Digital Inspections:

Are you still writing your field inspection data on paper? Last time you looked into it did you find inspection software expensive, cumbersome and unable to match your process? Are you still asking what happens if I’m out of cell phone reception? Well, its time to look at software again because they have come along ways in the last few years.

Why You Need It:

I could go on for a long time writing about all the reasons you should be using a digital inspection system but I took my top 10 and made: 10 Reasons Why You Need Digital Inspections. In short its just a nicer experience for everyone. Your customers will love it for how polished and informative the field reports are, your office staff will love the reduced paper load and not having to transcribe data off paper reports. It will make your inspectors more efficient in the field with pre-filled out answers, access to historical data and premade inspection plans. And ultimately it improves your companies image, efficiency and bottom line.

What’s Out There:

There was a time when finding a good piece of software to do this was difficult. Now, it’s the opposite problem: There are so many different packages which is the best for me? I would loosely categorize the market into 3 categories: Do it yourself forms, inspection software and enterprise level software. In the do it yourself catagories you can find solutions using free Microsoft/google forms or one step up from that things like zoho which allow you to build your own forms but isn’t specifically dedicated for doing inspections. The next level up is where I think the most value lies. This is in software specifically designed for companies doing inspections for a living. Most of the software in this category aren’t specifically written for weld inspection companies but try and capture everyone from home inspectors to mechanics. Look for a good set of features and a reasonable price of around $10-20 per user. The enterprise level software is a little more expensive but can customize to your companies needs or come on a platform that has a lot of features. Sales Force, Field iD and any of the custom programmed options fall under this category. I don’t have a lot of experience with the larger more expensive software packages as most of my experience is at that middle level. If you want to spend the rest of the week reviewing and comparing software Capterra has a list of 138 different software packages ranked, reviewed and linked available here:

Key Features To Look For:

Here are some of the key features I look for when shopping for this software:

  • Off line mode for when no internet is available
  • Compatible with what ever brand of cell phone you use.
  • A way to push updated sheets out to all the users
  • A good asset tracking system that you can use to look up historical data.
  • Custom branded reports
  • Some management tools to show inspections per week/month by user – which is great to make sure none of the invoices gets forgotten
  • Built in scheduling system. If you have one person receiving calls and booking the inspection work why not keep that all in one system.
  • Ability to email reports directly from the application.

A side note before you commit to any software make sure it is being sufficiently supported. You don’t want to get a year or two worth of inspection data in the software then find out when apple updates their phone the app stops working.

Personal Recommendation

I just thought I would take this opportunity to shout out to Inspectall which is the software I have used the most. Their software works great for smaller inspection companies doing weld inspection and equipment recertification. The treated me great over the years and have a good set of features.  If anyone wants to skip the research or at least have a starting point I would certainly recommend starting at inspectall and compare anything else to it.

The Only Downside:

I have lots of positive things to say about digital app based inspection software but there is a downside. The biggest problem is that your inspectors will have their head buried in a cell phone a lot while on site. It looks like they are playing games rather than being productive. You will need to educate your customers that using the cell phone on site is actually improving the efficiency not slowing it down. Also, a few job sites wont allow cell phones on site for safety or security issues so you will need a plan b for situations that absolutely will not allow cell phones.

Thanks for reading this article. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to us. If you have a favorite inspection software let us all know down in the comments. If want to download a sample scissor lift report that you can use as a guide to set up your first digital inspection you can download one here.  If you enjoyed this content and want to stay in touch take a second to join our mailing list so we can let you know when new content comes out.

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