to governments and citizens in times of crisis. 2020 proved that to be very true in the field of regulatory inspections. But to realise the benefits of technology-enabled remote inspections, government agencies must consider the constraints and risks. With error free communication, enabled by self-submission portals and rules-driven automation, both regulators and inspection entities can successfully finish inspections. With relevant and comprehensive guidelines, this new inspection process can bring positive change in the regulatory inspection programs of many sectors.

Are you a public sector professional that wants to implement remote inspection procedures in the work of regulatory agencies? Contact us, we can help.

EU countries are re-opening the economy of their communities at different rates for a second time this year. Perhaps it won’t be the last. The COVID-19 rules are changing each one of the public sectors. But one of the most overlooked on is the inspection management area of regulatory agencies.

Keeping communities safe is a top priority for every EU member sate. Safety inspectors are the people who ensure compliance with safety standards. Regulatory bodies are managing the governance on state and local level in order to guarantee the public health. The lower accidence rate in the safety regulated areas usually means that the regulatory bodies are doing their job fine. But when violations of the regulatory rules go undetected with growing rate, it’s a sign for couple of problems – the inspection management mechanism needs to be updated or the inspection capacity of regulatory agencies is over the top.

How digital inspections are facilitating the re-opening?

The answer to these problems usually is solved with reorganization and optimisation of resource utilisation. While in normal times government agencies had roadmaps ahead of time for optimizing their work, COVID-19 now complicates things. For instance, enforcing regulatory compliance via inspections in nursing homes, schools, restaurants, office buildings has become more challenging and at the same time more important. Many entities from these sectors have been closed and in order to re-open will need inspection.

Together with the increased inspection workload, there are new regulations lurking behind the corner (new hygiene standards because of COVID-19, social distance rules, etc.) that are going to complicate things additionally. Regulatory agencies are facing challenges and if they don’t find good ways to address them, the reopening of the economy might be slowed down. This will affect not only the public health, but also the wellbeing of everyone within the community.

Changing the inspection management process is crucial for the relaunch of the economy

inspection tablets canalix

Even though a lot of changes happened in 2020, most of the inspections in the public sector are performed the same way as 20 years ago. It’s enough to deduce that there are problems that need to be solved not just because of covid-19, but because they’ve be overlooked for a very long time. For instance, a lot of processes in the regulatory inspections are still paper-based and require full time working hours in office. On the top of that, administration staff needs to spend extra time on manual processing and clearing of data errors.

Digitalization of inspections

There are countries that transformed their regulatory agencies – the UK, Iceland, Canada, some US states, etc. But other countries are still not there. When we talk about removing paper-based processes and replacing them with digital ones, we don’t talk only about implementing digital inspection checklist instead of a paper one. We talk about taking a data-driven approach in the digital transformation of inspections.

How the data-driven approach transforms regulatory agencies?

The data-driven approach in inspection planning brings previously collected field data to use when setting up the priority of inspections. This enables inspectors to focus on risk and therefore improve the efficiency of inspections. What makes the difference in this approach is that inspectors are able to focus on the areas that are at higher risk and the event of violation in regulations is more likely. The risk-focused inspection method requires from inspectors to have special tools at their hands in order to work efficiently.

The new tools inspectors use for on-site inspections

Performing field inspections the old fashioned way – with many sheets of paper and a lot of manual work – can be optimised. Inspectors can use tablets and digital checklists for data gathering on the field, their inspection scheduling can be automatically updated on their devices in real time with different constraints taken into account. The inspection routes can be optimised so that inspectors can cover more inspection ground and travel less.

The early adopters of inspection management solutions in countries like the UK, Canada, Iceland are known to be benefiting these digital transformation perks. But for them and for the late inspection management software adopters there is a new challenge that came with Covid-19 – the remote inspections.

remote inspections

Remote inspections in the workflow of regulatory bodies

One year ago nobody would have imagined that it is possible to perform remote inspections on nursing homes or schools. But 2020 changed a lot of things, including our perception of what’s normal. The new normal requires new methods of performing inspections. So how do we transform inspections into remotely done work?

First there needs to be done a broad distinction for which inspections can be done remotely and which not. For regulators with paper based process it will be hard to attain visibility on all inspection data. But agencies that have already transformed their inspection process can easily gather and analyze data in order to determine the most prevalent risk factor, complexity score and the impact on community for each inspection entity. With this factors being addressed, regulators can take on the following strategies:

1. Assign self-inspection for low risk inspection sites.

Let’s take for an example a nursing home. In this scenarios the administration of the nursing home will be provided with an access to a self-service portal and inspection checklist that needs to be filled. The staff of the nursing home can perform the inspection on their own while filling the necessary details on the digital checklist and then submit the information for inspector review.

The self-inspection is a simple process that can be easily implemented on an already existing digital infrastructure. Nonetheless, experimenting with self-inspections can be a great first endevour for the late government agencies adopters of digital inspection solutions.

Related: Why Self Service in Inspections is Important?

2. Perform traditional inspections with inspectors on site for complex and high-risk cases

The high complexity requires more attention. Therefore the cases that impose higher risk because of their complexity need special attention from inspectors on site. The inspection planning of such cases can go as usual. But still – a fully digital inspection process can reduce the covid-19 risks and facilitate the compliance with social distance rules because of the paper-free workflow and fully digital document management.

3. Delegate the compliance with new COVID-19 rules to self-inspection

Some government agencies are keeping their approach conservative, even if they use all of the advantages of the digital transformation. Meaning that they stick to the traditional on-site inspections for both – low complexity and high complexity entities. Still, they can optimise their work by delegating the compliance with new COVID-19 rules to a self-inspection process. This is a smart way to remove the additional weight of new regulations off the tasks list of inspectors on site.

Is this the future of inspections?

Data-driven, risk-focused, remote process. These three pillars have already started shaping the modern era of inspection management before COVID-19. The global pandemic only accelerated this transformation. It’s a hard thing to plan and implement, but this is where third party inspection management solutions are making the difference by helping the public sector to embrace this much needed change.

Transforming government agencies and regulatory bodies is not just a matter of fashion anymore. It’s an essential transformaton with key role for the safety of our communities. Inspection organisations need to act now. Contact Canalix if you’re in need of a fast and easy digital transformation plan.

What does risk based inspections means? It’s a regulatory enforcement activity that is performed with focus on importance and urgency of intervention against a set of risk criteria. In other words risk-based inspection management is prioritizing cases that are imposing high risk on safety. The priority is being defined on risk factors.  Depending on the specific area where the inspection is being performed, the risk factors are varying.

What’s challenging is finding the right approach to consider different risk factors  and form a risk-focused inspection program. With a lot of regulatory agencies  on the road to adopt cloud based digital infrastructures, the need for establishing effective inspection model becomes more pressing. Reaping the benefits of digital transformation in regulatory inspections is possible when the inspection program is set up according to the best practices. So what is the right approach to build a risk-based inspection program?

Related: How to formulate cloud adoption strategy in regulatory agency?

  1. Define inspection entities based on risk criteria

Each economic sector has its specifics. Obviously a broad distinction must be made between different regulatory areas and the nature of their inspection process. After the broad distinction comes more specific one. What is the minimum inspection frequency for large food facilities in populated areas? What is the minimum inspection frequency for work safety inspections in big construction sites? Each economic sector must be defined by its specific risk factors. Once the broad distinction is made, minimum frequency of inspections is defined, then it’s risk prioritisation time based mostly on historical inspection data. The priority of inspection activities depends on local risk-factors. This approach is considered in countries as France, Finland, Japan and United States.

  1. Prioritisation with scoring system

What is a scoring system?  This is more advanced approach to prioritisation of risk based inspections. The scoring system is based on pre-defined point scale. The complexity or urgency of each inspection case is being determined by a score that takes into account multiple risks. However, some risks have more weight than others. The scoring system reflects that and helps regulators increase the efficiency of inspections. Some of the countries that are using scoring system in their inspection management programs are the UK and Netherlands.

Methodology for adopting risk-based inspection programs

If we were living in 1999, perhaps the best methodology would be to build an excel table and ask inspector to do the risk scoring manually. But we’re living in 2020 and technology is far more advanced now. Long story short, the best methodology for adopting risk based inspection program is by moving inspections onto cloud-based infrastructure and perform them digitally. With digital gathering of inspection data the inspection program can be easily transformed into risk-based one according to the best international practices benchmarked by countries like the UK and Netherlands.

Transforming inspection management is a complex subject. Trying to sum it up would always end up into over simplification of some sort. Book a free consultation with our team and we will explain to you in details how to transform regulatory inspections according to the best international practices.