How to convert paper forms to a digital forms for free

Reducing, reusing and recycling paper in the office is a factor that all companies today, regardless of their size, should take into consideration. The concept and concerns around environmental protection affect everyone. Both companies as well as individuals are actively looking for alternatives to minimize their environmental impact.
Today, we have easy access to digital solutions which, in addition to improving the efficiency of our work processes, are also environmentally friendly.
Producing one ton of paper requires cutting down 17 trees. By using digital forms, you will reduce your paper consumption and optimize your data collection operations in the field at the same time.

But there are also other benefits to going digital. Read on to find out more.

Reasons to go digital for data collection

Here are the main reasons to use digital forms instead of paper for your data collection operations:

  • They will save you time
  • You will become more efficient
  • You will be more competitive
  • Data collected from digital forms can be organized easily based on different variables such as city, customer name, address or other important information
  • It is easy to search and sort your information by variable or category
  • Digital data can be synchronized, and users can access it in real time

Features of digital forms vs paper forms

By converting your paper forms to digital, you will have access to a wide variety of interesting features, which are only available with digital tools. Some of these features include:

  • Live location sharing
  • Taking photos include with your data
  • Automated calculations
  • Automatic completion of fields
  • Improved data quality

What are digital forms?

A digital form is an electronic version of a paper form. When you use paper forms, you collect the data in the field, then go back to the office and manually enter the data into a database by typing it manually. With digital forms, on the other hand, you avoid the long, tedious and error-prone data transcription phase.

Digital forms can replicate all the useful elements of a paper form, such as:

  • Text input
  • Hand-drawing of sketches
  • Filling in of checkboxes
  • Adding signatures

Digital forms can be completed faster, and they are more accurate because you can implement a system to automatically copy information from the field into a database.

How to convert paper forms to digital forms

With Coral Collect – the world’s most fully-featured field data collection app – you can convert your data collected with paper forms into digital forms and then share it with field teams easily. Here is how to do it:

Step 1:

Register with Coral Collect through our registration page.

Step 2:

Replicate your digital form in the form section with our easy-to-use drag and drop form builder.

Step 3:

Invite your team members through their email addresses.

Step 4:

Give the required permissions to your teams.

Step 5:

Download the Coral Collect mobile app.

Now everyone on your team now completes your digital forms easily.

Are you ready to make the switch to digital? Sign up now for free!

To find out more about Coral Collect, feel free to check out our video intro here .You can also head over to the Coral Collect signup page to find out more about what Coral Collect can do for you and your business.

Automate Workplace Safety Reporting with a Mobile Forms App

In 2019, the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada reported 925 work-related fatalities and a further 271,806 lost-time claims in the same time period. With 67% of fatalities reported in manufacturing, transport, utilities and related occupations, it’s wise for field service organizations to consider the many benefits of automated reporting with a mobile forms app to improve the safety of their inspectors.
This means ensuring safety procedures are followed correctly, and accidents or hazards are recorded and reported in a timely manner.
This is much easier said than done, however. In this article, we’ll show you how a mobile forms app powered with a mobile form builder will help improve safety reporting in your workplace.

The challenges of paper based safety inspections

In the age of digital transformation and Industry 4.0 it no longer makes sense for your field service organization to be following paper-based safety inspections.

There’s the inconveniences of carrying paper around during the inspection and the data collected needs to be input manually into a database at the end of each and every day.

And there’s another thing: this information’s only available to Field Operations Managers, Technicians and superiors at the end of the working day, thus wasting valuable time where remedial action could’ve been taken sooner.

There’s also a duplication of work during data collection when it’s done both at the point of inspection and the office. This carries the risk of errors during data entry, handwriting that’s hard to read or, even worse, data collection forms that go missing altogether.

Delaying or missing safety inspections can have severe consequences for your organization.

Besides the loss of reputation these include:

  • Financial penalties as a consequence of prosecution
  • Increased insurance premiums
  • Inefficiencies created by loss of production
  • Inefficiencies associated with paper waste

The benefits of automated reporting with mobile forms apps

A mobile forms app integrated with a mobile form builder enables the creation of data collection forms for equipment inspections, compliance checklists and site safety audits.

Document and report safety hazards with a mobile forms app

Inspectors can complete their forms on their smartphone in a fraction of the time it would take them on paper. Smart forms dynamically show or hide questions based on their inputs and prompts them for additional information.

Inspectors can:

  • Create digital forms
  • Create complex rules to control the behaviour of field forms
  • Pre-populate data into data collection forms to save time
  • Locate field forms on an intuitive map interface
  • Attach photos and videos and add GPS stamps with the integrated GIS app
  • Enforce consistent safety procedures
  • Perform in-depth and accurate inspections

Share data and safety records with a mobile forms app

Inspectors can analyze their reports and know what information to share to educate their colleagues and superiors about safety hazards and high-risk behaviours.

Inspectors can:

  • Perform offline data collection and sync with the cloud once they’re back online
  • Access data in real-time on a dashboard
  • Structure data in projects
  • Simplify auditing with cloud access to safety reports
  • Simplify compliance reporting
  • Build efficient workflows
  • Reuse data collection forms templates
  • Export data in multiple formats

Conclusion

Paper-based safety inspections are a thing of the past. Large amounts of data can be stored in the cloud and real-time visibility and sharing of information between team members is a reality. The safety of team members relies on timely inspections carried out with diligence. A mobile forms app facilitates data collection in the field and improves the safety of everyone.

How to use the geographic position of field data to help your business

Businesses need reliable, accurate information to make decisions and act quickly.  However, textual formatting of data can make understanding what it’s trying to tell you difficult and slow.
By using the geographic position, decision-makers can visualize all the data and understand it easily.  This helps them turn insight into action fast. Location provides an alternate method of displaying information such as a map and that makes your data easier to comprehend.

Why visualization matters?

  • When you present data without visualization, people just see a bunch of numbers and text. It’s hard for them to understand the significance or coherence of what they’re looking at.
  • When you display the data visually, it is much easier to interpret and more effective. The human brain can process visual information in a fraction of the time it takes to read text or numbers.
  • Location-based data lets you get the big picture while enabling trend detection at a glance. It allows you to easily identify patterns, outliers, clusters, and other relationships in data.

A data visualisation software is a powerful tool for understanding and communicating complex information. Put simply, it’s the art of turning numbers into meaningful information

Who uses location data?

Telecom:

For an industry that is grid-based and requires constant maintenance, location data is critical. Telecom companies use geographic data collected by field technicians when inspecting poles.  This lets them easily determine what poles they need to repair or replace and in what order. It also allows them to set work schedules for their maintenance staff and to prioritize future work. 

Construction: 

Managing multiple side-by-side construction projects is never easy. By using asset tracking systems, managers can keep tabs on what equipment is where at any given time. Location data also lets them track that employees comply with health and safety regulations.     

Non-profit:

For non-profits, optimizing the use of their resources can literally save lives. Location intelligence gives them the tools they need to make sure aid reaches the right place at the right time.  Working in time-sensitive situations such as environmental emergencies or critical third-world aid, this can mean the difference between life and death.

Door-to-door:

Geolocation data lets you track what doors you’ve visited, their responses, and where customers have not opened. This way, door-to-door businesses can coordinate their teams and plan their future routes. Also, geolocation using different color codes on the field forms gives you quick insight into trends by neighborhood.  

Environmental companies:

Field survey data collection is an important aspect of environmental work. Geographical precision is crucial to the success of a project because it establishes areas of interest or environmental damage. It also enables monitoring of future changes in those zones.

When collecting data in the field, it is important to have the right tools and to share data effectively.

Coral Collect provides a solution that allows you to collect, save, and share data in the field with ease. It allows all levels of an organization to manage field data collaboratively.

Coral Collect is a component of the Coral Platform. This lets you have access to all the technological solutions you need to ensure success in your field operations.

If you want more information about our solutions, please contact us today!

The logistics of collecting field data

Collecting data in the field is a complex process that requires significant material and human resources. That’s why the quality of logistics is an essential factor when it comes to data collection.

Good project planning will save time and improve productivity in addition to guaranteeing that you have more reliable data to work with.

In this article, we provide step by step instructions on how to optimize your field data collection logistics.

1. Know and define your goal

Before entering the field to carry out data collection work, it is essential that all your collection team members know exactly what the purpose of the project is. i.e., what information do we want to get from the field?

You will get better data if collectors know the relevance of the data they will need to collect and for what purpose.

On the other hand, we may be tempted to collect more data than is necessary. Do not fall into this trap. The goal is not to collect as much data as possible, but rather to collect the right data, i.e. the data that is necessary to achieve your current goal. Collecting data that is not essential to achieving your goal will quickly increase the amount of time spent conducting your operation. Excessive data collection can also result in increased processing costs.

2. Create your form

2.1. Design

The design of your form will be the starting point when it comes to defining the right data to collect in the field.

The content and structure of this form will have a great impact on the quality of your data and how it will be collected, processed, and analyzed.

2.2. Defining questions and fields of observation

It is important to define the questions or fields of observation that will allow you to obtain all the essential information for your project.

When defining your questions and fields of observation, it is also important to bear in mind how the data will be treated. For example: Do you want the questions to be open-ended or do you want to define closed answers with predefined choices?

2.3. Standardization

Standardize the answer elements with closed questions. Use open-ended questions only if absolutely necessary. Examples of such cases are those in which the opinions or expertise of the person collecting the field data is required, or comments added to data collected can be useful in the analysis results.

2.4 Using existing data

Determine whether existing data can help you when collecting field data. Existing data that your company has already collected, or publicly available data (open data), can save you time during the field operation.

3. Train your field data collection teams

It is essential that you properly introduce your team to the tools they will be using in the field. If they are using mobile technology ,make sure their training in using the app is adequate. If it is your first time using a given data collection tool, try to get training from the developer or vendor.

Conduct a mini-operation test (pilot project), so that your team members become familiar with the tool as well as the process to be followed during the field operation.

4. Draw your course

Before you can send your teams out to collect data, you will need to plot the course that they will be taking during their field work. If they will be working in multiple sites, drawing the course will help you define the optimal route. Using Coral Collect, it is possible to trace your route on a map and display it on the app interface.

To do this, consider the following:

  • The number of hours your collectors will be spending in the field per day
  • The distance between the individual collection sites
  • How long it takes to complete each survey

5. Equip your teams

Finally, consider the human needs that your collectors might have during their field data collection work. Here are some of the questions that you should ask before data collection in the field commences:

  • How much time do they realistically need to complete their collection tasks?
  • What’s the weather like/going to be like?
  • Can they obtain water and food and access nearby services while they are collecting data?
  • If the necessary supplies are not available on site, how will they be provided?
  • Should they be divided into teams of two, three or more?
  • Has your equipment been checked to ensure that it is in working order?
  • Do your team members know how to maintain optimal device battery management?

In conclusion, before you dispatch your field data collection teams, you have to think about all these (and potentially other) scenarios and prepare accordingly.

Because, as Murphy’s Law says, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”. On the other hand, “Victory favors the prepared mind.”

Once you’ve followed the above steps and taken all contingencies into account, you will be ready to start collecting data!

To find out more about how Coral Collect can meet all your data collection needs, feel free to head over to the Coral Collect signup page here. or contact the Coral Collect support team,You can also check out the Coral Collect introduction video here.