The Checker Blog

Is Your Company Ready for Audit/Inspection Software? Download Our Checklist of Considerations

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Tue, Nov 21, 2017 @ 12:44 PM

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In The Checker blog, we consistently advocate the use of software designed to maximize the value of audits and inspections.  

But as much as we believe in the value of audit/inspection software, we realize that not all companies are ready for it.  In some companies, certain issues need to be addressed before moving to a software solution.  

To help you determine if you have any of these issues, we’re offering a free download of a Checklist of questions you can ask to determine your company’s software readiness. 

When Companies Aren’t Quite Ready 

Adopting audit/inspection software includes some technical and logistical issues and you shouldn’t overlook those (and our Checklist doesn’t). But as the nature of many of The Checklist questions reveals, having buy-in from personnel and management is an overriding prerequisite for success. 

If a significant number of the personnel who are going to be using the software are the type of people who would say of themselves, “I’m not a computer person,” then smooth adoption of the software will be difficult. Even a single key company leader can make adoption a challenge if that leader doesn’t appreciate the power of the software and the business logic for using it. 

In general, companies should evaluate their digital savviness. If the people affected by a switch to software are going to grumble and resist the move—or if they simply aren’t comfortable enough with the technology to use if effectively—then it may be premature to make a quick switch to software.  

It’s not that software requires IT staff or users who are computer whizzes—the cloud-based <Checker Software> is so simple to set up and easy to use that no special technical knowledge is necessary. However, personnel without a basic comfort and familiarity with using software are more likely to resist the change and lack the mindset necessary to make use of the software’s full capabilities. 

And the leaders who control the purses strings—including key decision-makers who might never directly use the software themselves—need to understand what those full capabilities are.  

Even if leaders who want the software are able to get it budgeted, division among leadership can undermine the software’s adoption. Without an understanding of what the software can provide (much more than just allowing for inspections on mobile devices), the software’s value is likely to be underappreciated by some key decision-makers, potentially leading to their impatience with the adoption process and even denial of continued funding. 

Fortunately, no challenge related to personnel and management buy-in—or any other factor that could hinder audit/inspection software adoption—is too great to overcome. But first you must identify the specific challenges for YOUR organization. That’s what our Checklist of considerations is for. 

Download it now!

Takeaway 

Moving from paper-based processes to audit/inspection software can greatly benefit any organization—reducing costs by improving communication of results, accuracy, maintenance efficiency, planning, compliance management, and much more.  

However, before moving to software, it’s wise to evaluate your company’s readiness to make the most of it. Our Checklist will help you determine how prepared you are to begin using software, as well to identify areas on which to focus to increase readiness. 

Topics: inspection best practices, inspection checklists, inspection basics, The Checker history, audit software

Our Past, Present, and Future … and Why It Matters To You When Selecting Inspection Checklists

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Thu, May 14, 2015 @ 07:00 AM

It’s been an exciting couple of years for The Checker.

Last year, we marked our 25th year in business. This year, we’re celebrating the 15th anniversary of the debut of our industry-leading inspection checklist books.

15_million_inspectionsWe’ve also been busy developing The Checker Inspection Software, which allows our customers to take advantage of mobile technology and makes it easier than ever to customize The Checker to audit or inspect virtually any asset or process.

“So what?” you might ask. If you’re evaluating the value of the inspection checklist options on the market, why should you care about our history?

Because it sets us apart from our competitors. You can easily find other inspection checklist books out there, as well as inspection software, but if you research the vendors, you won’t find the depth of real-world safety and inspection experience we have at The Checker. 

A Brief History of The Checker

We didn’t start out with the intent of producing inspection checklists. We formed as Devtra Inc. in 1989 with the mission of supplying training and consulting services to help businesses achieve safe, compliant, and effective equipment operations, material handling, and inspection maintenance.

It became clear to us as we provided these services that there was a glaring gap in the field of occupational safety—a lack of inspection checklists that actually benefited companies. Our clients often asked us to help them create inspection checklists that helped improve safety while also increasing efficiency, because no such checklists existed.

So we learned how to design checklists that would do just that across a range of industries and types of assets (equipment, vehicles, etc.). That led us to the launch of The Checker inspection checklists.

What Makes The Checker Unique?

From the start, our checklists stood out because we understood—from our training and consulting—the reality of implementing safety initiatives and inspection programs in business operations. 

checker-home-inspection-books-5We knew first-hand the challenges involved in creating genuine safety cultures and getting personnel to do inspections as they should. But we also had seen repeatedly that when those challenges were overcome, cost reductions and productivity increases almost invariably followed. 

Safety best practice—such as regular, properly conducted inspections—aren’t just a moral issue. They are also smart business, reducing a range of costs and risks while also often increasing productivity. That’s why every detail of The Checker is designed with two overriding goals in mind: increasing safety and increasing profits. 

Is The Checker accomplishing those goals for our clients? More than 15 million inspection checklists from The Checker have been used since we began producing them 15 years ago, and usage continues to rise. We take that as a “yes!”

Takeaway

Not all inspection checklists are created equal. To learn more about why the inspection checklist you use makes a difference in the benefits you get from inspections, download our free Checklist for Inspection Checklists.

Topics: inspection checklists, checklist design, The Checker history

When The Checker Was Born—15 Things Shaping Our World 15 Years Ago

Posted by Shawn Macpherson on Thu, May 07, 2015 @ 03:30 PM

It’s been 15 years since we started The Checker inspection checklists, but it seems like just yesterday. I guess the old saying is true, “Time flies when you’re having fun.”

I’ve always enjoyed looking back, with the benefit of hindsight, at the events that were making headlines at a certain time. And so as I thought about The Checker’s beginnings, I found myself revisiting the important happenings of 2000.

Like our creation of The Checker, some of these events seem very recent. Others, however, feel like they’re from another life.

If you share my love of looking back, this list is for you—15 top headlines from the year 2000. 

1. The year gets off to a shaky start in Canada. The magnitude 5.2 Kipawa earthquake struck Quebec and Ontario on the first day of the New Year, which of course was also the first day of a new century, not to mention a new millennium! Fortunately, there were no fatalities and only minor damage, but this was nonetheless a foreboding introduction to 2000.

2. “The “Y2K” computer problem isn’t a big deal, after all. Computer clocks around the world turned to the year 2000, and there was no worldwide computer apocalypse. Awareness of the problem, and successful efforts to fix it, averted disaster.

640px-NASDAQ_stock_market_display3. The dot-com bubble bursts. The bubble stretched to its limit on March 10, with the NASDAQ peaking at its all-time high. Once the bubble burst, many dot-com’s lost most of their market capitalization, and many didn’t survive. Others persevered and remain tech-sector mainstays (e.g., Amazon, eBay, Cisco). But in 2000, all tech investors knew was that they were taking a terrible hit.

4. George W. Bush defeats Al Gore after controversial Florida election. Remember the hanging chads? Weeks after the election, a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision squashed a recount, resulting in Bush becoming the next U.S. president. Meanwhile, Hillary Rodham Clinton was elected to the U.S. Senate—leading many to wonder if she had her own eyes on the presidency. What do you think?

5. The largest corporate merger ever is completed. America Online agrees to buy Time Warner for $162 billion. Fifteen years later, the America Online brand seems like a relic from a lost time, virtually synonymous with that “ancient” technology—the dial-up modem.

6. A U.S. judge orders the breakup of Microsoft. It’s easy to forget how dominant Microsoft was in the 1990s. They were so powerful in computer technology that the U.S. Department of Justice and 20 state attorney generals sued the company for exercising monopoly power. A U.S. appeals court determined that Microsoft had indeed violated anti-trust laws, and the remedy was to split up the company. Well, that never happened, but many of the “monopoly” practices Microsoft was found to be engaged in were stopped, and Microsoft has never been the juggernaut it was pre-2000.

7. The “I Love You” worm cripples computers worldwide. Tens of millions of computers were infected after users opened emails with “I Love You” (or variations thereof) in the subject line. Fears that similar attacks would become commonplace have unfortunately been borne out and are now widely known as phishing.

8. Pierre Trudeau dies. Trudeau—who served as Canada’s prime minister from 1968 to 1984 (except for 1979-1980)—died in September. His state funeral was held in October. For the tenth time, he was named “Newsmaker of the Year” by the Canadian Press.

9. Life goes on without Charlie Brown and Snoopy. After the death of Charles Schulz, the creator and illustrator of the Peanuts comic strip, the last original Peanuts strip is published. Sadly, the end of an era.

10. Steve Jobs introduces the public beta of the Mac OS X operating system. For a time in the late 1990s, it seemed as if Apple was fated to be a niche tech company at best. Steve Jobs—who had recently returned to Apple, the company he founded—had other ideas.

2003-09-23_Convenience_of_a_cell_phone11. Mobile phones continue to gain social acceptability. Of course, it’s hard to pinpoint a date, but there was a time when using mobile phones in public was seen as a show-off move…and then suddenly there was a time when it wasn’t. The year 2000 was about that time.

12. Vladimir Putin is elected president of Russia. Unfortunately, this isn’t a name that’s been relegated to the past.

13. Al-Qaeda attacks U.S.S. Cole. In January, high-level al-Qaeda leaders met in Malaysia, and two of the men who would hijack commerical airliners on Sept. 11, 2001, were there. In October, two Al-Qaeda suicide bombers badly damaged the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen, killing 17 crew members and wounding many more. The world was paying attention—but not enough.

14. An explosion at a Phillips Petroleum chemical facility in Texas kills one person and injures more than 60. After a six-month investigation, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) determined that a failure to properly train workers was a key factor in the explosion.

15. A coal slurry spill in Kentucky releases 250 million U.S. gallons into the surrounding river system. The spill, which was 30 times larger than the Exxon Valdez oil spill, polluted hundreds of miles of river, killing aquatic life and contaminating the water supply for more than 27,000 people. The slurry was more than five feet deep in places, covering nearby residents’ yards.

Takeaway

Another important event happened in 2000—the creation of The Checker safety inspection checklists! That may not have made headlines, but for 15 years now, The Checker has been preventing headlines like the Philips chemical explosion and the spill in Kentucky.

And that’s exactly what The Checker will be doing for the next 15 years—protecting personnel, companies, and the public from the consequences of failing to check for safety.

 

Upper image courtesy of bfishadow, Creative Commons; lower image courtesy of Ildar Sagdejev, GFDL.

 

Topics: The Checker history