Example Use Cases

These are just a few examples of many use cases that XForms can help improve for your organization.

Commissioning/Startup

Commissioning / Startup

Room & Equipment Logs

Room & Equipment Logs

Construction QA/QC

Construction QA/QC

Property Inspections

Property Inspections

Safety Inspections

Safety Inspections

Livestock Inspections

Livestock Inspections

Environmental Fieldwork

Enviromental Field Data

Vivarium Management

Vivarium Management

Construction & Building Commissioning / Startup (Cx)

 

XForms was designed from the ground up with commissioning in mind.  Startup and commissioning workflows were front and center when first designing XForms from a mere concept.  This meant creating a system that could automatically calculate partial % complete at the form level and which would make it easy to set up a Cx project, something that is not so easy or quick with current software systems.

Some of the unique features of XForms when it comes to commissioning include:

  • Design form templates easily with our Form Designer (we can also design them for you)

  • Assign form templates and their % complete weights to device types and other hierarchical categories that you create

  • Batch assign device types to your devices/equipment list

  • Display only incomplete (not completed) devices of a particular discipline to a field tech

  • Field tech can partially complete a device and save it as draft.  System automatically calculates partial % complete and rolls this up to all of your hierarchical device type category levels.

  • Field tech can mark a device as a punchlist item with various priority levels

Construction QA/QC Inspections

 

 

American Electric Power put XForms on the map when their Construction QA group asked us to build them the next generation software tool that could help track contractor non-conformances at their power plant construction projects.

With XForms, AEP can:

  • Quickly clone/design & test their own table-heavy forms, and deploy them to all their inspectors regardless of the device type being used in the field.  For their inspectors still uncomfortable with mobile devices and which still prefer paper, the web version of the mobile app is used by clerical/support staff to add inspection data captured on paper forms.

  • Take pictures and draw on top of them to point out non-conforming items and issues, even in offline mode.

  • Add and remove inspectors as needed, including ability to change their app permissions.

  • Edit reference list values as needed.

  • Use the reporting dashboard to view doughnut charts of non-conformances and lessons learned by plant, inspection type, contractor, and inspector. 

  • Print inspection reports to PDF.

  • Programmatically extract all data collected and insert that data into other internal enterprise software tools.

Absent from their system are complicated features, menus, and fluff.  Sometimes less is more.   

Safety Forms

 

Safety forms were also part of the original use cases analyzed when first designing XForms.  This came principally from Starr Electric, a local electric contractor that was in need of a better system than they were currently using at the time.  While most of the features required for safety forms are relatively straightforward, a few twists were required, which were integrated into XForms.  This includes: 

  • Ability to trigger a subform to be called up based on a checkbox being marked as TRUE. This particular workflow can be used for checkboxes on a pre-task plan that indicate that a project is going to require Lockout/Tagout, energized equipment, tall ladders, etc.  When the field tech taps on one of those checkboxes and tries to submit the form, the appropriate subform pops open, gets pre-populated with header details from the parent form, and then the field tech can complete the remainder of the subform.

  • Routing of forms to particular people for review, approval, and signature.  This workflow can handle a use case wherein a field tech needs to fill out a form, route it to a particular person in their org (e.g., the Safety Officer of the company), who then will receive a notification of a pending form, reviews the form, and either rejects or approves it.  Notification is then fired off to the field tech as to the status of the submitted form.

Some of the safety forms you can create with XForms include:

  • Pre-Task Plan

  • Daily Jobsite Inspection

  • Voltage Verification

  • Injury/Illness Accident Form

  • Near Miss

  • Daily GFCI Inspection

  • Tailgate Safety Meeting Form

  • Lockout/Tagout Form

  • Excavation/Trenching Permit Form

  • Energized Work Permit

Environmental Field Data Collection

 

One of our cofounders’ background is in environmental consulting.  For many many years (over 2 decades), Jim collected gobs and gobs of field data on—you guessed it—paper forms.  Things like drill logs, well construction logs, low-flow groundwater sampling forms, chain of custody forms, Phase I ESA assessment forms, remediation system equipment data forms, and more.  Jim spent years trying to automate a lot of paper processes within his own environmental consulting firm and for other firms.  This goes back to the days of Palm Pilot and later PocketPCs running Adesso Client, a fully bi-directional synchronization engine which was later acquired by Jim’s environmental consulting firm.   Yea, that far back.   

Clearly, we have the experience building digital environmental forms, even complicated low-flow groundwater sampling forms that required lots of stabilization criteria calculations while entering field instrument data.  All of that experience went into the development of XForms.

 

With XForms, you can build any of the following types of forms, and view actionable information on a simple-to-understand visual dashboard :

  • SPCC and tank inspections

  • air, water, and soil sampling forms

  • wetland delineation forms

  • Phase I ESA field forms

  • chain of custody forms

  • remediation system equipment performance logs

  • asbestos survey forms

  • drilling activities

If you use forms in your environmental business, chances are pretty good that you can build them in XForms easily without having to resort to a specialized software product with way too many options and features that you will never use.  When you build your own, you can keep it simpler, and add more when you need it.  Things like:

  • photo capture field, which lets you add a caption and draw on top of the image to point out things

  • signature field

  • Excel-like table grids, something that no other generic forms software can do

  • collapsible sections that, when collapsed, override/ignore required fields within that section (this makes for speedier completion of forms in the field when the weather sucks

  • map where your forms were completed.  Yea, with XForms you will know for sure if the guy you sent to watch a drill rig all day long actually watched the drill rig (or filled out the form at home)

Room and Equipment Logs

 

Sterile Lab Services, a partner of XForms, introduced XForms to the pharmaceutical industry.  A typical pharma manufacturing plant in the mecca of the industry—Research Triangle Park NC—will characteristically have people in white labcoats sporting hairnets and clean disposable booties walking around in ultra-clean lab environments housing expensive and shiny stainless steel equipment in near sterile rooms.  These rooms usually will have a dedicated room and equipment log book inside the room.  These log books are basically filled out forms stored inside a clear plastic ziploc tied off to a permanent fixture near the entrance to the room.  

 

Whenever the FDA conducts an audit of the facility, the FDA auditors invariably will ask to see the room and equipment log books.  This means retrieving the physical “books” from each of the rooms, photocopying them, and handing the photocopies to the auditors.  While this workflow is not complicated, it still is a somewhat decentralized approach to something that could be easily centralized, which would allow for the plant manager to hit a button and email the log books to the auditors.  

Audit Trails

 

In the pharmaceutical industry, audit trails are required.  On the paper forms, if you make a mistake, you have to cross out the incorrect information, and initial and sign right above it.  The idea here is to ensure that nothing gets lost or edited after the fact.  This stuff matters, and understandably so.  When you are creating a batch of medicines, the last thing you want to encourage is the falsification of data.  

 

While permissions controls available now can be used to lock down the ability to edit forms by others, XForms is in the process of creating a fully auditable system that can be validated for compliance with CFR Title 21.  When the audit trail feature within XForms is completed, it will allow for full audit trail, meaning full traceability for any field in your room and equipment log forms.  That means you will be able to easily and quickly see if any values were edited, who edited them, when they were edited, and even where they were edited (geolocation capture).    

 

Property Inspections

 

CSTAT, a partner of XForms, has various clientele, primarily in the real estate, due diligence, and property inspection space. One of their large clients manages several thousand apartment complex units. Their current property management system—while working fine as a reporting tool on a desktop with a large monitor—does not really have a solid field inspection component. This means that their field inspectors in charge of conducting preventive maintenance inspections of all apartment units on a semi-annual basis have to fill out paper forms. This information has to then be manually entered into their property management system after their inspections. Through the XForms APIs, the collected information can be integrated into the property management software programmatically, eliminating time to manually enter the information that was already collected while also eliminating transposition errors in that process.

 

Connecting XForm’s Mobile Component to an Existing Enterprise System

 

Because of XForms’ rich API, a perfectly valid use case is to extend the power of their existing property management system to the field by integrating with XForms.  That way, their field crews can use common hardware such as iPhones, Android phones, tablets, and even laptops to capture unit inspection information—even large quantities of photographs and signature signoffs—and once they submit the forms on their device, that information is immediately extractable from XForms’ datastore and can be inserted programmatically into their existing enterprise management system, with no need to switch systems at all!  

What we have found to be a common issue with large enterprise management tools is that a lot of work is put into the dashboard and admin interface, while the field data capture component of that enterprise tool is treated as an afterthought.  XForms can fill that gap, providing the best field data capture tool available today, and hooking it straight into an existing enterprise system, made possible by 2-way RESTful APIs.

 

State Agency Program Inspections

 

The State of New Mexico’s Livestock Board is in the process of upgrading their existing system (which was built on the Adesso Platform) to the XForms Platform.  Their requirements included:

  • Fully offline capability (cattle ranches are in far-off remote locations)

  • Run the native app on Windows 10, in true offline mode (so that they could continue using their existing fleet of ruggedized Panasonic Toughbooks)

  • Table grids that an inspector can add a row to, and that can handle calculations including SUM a column (to be able to generate applicable permit fees on site)

  • Print to a portable printer (to be able to print official certificates and receipts on site)

  • Integrate with their existing Animal Brands database running in an on-premise instance of Microsoft SQL Server (sitting behind a firewall)

  • Ability to draw a brand by hand using a finger or stylus on a tablet screen if a particular brand doesn’t exist in their Animal Brand database

  • Map the location where the inspections were completed

The above requirements are not a problem for XForms.  NMLB’s unique system is being developed now, and is expected to go live in the Fall of 2019.

 

Vivarium Management

 

This is something that we didn’t even know existed.  But makes total sense.  Vivariums are big business in the pharmaceutical industry. Drug manufacturers need to test their drugs on animals under very strict and well-documented environmental conditions.  As such, an entire industry exists to maintain and care for these animals.  

So what do vivariums have to do with data collection?  Here’s some of what is collected on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis at a typical animal vivarium:

  • Room temperature and humidity levels

  • Health condition of the animals in each room.  If an animal is found to be sick or dead, this needs to be reported to the veterinarian, who then has to complete a different form.

  • Whether water, food, and bedding was replaced/added/cleaned 

  • If floors were swept, hoods cleaned, air purged, and more. 

Most vivariums today still use paper forms and logs to document all of this activity, with that documentation staying in the room.  Whenever someone needs to review the data, an employee will visit the room to retrieve the log book, take a picture of the needed page, and then email/text this picture to the person requesting it. 

While the above paper-based workflow works fine even in today’s world, there are alternatives to this paper-heavy process by adopting that device that everyone—and I mean EVERYONE—has in their pocket: a smartphone. Yea, that thing.  That thing that is used for virtually everything nowadays.  It can also be used to document all of the above data normally collected in a vivarium, plus you can incorporate photos (for documenting sick animals) and embed those right into your forms.  

Other Use Cases

 

XForms can tackle a wide range of use cases, some of which we’ve never even heard of.

If your particular need involves field work, or capturing data from disparate and/or remote locations by a remote staff, it’s very likely that XForms can handle it and improve upon your current workflow and process.

Even if you already have an enterprise-grade solution in-house, if that solution doesn’t have a mobile data collection component (or if its a poorly executed one that is more of an afterthought), you can use XForms as your mobile data component and then hook it straight into your enterprise solution, providing you with an elegant and easy data collection system without having to abandon or replace your existing enterprise solution.

One of the nice things about XForms is its ability to adapt to your own unique workflow and requirements, instead of the other way around. 

Contact us now for a demo and to discuss your unique needs.

 

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