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How field service management software can benefit quality assurance and quality control services providers

Kieran Le Peron
September 30, 2021
6 min. read

Consequences of Brexit and the global pandemic have impacted the UK quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) services sector more than most. Providers of inspections, checks and audits have had to respond to rapid changes in regulations, in the wake of Britain leaving the EU. More recently, these businesses have had to implement remote working practices and policies, as a result of Covid-19, while maintaining the highest levels of quality accuracy in inspections and audits.   By embracing digital technologies QA/QC service providers can accelerate decision-making in a smarter way, key in any sector that is undergoing rapid change and disruption. Digital technologies can also create more collaborative opportunities within teams, ultimately enabling them to deliver a better service for users of QA/QC services, which range from food, drink and pharmaceuticals to automotive and construction industries.

Role of independent QA/QC services

Enterprises, companies and organisations involved in the manufacture, supply or sale of consumables, goods or services must meet various regulatory requirements and standards that ensure compliance of facilities, equipment, products and services.   QA is about more than simply “red-tape” and compliance. Independent third-party inspections ensure clients protect and reinforce their financial, branding and legal interests across supply chains that may stretch across multiple jurisdictions and can span raw ingredients or materials to finished goods and products, not to mention factories and production equipment.   Providers of QA services ensure that their clients comply with internal processes and external standards, national legislation, and international legislation, where relevant, plus any codes or regulations required for a licence to operate, as well as industry-specific requirements and voluntary standards.

Types of services

Independent, or third party, QA/QC enterprises provide several services, including:

  • Assuring factories’ and other industrial facilities’ installed equipment, is of good quality and meet health and safety (H&S) standards; from the construction of facilities themselves through to the operation of the production and processing lines within
  • Ensuring compliance with all relevant quality standards and regulations, including national to international
  • Providing independent verification of materials, parts and final products through inspections and audits
  • Providing clients with QA/QC inspections and related services off-site at manufacturers’ facilities

Enhancing QA/QC services

Field service management software can enhance the ability of auditors and inspectors to do their job with greater efficiency and accuracy while supporting providers of QA/QC services to better manage the process for quality checks.  

Ease access to information

Field service management software can provide inspectors with all the information required to properly carry out checks, down to the documents required per site, product or piece of equipment. All documentation, such as previous audits, and supporting information, such as images, can be digitalised so it can be easily pulled up during inspections and audits, enabling inspectors to do their jobs as quickly and efficiently as possible.   The software has been developed as a 3mobile field service app that is easy to set up and use and works on a wide range of mobile devices and operating systems, including iOS, Android, Windows Phone, so QA/QC services providers can roll them out on smartphones, iPads or other devices.  

Save time and boost productivity

Field service management software can make sure that Inspectors and auditors get to each site as quickly as possible.   Using GPS and traffic data, the smart software can generate schedules that minimise inspectors’ time travelling between different sites.   Even if clients change prearranged audits, inspections or visits at the last minute, inspectors are able to gain instant access to updated schedules, whether on route or at another site. This is due to the software’s ability to process information from various different sources to adapt schedules in real time, while ensuring that any revisions to schedules optimise inspectors’ time, to reduce travel time.  

Enable greater accuracy

QA/QC inspectors and auditors bring a second pair of eyes to clients’ premises, whether it is ensuring that everything is working as it should, that health and safety standards are being adhered to, or that all relevant paperwork is in order for a company to continue its line of business.   This places significant responsibility on the shoulders of inspectors and auditors. By digitalising all paperwork, field service management software eliminates opportunity for human error, because information is imputed digitally at site and doesn’t need to be typed up or transferred manually into different software back at the office.  

Support full traceability of quality control checks

Every inspection, audit and check produces a transparent, digital paper trail that instantly collates all relevant information within a few clicks of a mobile device. Non-compliant elements involving corrective action are uploaded in real time, and inspection reports are sent automatically, resulting in a more responsive and rapid service for clients.

Field service software that enables remote collaboration

Covid-19 has accelerated many companies’ move towards more remote ways of working, with the trend set to continue. Online communication platforms, like Zoom and MS Teams, enable effective virtual face-to-face communication between people who aren’t all in the same location.   During lockdowns of 2020 audits and inspections across industries continued, typically via one individual at site taking footage and pictures of premises, equipment and assets, for uploading remote teams to review.   Field service management software is a vital enabling tool for remote audits by ensuring that teams, whether local, or in different jurisdictions, have the same access to information and documentation and by allowing sharing of information, as well as reviewing of documentation and processes by different parties. The software is even able to work in areas with poor or no Wi-Fi connection, which can often be the case between different buildings or facilities at a specific site.   Successful audits and inspections have always relied on different parties – client, auditor and auditing teams – to work closely together to make sure these procedures run smoothly. Successful remote audits and inspection can only happen with good planning and the right IT communication and software tools.   By enabling full digitalisation of documentation along with a host of other benefits, field service management software can ensure remote audits and inspections are done efficiently and accurately while achieving potential cost savings and leverage greater efficiencies for providers of QA/QS services.