The Importance of Contextuality in Regulatory Oversight

Regulatory oversight involves managing vast information, including inspection reports, compliance records, and enforcement actions. With the increasing complexity of regulatory requirements and the diverse range of stakeholders involved, regulatory agencies need a flexible and efficient inspection management software that can adapt to the specific needs of each context. That is where contextuality comes in.

Tailoring Regulatory Processes to Specific Contexts

Contextuality refers to the ability of regulatory case management systems to adapt their processes to the specific requirements of each context. That can involve different case types, access levels, and review processes, among other factors.

The Role of Contextuality: Examples

One example of how contextuality can improve regulatory oversight is in the context of food safety regulation. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), contaminated food is responsible for over 600 million illnesses and 420,000 deaths yearly. Different types of food products have different levels of risk associated with them, and the regulatory requirements for each type of food may vary depending on the level of risk. For example, high-risk foods such as raw meat may require more stringent regulatory oversight than low-risk foods such as packaged snacks.

By having customisable organisational units with different case types and access levels, regulatory agencies can tailor their oversight processes to the specific risks associated with each type of food product. That can include different review processes, testing requirements, and reporting requirements. For instance, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates meat and poultry products, while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates all other food products.

How contextuality can improve regulatory oversight?

Regulatory agencies can tailor their oversight processes to the specific needs of different stakeholders involved in the food supply chain. For example, a farmer may have different regulatory requirements than a food processor, and having customisable organisational units can ensure that the appropriate resources are allocated to each stakeholder to ensure compliance with regulations.

regulatory oversight software

How contextual inspection management enables agencies to allocate resources more efficiently?

Another example of how contextuality can improve regulatory oversight is in the context of drug regulation. According to a report by the Congressional Research Service, the cost of developing a new drug ranges from $2.6 billion to $3.2 billion. The US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) electronic submission and review system, known as the Electronic Submissions Gateway (ESG), has different organisational units that handle different types of drug submissions. Each unit has its own review process, requirements, and access levels. That allows the FDA to allocate resources more efficiently and streamline the review process for each type of drug submission.

Overall, contextuality is an essential component of effective regulatory oversight. By tailoring regulatory processes to each context’s specific needs and risks, regulatory agencies can ensure that resources are allocated efficiently, oversight is optimised for better outcomes, and the interests of all stakeholders are protected. As the regulatory environment evolves and becomes more complex, contextuality will play an increasingly important role in ensuring public safety and maintaining public trust in the regulatory process.

Using Canalix as an Inspection Management Software to Address Contextuality in Regulatory Oversight

Canalix is an inspection management software that leverages advanced technologies such as AI and machine learning to provide a customisable and context-aware solution for regulatory oversight. The software enables regulatory agencies to streamline inspection processes, allocate resources more efficiently, and optimise regulatory oversight for better outcomes.

Canalix’s context-aware approach means that regulatory agencies can configure the software to reflect the unique requirements of each context. For example, regulatory agencies can define different inspection types based on the risks associated with regulated products or services, such as high-risk and low-risk inspections. They can also define different inspection checklists, testing requirements, and reporting requirements based on the type of inspection.


In addition, Canalix’s AI capabilities enable regulatory agencies to identify patterns and trends in inspection data, allowing them to make data-driven decisions about where to allocate resources and which areas to prioritise for inspection. The software also provides real-time analytics and reporting, enabling regulators to monitor compliance and enforcement activities in real time and respond quickly to emerging risks.

Overall, using Canalix as an inspection management system can help regulatory agencies address the contextuality problem in regulatory oversight. By providing a flexible and context-aware solution, Canalix enables regulatory agencies to tailor their inspection processes to the specific needs of each context, ensuring that resources are allocated efficiently, and regulatory oversight is optimised for better outcomes.

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In 2022 regulators have plenty of opportunities to improve and grow by transforming their operations with digitalised inspection platform. One of the digital transformation strategies on the radar of the public sector is the use of SaaS. The benefits of digitalisation are promising, and it’s no surprise that Gartner forecasts worldwide government IT spending to total $565.7 billion in 2022. This is a 5% increase from 2021. That makes us have a closer look at the prospects of inspection software platforms delivered as a SaaS model.

Digital transformation, especially for regulators with on-site inspection management processes, can improve efficiency and help regulators meet times of uncertainty.

When we speak to our future clients about the opportunities to transform their operations with inspection software, we ensure they remember that digital transformation should be perceived as a process. Often that requires a modular approach to achieve sustainable digital transformation impact. The digitalisation of inspections changes not only the work of inspectors but also the work of other actors in the regulatory inspection processes. A digitalised inspection platform can create many opportunities for cost-optimisation and productivity improvements if implemented right.

That sounds great, and it’s the dream goal of many regulators, but it is also a challenge. We help regulators achieve this goal with a good modular strategy and new technologies like AI-enhanced job scheduling, IoT technologies, machine learning, remote inspection technologies, and automated risk assessment.

Related: How a regulatory agency can cut costs in 2022?

A regulator about to start a digital transformation journey may look like somebody standing in front of a wall with technologies and strategies. Canalix helps regulators bundle the right technologies and priorities into a digital inspection platform where they all tie together. The method may be designed to allow the integration of different modules one by one. That is made possible by the cloud-based inspection software model, a.k.a SaaS (software-as-a-service).

Because inspections in different regulatory areas are complex, lack of integration opportunities is a common issue in inspection software service providers. A digitalised inspection platform designed for regulators is what can deliver the right integration opportunity that would eliminate this issue and provide good data analytics opportunities for swift decision-making.

Case study: Reduce operational costs with inspection scheduling software

Read it to understand:

    • The advantages of modular digital transformation
    • The vital architectural practices and technologies that enable modular transformation
    • How a regulatory agency in the UK is benefitting from a modular approach with Canalix.

A snapshot from the practice:

Many inspection team leaders are oriented toward transforming their inspection management system into paperless. That makes them ask for a solution that would enable them to digitise their inspection forms and automate inspection report generation in a format that would be easy to understand and act on. These types of solutions are usually considered quick fixes. After some discussions with inspection team leaders, they realise that the quick fix can lead to new efficiency opportunities. That is where our SaaS inspection software shows them the competitive advantage they could achieve by transforming their inspection management system by using SaaS as an inspection platform.

Ask us more about Canalix, a SaaS digital inspection platform for regulators:

For regulatory agencies, the investment in highly qualified inspectors is perhaps the most valuable. However, this investment may lose some of its value if there are scheduling issues. That’s why many regulators choose to invest also in good inspection software as a solution to optimise operational costs and cut spending caused by frequent rework or downtime in qualified inspectors’ schedules. So there come the question: how to reduce rework for inspectors? And also:

How do downtime impacts operational costs?

How reducing downtime can help regulatory agencies optimise their spending? If your regulatory agency has only one highly qualified inspector with certification in Explosives, it will be more expensive for you to have his schedule filled with time gaps. If, because of the time gaps, the inspector doesn’t spend the entirety of his time on work that matters, catching up at the end of the month will be more expensive and may hurt his productivity. If the efficiency of processes starts suffering because of lousy scheduling, a new inspection check may be required much sooner than planned. So the price of a single inspection check may become more pricey than initially planned.

On the other hand, with a well-built inspection scheduling software ( one that makes optimal schedules with minimum travel time between jobs), the efficiency of the process can be improved, and the necessity for rework and overtime work minimised. That will ultimately lead to lowering operational costs. And last but not least,  by not having to conduct emergency rework and overtime, the regulator can use more opportunities.

resource scheduling software

Simplify the resource scheduling procedures

If the inspection scheduling process has issues, it’s normal not to have expected results. Desk workers can give feedback on the problems they have with inspection scheduling. One of our clients is a national regulator in the UK. They asked for feedback from their workers, and that’s how they realised that the inspection scheduling process requires the automation of repetitive tasks.

After adopting our resource scheduling software Jobtimizer, their scheduling managers sped up their work and reduced the errors in their tasks. Download our case to see how our resource scheduling software Jobtimzier helped a regulator reduce time spend on manual scheduling with up to 75%:

Resource optimization and business scheduling software

CASE STUDY: How a regulatory agency cut costs with resource scheduling software?
          • reducing the scheduling time with up to 75%
          • increasing efficiency of operations with 40%
          • fully eliminating errors in the resource allocation process.
Download the case study.

Follow the compliance standards.

When conducting an inspection check, inspectors must follow compliance standards and measure the risk for future hazards to get an accurate risk score. That is valuable data that may play a significant role in scheduling future inspection checks. If the risk score is low, the follow-up inspection may be scheduled further in time or appointed as a remote inspection. But if the risk score is high, the following inspection check may have to be scheduled sooner.

If the inspector is handling the inspection checks with tons of paper, it’s easy to miss an essential procedure and forget to check a box in the inspection checklists. Our client avoided these issues by using our inspection management platform Canalix and conducting inspection checks with a tablet. By giving inspectors the required tools and system, they can easily follow and maintain high compliance standards.

Faster response on emergency requests

Sometimes an emergency event may require an inspection check earlier than scheduled. In these instances, our tool Jobtimizer triggers automatic scheduling that prioritises the emergency request over other appointed events, and automatically reshuffles the rest of the schedules to avoid conflicts.

Use the right inspection management system

Not every resource management software is a good fit for a regulator. Government agencies have specific needs, and using a particular purpose-built inspection management software is always better than using some generic, customisable solution. The right inspection software can help regulators automate repetitive tasks and record and store data in the right way that can further be used for visualising patterns and other data.

The data collected by inspection management software like Canalix can help you keep track of how many inspection checks were completed for a period of time and observe how your government agency managed to cut costs with time.regulatory case management software

Why Jobtimizer is the right resource scheduling tool for your government agency?

Jobtimizer is a stand-alone module to the Canalix Inspection Management platform. Jobtimizer provides a configurable and extendable AI-based scheduling engine that allows scheduling constraints and business priorities to be defined.

Constraints can be classified as ‘Hard’ where they need to be fulfilled and ‘Soft’ where it’s desirable that these are met, but not a must for a schedule to be viable. The emphasis or importance placed on a soft constraint is defined by providing each constraint with a score. A typical example of a hard constraint is ‘resource availability”, “availability of required equipment”, and “qualifications or skills” required to perform the job. A typical example of a soft constraint would be job priority, FIFO, and total distance across a scheduled work program.

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The digital transformation journey in the public sector may look different in different government agencies. Sometimes the process starts with a specific problem that identifies the needed technology. But sometimes, the process is reversed – it begins with particular technology being applied over the existing work process. Our practice as a digital transformation partner taught us that the former approach is the more efficient one, while the latter brings more risk of failure. These observations are especially relevant to the regulatory sector and the transformation of manual inspection processes.

Costly resources like inspectors and highly qualified technicians often have to perform repetitive tasks: running inspections from site to site, recording their checks within paper files. Then this documentation gets entered into an electronic system, which often leads to data errors. The use of digital inspection management tools allows inspectors to focus more on higher-level tasks such as analysing data to improve operations, which by itself is an upskilling benefit. The upskilling of the workforce is essential evidence for the success of digitally transforming manual processes.

rpa automation in inspection management

The automated data collection provides a consistent and accurate work process, enabling inspectors to update their progress more frequently. On the other hand, this benefit allows decision-makers to react quickly to critical changes in the collected data.

In the past, the automation of manual inspection processes was often dismissed as a too complex and expensive endeavour. However, today we have the technologies to transform manual processes without the challenges of the past. With cloud-based infrastructure and affordable wireless devices such as tablets, data gathering and sending is fast, and automation becomes a more realistic goal.

Transforming manual inspection processes with AI and Machine Learning

Regulatory agencies have access to automation technologies such as AI and Machine learning. But their efficiency is present mostly when they are fed with accurate information. The use of digital tools on inspection sites guarantees the gathering of quality information via digital checklists and real-time data transmission. The AI engine can provide decision-making support and improve efficiency and compliance with high-quality data input.

Theoretically, this is the ground regulatory agencies step on when undertaking the digital transformation process. But how are things actually with real-case scenarios? Let’s look at some customer stories we have at Canalix – inspection management platform and dive deep into how the platform handles the inspection process.

Monitoring of critical tasks

Some regulatory agencies no longer consider manual inspections enough for high-risk cases and require digital monitoring or the regular submission of self-inspection data. The compliance improvements need the automation of safety-related inspection schedules.

Improving the safety compliance of high-risk projects requires the automation of safety-related inspection schedules. After a periodic on-site inspection, the regulator may demand new monitoring points submitted by the inspectee via a self-submission portal. Doing this without the costs of sending an inspector on-site and getting the needed data is a classic example of cost-optimisation of operations that goes hand-to-hand with compliance improvements. A double benefit gain that inspection automation services like Canalix are helping regulators achieve.

Turning inspection data into process optimisation insights

Automating the data gathering stage by inspectors is only the first of many steps towards the digital transformation of the inspection process. When quality data is assured, what comes next? Reasonably, it is to turn this data into actionable information and insights. Those insights will help decision-makers to improve operations and strengthen the agency’s regulatory compliance rate.

Turning data into insights is more than just aggregating data from a historical perspective. Canalix, as an inspection platform, collects data that gives individual pictures over each inspector’s capacity and workload so that team leaders can prevent burnout and assure balance is kept in the process of resource scheduling.

Acting upon the gathered data and insights

And, of course, data can be presented in many contexts to different actors within the organisation. For example, an inspector may see information about the inspection site’s conditions in previous inspections or check alerts from IoT devices on the inspection site. This data may shape the structure of the inspection round so that the inspector can focus his attention on the most critical aspects. All for the sake of efficiency, of course. This model of turning data into insights supports the observe, orient, decide, act loop. It enables team leaders to decide based on relevant data that would direct action within the organisation that’s supposed to correct something that’s not working well enough.

The digital transformation approach as a modular step-by-step

Some organisations are looking at technology as a tool to help them fix a single issue – like automating manual inspection processes. Others aim at substantial digital transformation projects that will transform the whole organisation by replacing entire systems, not just separate modules step-by-step. And some organisations wish to test the technology without knowing exactly where they should begin. Canalix offers digital transformation solutions focused on resource optimisation that can speed up progress regardless of which category from those mentioned above we’re talking about. Contact us if you need to know more.

Related: How a regulatory agency cut operational costs with modular digital transformation approach?