A solid and compact reporting system is indispensable for every company. Even in the SME sector, in the course of an average company’s life, a vast number of documents in a wide variety of formats accumulate, which in printed form could easily wind their way around the globe a few times.
In the past, reports were understood to be evaluations in printed form on paper, but nowadays, of course, reports are no longer bound to this medium and can also be created and used in electronic form. It is all the more astonishing that even in the age of digitalization, companies with modern IT-supported processes still have huge archives with bulging file folders.
Reporting generally covers all the facilities, means and measures used by a company to process and store information on a site, each of which is grouped together for a given objective. Reports support the strategic and operational management of a company as well as the cooperation with customers and business partners by making the economic basis of the cooperation transparent.
In the service sector of machine and plant engineering, too, reports play a particularly exposed role. They include a wide variety of service reports, checklists and protocols, for example maintenance checklists, UVV (accident prevention) inspections or work instructions. The following requirements have to be taken into account in particular: the reports must be edited on site by the technician, the documents must be signed, the data must be available in an evaluable form and filed in order to comply with the duty of documentation.
Reporting system from Innosoft flexible solution for machine construction service
In the context of the classic service management system, the Dortmund software house Innosoft GmbH has been offering a sophisticated reporting system including digital forms and a report generator for many years, also used in conjunction with Innosoft document management.
In addition to the form design for quotations, invoices or order confirmations, the structured and evaluable reports are also used extensively in field service, where technicians carry out various actions on machines at the customer’s site, such as installation and maintenance, repairs or necessary tests. Even with the classic reporting system it was already possible to process the service reports offline and have them digitally signed by the customer and the technician.
On site at the machine or plant, where the technician has the most direct contact with the customer, valuable knowledge is gained, because successful companies derive their innovations essentially from the problems and needs of their customers. Therefore, service reports also offer useful suggestions regarding product innovation for the sales and construction departments.
However, these reports have little effect as standard reports that are printed, copied and then filed. Only in a database as dynamic reports, whose input mask is not hard-coded but can be designed by the customer with clearly structured specifications for the technician, can they be meaningfully evaluated at any time.
Integration into browser-based Field Service Management
Innosoft’s Reporting module is now available in an extended form as a dynamic reporting system also in the new, browser-based Field Service Management, and many customers are pleased to be able to use the feature via web and cloud. In addition, the Mobile app (Android and iOS) opens up completely new possibilities with the smartphone or tablet.
Peter Ebbrecht, one of the managing directors and responsible for the coordination of development, also sees a great strength of the new solution in the fact that the test protocols and checklists can now also be processed by the field service technicians via tablet or smartphone. Together with project manager Guido Horst, he has currently designed the introduction of the new reporting system at a packaging specialist in Hamburg.
“You can create a photo of the part to be inspected directly from the app and store it in the appropriate place, which of course makes it much easier to document visible damage”.
It is also possible to record the documentation of an inspection directly via mobile phone or tablet. He sees further advantages in the “significantly more flexible structure, for example, pictures can be integrated into the templates. In addition, the programmability is considerably more extensive.“
The situation at the packaging machine manufacturer in question is still as follows: In the course of pre-assembly and assembly, checklists are used at the company in Hamburg to document various sub-steps and to carry out QA acceptances. In the course of project preparation, different types of checklists were identified, whereby repetitive types could be recognized, which were mainly divided into the categories checklists, measurement reports and measurement series. These lists are created and printed out as Word templates, then filled in by hand and subsequently converted into Excel lists.
Digitalization of processes and storage in database
Today’s paper-based process, in which the documents are available in digital versions but are printed out and filled in by hand, is neither up-to-date nor necessary — and is also prone to errors. In order to come closer to the goal of paperless filing and thus the digital machine file, the process is to be digitalised in the future, so that the data is immediately captured on a tablet and stored in a database without media breaks.
Once the pilot project in Hamburg has been completed successfully, it will be rolled out to the company’s other sites. Thanks to the multilingualism offered, the protocols and checklists can also be compared and evaluated across national borders. Ultimately, the entire assembly process is to be documented in order to have a complete and evaluable QA certificate available.
Defining dependencies offers new possibilities
In addition, it is also possible to define as to which values are to be interpreted as warnings or errors. The result of the report is displayed at the level of the questions as well as at header level with the help of a traffic light function. Templates can be stored at various objects such as a machine type, which in turn can be passed on in the process and thus, for example, automatically assigned to an assignment at this machine type.
Deviations from the standard already visible during processing
Even during the tests, informative insights can be gained. For example, the software indicates deviations from the target specifications, for example when checking the value ranges, already during processing. The display is multi-stage, from a simple warning to a critical error. Failed tests can already be seen in the overview via the status.
The new reporting system not only allows to document a machine order in detail, i.e. to accompany a machine through the entire assembly process, as is planned at the Hamburg company, but also to record all other service procedures in a complete machine file. Due to the evaluability provided by the standardisation of questions and input options, it is then also easy to create meaningful evaluations of certain machine types with the help of the Business Information module, which is also available as part of the Field Service Management, and the standard statistics supplied there, and ultimately to use these for construction improvements.
In combination with the new Innosoft Maintenance Management, the dynamic reports can also be specifically assigned to a maintenance section and automatically made available to the technician. In this way, the technician always has the correct checklist at hand for planned maintenances.