Thursday, July 13, 2023

7 Secrets To Turning Your Paper Forms Into A Mobile App

Transforming your company from paper to digital enterprise can be a daunting task. 

Your company may have been rewarded with customer relationship management (CRM) tools and accounting software, but now you have to pass this stream of digital information to field workers. The most successful people in automation using the Uncode Mobile Forms platform are getting the paper forms that field workers use every day. A no-code platform can give you the tools to turn these documents into powerful mobile apps.

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In this article, we list down seven secrets to successfully converting the paper form to the mobile app. If you have experience with web applications and Microsoft Excel, you will soon realize that designing your own app will flow naturally with the code design tools available in Forms on Fire.

When allocating funds for process improvement, companies want to know what they can get as a return on their investment. The first three secrets shared in this white paper focus on how to predict this return. In most cases, your ROI will exceed 300% in the first year. 

Once you know your ROI is positive, moving on to the next step will help you move things along faster.

1. Identify High Utility Forms Used by Field Workers

To identify the best candidate forms, you must first meet with the people who use them. Arrange a meeting with some of your top field staff, technicians, salespeople, and supervisors. List all these forms, how often they are used and how long it takes to complete them on paper. Often this includes inspections, safety reports, audits, orders, and more.

Take your time for this process and be fully prepared when the time comes. Really digging companies can understand what is unnecessary in the area and what is needed for the business. Understand how these forms are used. What is the information required for the job of Field Worker? What information does the field worker find useful for office workers? It is important to note what information is needed as opposed to "what is good". Ask field workers to give priority. Remember their choices, but make your own.

Write down more information that comes to mind, such as photo, signature, and GPS location. Think about what would be useful when implementing the device capabilities of today's smartphones.

Be sure to ask how many forms they fill out each day and how long each form takes. This will be useful when you calculate savings by moving from paper and clipboards to mobile apps. Finally, ask for the basic structure of the form in Word or Excel. It will also be important to get some filled-out forms.

2. Identify the re-entry, assembling, and dispensing process

It is now necessary to understand how offices and administrators work with information gathered on paper. How to reach the farm office? What are the procedures involved in the form? Is the company paying office workers to re-enter the information in the database? Is the form created using Word or Excel for readability? Is there a reconnection process when office workers attach photographs and other information of the field worker in addition to the handwritten form? How long does all this effort take?

In addition to the work done on these farms, you may need to find out if there is a workflow for farms inside or outside the office. Has any form been sent for revision or approval? How many steps does it follow? Can the form be returned to the sender at each stage of the process? How are the forms distributed and how are people informed of their steps in the process? The guarantee that this research process is taken seriously cannot be overemphasized.

Lastly, what is the final distribution and filing of the form? where do you send them? Does a copy go to the account? Has the copy been sent to the customer? How long does it take to distribute the forms to the office workers?

3. Measure Your Return on Investment (ROI)

This is where it pays off. In this step, you will combine the information from Steps 1 and 2 above and compile it into a financial model. Use this information to support your farm investment in the Mobile Farm Platform.

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Give time to the field workers to fill the paper form. On average, you can expect to save up to 25% on your mobile. This is possible by reusing the data in the drop-down, such as voice-to-text capabilities and device status, company name, date, etc. Multiply the total time remaining per month by the cost of labor. For example, if the paper form takes 10 minutes to complete; And you have ten field workers, and each user fills out 10 forms every day for 22 days per month, which is expected to take you 22,000 minutes, or 366 hours per month.

(10 minutes X 10 staff X 10 forms per day X 22 days per month). If those wages cost you an average of $35 an hour, your total field wages cost $12,833 per month. You can expect to save about 25% of that cost. The office workers who submit, resubmit, file, and deliver forms are the next part of your calculation. Often this part of the process takes twice as long as it does in the office area.

Using the above number, it provides 732 hours of re-registration, editing, etc. per month. It is possible. Office workers will cost you $20 an hour, for a total of $14,640 per month. By automating re-entry, assembly, and delivery, you can expect to save up to 80% or more of this cost per month. In the example above, your monthly savings are $14,920. ($12,833 X 25% + 14,640 X 80%). The typical cost of going mobile in the ballpark would be A$35 per user per month. With 10 users in the field and 4 users in the office, your monthly cost will only be $490. A 3,000% monthly return on investment will capture the attention of any business owner.

4. Get started with a free trial and design your own app

It's time to put your skills to work. Find a mobile farm platform that gives you a free trial, such as Fire on Farm. Don't be shy, look around the stage and ask for help if you get stuck. Take a form from old research and start building it. Considering your field workers, think about how they will interact with the app on your screen. In Form on Fire, we call him Screen Designer.

Without any programming skills or training, you can drag any field (text field, number field, photo field, date field, signature field, etc.) into your screen palette. Each field allows you to define any number of business rules, such as whether a field is required to show or hide a field, and any branching logic based on the previous answers.

Once you've designed your app, you can save your work and test the app on your device right away. Bring your phone or tablet and make sure it works as you expect.

5. Design Your Report Layout

Now that you can collect information digitally, you need a way to automatically fill out your reports for this data. You can achieve this by taking a paper form design (Word/Excel) from step 1 above and using them as a template. Leading mobile form platforms will take advantage of the forms you've already developed and use with pen and paper. Some platforms require you to build your report layout based on proprietary PDF-based programming tools, which are usually limited to giving you very little control. With Forms on Fire, we use pure Microsoft Word and Excel.

You may have heard of "mail merge" used in Word and Excel for many years, just name the field where you want the data to appear in your template. For example, a field where you can say the customer's name in Screen Designer becomes {{customerName} in your Word report template. This is true not only for text, numbers, and dates but also for signatures and photographs.

After you've designed your template, you'll want to look at it. This can easily be done by uploading your report template to your screen using the connector. Learn how to do this in the next section.

6. Deliver Your Forms

Once the report template is complete, we can now design connectors that can deliver your forms to the people who need them. Email connectors are very popular for getting information directly and instantly to your customers. The email connector can include the form Person field and any of your company's standard distribution lists.

If you need to exclude your report from the audience group; For example, if your customer receives a separate report from your accounting department, you can create two connectors that deliver the final report to these two separate groups.

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Enterprise-grade platforms like Forms on Fire provide you PDF, Word, Excel, CSV, etc. Will give you the ability to choose which report format to provide.

Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, etc. You may also want to add other connectors to your cloud storage to file your documents. And if your mobile form provider is really advanced, it should be able to send data to anyone using the Open API. You can have a database.

The last step, testing, should always be considered.

7. Check Your Form / Get Feedback

Predict, test, test. In this final step, it is important that you test each of your newly created forms from start to finish. Invite one or more of your field staff to try the form. Let them critique your work and suggest what other information is needed and where sharing could make their job easier. For example, if you want to order parts, do you need to inform your spare parts department about the parts required for a new work order?

In testing, allow the people using the report to receive it and provide feedback. What more could they have wanted? Need to change the look and feel? How do they feel about reaching out to customers in this region? Ask your marketing department if they want to promote or cross-sell other products or services to your customers. Do officials need a dashboard of real-time data coming from the field? If so, you will need another connector directly to your data warehouse or business intelligence platform.

Make sure you meet the needs of your company and especially your customers. Step 2: Some Ideas Need to Be Implemented. Remember, specify the ROI you calculated in Step 3 to keep up with the pace.

As you move from paper to digital, you see that the possibilities are endless.

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