This post is the first in a series looking at the advantages of mobile forms over their paper equivalent. Given the many advantages, we hope you will consider going "paperless" soon to help make your mobile workforce more efficient.
We will today, look at the speed of mobile forms compared to their paper counterparts.
Creating the form
If you have your paper forms printed, perhaps in NCR (carbonless) form, you will experience a considerable delay between designing the form and having it printed and available for use. This delay is particularly noticeable when you are looking to make a minor amendment to your forms, maybe due to an improved workflow; in any event, the printing delay can be sufficiently significant to prevent you from actually implementing the change, at least until your current batch of paper forms becomes due for renewal.
Of course, you may not have NCR forms printed, you may create your own paper forms in your favourite word processor and then print them as needed. This is of course much quicker than having forms printed (although more expensive when printing larger volumes). So how do mobile forms compare now? Well creating a form in Formulate is no more time consuming than creating a similar form in a word processor - if you take into account the often time-consuming formatting required, Formulate is in many cases faster than using a word processor.
So dependant on how you create your forms, Formulate is never slower than the alternative, and in the majority of cases significantly faster.
Distributing the form
Irrespective of how you created your forms, distributing paper forms always required physical transmutation. Generally, this would be by your staff coming into the office to collect the forms, although post or courier services could, of course, be used. In any event, once collected by your staff, it is difficult (if not impossible) to change their daily forms.
Distributing mobile forms, of course, does not require physical contact, nor does it require a rigid collection time. Forms can be distributed electronically at any time and received at any time. Sending and receiving both require an internet connection but in either case, any form which cannot be sent (possibly due to a remote phone or tablet being out of service) is queued by Formulate's cloud-based distribution manager and sent as soon as the device becomes available.
In terms of distribution then, Formulate's mobile forms are very significantly faster than paper, and dramatically more flexible.
Receiving the completed forms
Similar to distribution, receiving paper forms requires either physical contact or a postal service. At best, you only receive your completed forms at the end of the day, and in many cases, this could be much longer.
The receipt of a completed mobile form, is, however, instant (in the case of an in-service remote phone or tablet) or close to instant (where the system queues the form until the remote device comes into service). In either case, the mobile form is significantly speedier than the paper form.
This real-time view has a secondary benefit of giving you the ability to monitor the progress of your mobile workforce (more about this in a later article).
Transposing the form in the back-office
Once you have received your paper forms, you undoubtedly want to take some action; this may be to create an invoice or order a part, but in all cases, you need to transcribe the details from the form into another computer system.
The paper transcription requires reading the paper form (hopefully with no errors) and typing the information into another system.
The data transfer from Formulate can be fully automated by using the system's API* but at worst, the transcribing is simple a series of cut and paste operations.
We hope we have shown that across to board, formulate is quicker, often substantially, than it's paper alternative. Contact us now, to discuss how Formulate could help your business.
* an API is simply a published method of retrieving data from, or posting data to, a computer system.