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How to reduce effort managing pre-starts and improve quality at the same time

Like many organisations in the construction, engineering and fabrication industry Pre-starts are a critical part of our daily planning and briefing process. We need to know that everyday our supervisors and managers are using a standard approach to brief their team.

A good pre-start is a critical tool to manage risk and ensure everyone knows what is going on, and what is expected. Yes they are ‘big brother’ but they are also a critical organisational control.

Early this year, an internal audit for ISO 9001 and OHSAS 18001 noted that the quality of our pre-starts and toolbox talks were not optimal and our admin team was wasting too much time chasing paper and trying to improve the quality. It was a constant battle of trying to read hand writing, and find out where the form was put. Fixing the process would not occur through more training. Rather we needed to reanalyse our entire process and approach.

We knew that we needed to find a tool that catered for our mobile workforce. After researching potential products in the market, we decided to implement iAuditor. A Queensland company, with a per user licensing model. By using iAuditor we could rollout standardised forms and templates and know that our team was always using the right version. We now use iAuditor to support our mobile workforce and have found it in valuable for Inspect and Test, Audits and Checklists.

iAuditor allows our supervisors to use their tablets to fill in the pre-start, record briefing notes, have their team members sign on for the day. At the prestart is completed, it automatically emails the completed form to the people who needed to know.

Why is iAuditor useful?

iAuditor templates ensure everyone uses the same set of questions and automatically gets the new template if things change. Making templates is easy. All you need to do is think the process through logically and workout what is really required.

Another feature of iAuditor templates is the nested questions and business logic. For example, depending on an answer to a question, another question may become mandatory.

'Was there any safety/general alerts?' - If the answer is yes,

Then 'Provide information about the alerts' is now visible and mandatory.

This means our staff are only answering questions that are relevant.

iAuditor - templates

The dynamic fields are also useful for the crew listings - instead of putting down 30 blank spaces, iAuditor allows the user to add a row each time someone signs on.

iAuditor calls everything 'Audits'. In your head redefine the definition of what audit means and think of it here as anything that is a checklist or fillable form! As long as you can get over the label I am sure you will fall in love with this product as much as we have.

What have the benefits been with changing the process for pre-starts?

  • Our supervisors can now fill in their pre-starts before the start of the shift when and where they want – some like doing it at the end of the previous day, others like filling it when they eat their breakfast just before the start of the shift.

  • When we change any forms the most recent version is available – no longer do we have to worry about rescinding old versions.

  • It’s easy to read! No longer are we trying to read handwriting.

  • No chasing is required – through the iAuditor Organisation Account we can now see if they have been completed, the analytics even let us know how long it has taken them to do it – this is important because we don’t want this to take too much time out of their day but need to ensure its not just a tick and flick without thinking.

  • It forces better planning. We have found the quality of the briefings improve because our supervisors know people are reading it.

  • Our payroll team can quickly see if someone was on shift or not if they are trying to find missing timesheets.

  • All our pre-starts are stored in PDF format so everything is searchable in our Document Management System. For example, when payroll could not find a timesheet for a worker instead of asking the supervisor and wasting their time, they just searched for ‘prestart’ ‘the persons name’ and the ‘date’ - in this example, the person wasn't actually at work so instead of chasing a timesheet they went hunting for the missing leave form.

NOTE: this is not a paid post from iAuditor.

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