Sometimes, less is more.
Do you need all the features in Microsoft Word, when all you want to do is write a letter?
Is the Canon EOS Rebel T7 SLR really necessary…for your Instagram shots?
Do you need to use Adobe Photoshop for your flyers, or can you get by with using Canva?
Do you need to use an Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) compliance software platform if all you need is a tailgate safety meeting form?
Point is, not everyone needs all the bells and whistles of a complete EHS software tool when their field crews only need a couple of safety form templates. I know this is true with most environmental consulting firms. They don’t need all that extra stuff, just so that their folks can fill out a tailgate safety meeting sign-in sheet on a tablet.
What’s the alternative to comprehensive EHS software?
The simple answer: Build your own safety forms.
Then you can build just what you need, and nothing more.
No extra features you will never use.
No steep learning curve.
No separate software for your folks to learn or pay for.
Just basic form software, the same form software you use for all your other field-related work.
An example of a simple tailgate safety sign in sheet, with just the basics
Here’s an example of a tailgate safety sign-in-sheet that Mid-Atlantic Associates uses for their field work. Note that it’s super simple, which is kinda what your field folks really want…they don’t exactly want to learn something complicated that takes a lot of effort to use…they are already busy battling deadlines, subcontractors, crappy weather, sometimes malfunctioning equipment or missing supplies, and more. If you are going to get them to actually use field form software, they need to see that it’s simple and that it actually works. Otherwise, the adoption rate of your software by your field folks will be very low, probably < 10%.
Field app features that help with user adoption
Some time-saving and simple features we’ve implemented into the XForms Mobile app help with user adoption. These include:
- Pre-populated checklists. You can create table grids (similar to Excel) and pre-load checklist values in the cells, so that the field tech doesn’t have to check each one.
- Clone a table row. A field tech can clone a row, saving some time.
- Clone a form. A field tech can clone an entire form, saving time for repetitive tasks. Note: the target form (i.e., the clone) will clear all signatures and photos, and will replace any date and time fields with the current date and current time.
- Collapsible section headers. XForms lets you set the form to pre-load an entire section collapsed or open, with a carat the field tech can tap on to toggle the seciton to collapse or expand. This also saves some time in the field.
- Save a draft. For use cases involving a lot of time, a field tech can fill. outpart of a form, save it as a draft, and come back to it later to fill out the rest and submit it.
- Transcribe text. While this is an operating system feature, field folks can tap on the microphone icon and have the system transcribe what they say into the comments field, saving tippy tappy time tapping on a screen.
Once your field crews start filling out their tailgate safety meeting forms in the field and submitting them, accessing them on the reporting dashboard is pretty simple. It’s also verry malleable/customizable. For example, you can control what key performance indicators you want to track, you can customize the columns that are displayed on the listing table, and you can customize the format of the output (PDF) form.
Here’s a screenhot of the configurable KPIs in use at Mid-Atlantic. It is set up to aggregate by client, project, and field tech that submitted the talgate safety sign in sheet. When you click on a block, the pie chart will refresh and display the grouped values, which are clickable.
Here’s a screenshot of the customizable listing table (pixelated to protect sensitive data). You can basically display whatever columns you want to display in the list, per form template/form type, allowing you to display whatever information is most important and relevant to view.
Print to PDF
Want to print the tailgate safety meeting sign-in sheet to PDF or to the printer? Easy-peasy. Just click on the PDF icon in the screenshot above, and voila!
Integrations (like email the form PDF or upload it to your cloud storage)
This is also easy to do. You can build integrations (or have us build them for you) using Zapier, Integromat, or other similar tool to do interesting things. Like:
- When a form is submitted, email it to the Project Manager
- When a form is submitted, upload it to OneDrive, Dropbox, Box.com or Sharefile
- When a form is submitted, extract the photos (if any) and upload to OneDrive
- When a form is submitted, route it a specific person for approval or rejection (using our approval workflow feature)
- When a form is submitted, append a Google Sheet or AirTable app with the form data
You don’t need to adopt a complex and expensive EHS software tool if all you need is a couple of safety-related forms like a tailgate safety meeting form, for example. You can build these using any generic mobile forms tool like XForms or others. You will spend less money and time building and then implementing your safety forms within your field team, and the user adoption of your digital safety forms will be much much greater.
If you are looking into field safety forms, give XForms a look. It’s simple, customizable, won’t break the bank, and you can build EXACTLY what you want. And nothing more.