Use Cases

Image-based checklists. ☑️ A new approach towards compliance

Sep 16, 2021 5 min read

Qvalon Blog article content

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

As technology expands its influence on our regular lives, so does the volume of information that we have to process. The only thing that remains constant is time. There are still only twenty-four ours in a day. Naturally, we are more inclined towards mediums, sources, channels that provide us the most information in the least possible time. This mindset is reflected through our addiction to visual-based online networking platforms. People do not have time for reading and processing text-based information. They prefer photographs, videos, and audio.

Image-based checklists. A new approach towards compliance

It is truer if we focus on the recent professional dynamics only. A business’s standards and procedures could be complex enough that it will be tedious for its workforce to fully understand them through text-based mediums only. Hence, the checklist approach that used to work as recently as ten years ago, or maybe even five years ago might not be suitable for current needs given how quickly operational activities evolve.

Checklists — the old way

Checklists are the most effective way to ensure compliance with the company’s standards and procedures. Most companies realize its importance but still employ outdated ways. One of which is printed copies of checklists made in MS Office software. These copies are then available with all concerned employees and also displayed at necessary locations within the company. Obviously, printing and distributing hard copies is a repetitive and time-consuming task. Collecting completed checklists is a similar experience. By the time any insights can be drawn from this collected data, the actual on-floor situation has probably changed. Any conclusions drawn are too late which leads to similar problems cropping up repeatedly or in the worst case, additional new problems. Dependency on printed copies has a negative impact on ecology too, as even today most of the paper used in businesses is non-recycled since it is cheap (FIX PRICE realized this after they associated with QVALON and started to save three trees per day worth of paper).

The second way is more technological and it involves the use of dedicated software to overcome the manual labor involved in the distribution of checklist and collection of filled checklist data. The shortcomings are the way checklists are drafted and understood. For example, a checklist point is “There is no queue at the checkout“. The statement is ambiguous.  One employee can consider more than ten people as a queue. For the other, that number could be three. Such tasks create confusion among the workforce. They will also not reflect correct data, hence insights drawn from its analysis will be incorrect and the chain reaction will continue, eventually affecting efficiency and quality.

Time is of the essence

The bigger or the more complex a business process, the longer and more detailed its checklist. There will be more questions in the checklist and it is expected that each of them is correctly answered. In such scenarios, the success and failure of checklist results come down to its language. Sometimes it takes a lot of text to describe a standard in detail. For example, to define what the cashier's workplace should look like, you will need to specify many different requirements. The responsible employee will need time to read and assimilate all the information on this concern. It might also be the case that the employee has read the description repeatedly to fully understand and spent more precious minutes. Now imagine that there are ten such questions.

To overcome this nuisance, it will be enough to actually show the standard to the employees. It will reduce the time to understand large and complex descriptions. This can be done easily with QVALON. There is the option of attaching a photo to the question as an explanation which can be used as the benchmark.

Now, the employee needs to carefully examine the image to conclude whether the cashier's workplace meets the standard or not. And if not, they can clearly see the improvements needed. Parallelly, the auditor (usually the manager or supervisor) can provide quick feedback on the image submitted by the responsible employee. The auditor can conveniently comment on the image highlighting the improvements needed which again are quickly understood by the employee.

Misunderstanding can cause poor performance

If an employee performed their work incorrectly, for example, they did not put the workplace in order, then it does not mean that they did it deliberately. Maybe they do not understand the protocols or standards enough. In such cases, the reference photo will not only reduce the time to study the standard but also immediately help the employee to perform their work efficiently.

The ability to use photos as part of checklists provides two advantages:

  • It allows you to perform a more accurate check;

  • It discourages the employee to manipulate answers as they have to provide validation through photo(s).

The photo report allows management to quickly respond to detected problems. For example, a store manager, upon receiving a photo of an untidy sales area, can immediately set a task for the responsible employee to correct it. The employee will instantly receive it and proceed to make corrections. Moreover, the employee will know exactly what needs to be fixed and how the end result should be.

Checklists — the new way

QVALON based checklists with photo reporting overcome three shortcomings of conventional but outdated methodology:

  • It saves time,

  • It makes the data more accurate and reliable 

  • It contributes to quick team coordination in error correction.

Image-based checklists. screenshot

It is worth noting that all photos are well-sorted and distributed into the appropriate folders. You can quickly find the  information requested, which reduces the time to analyze the results or to refer to previous records.

At QVALON, our team delivers a personalized, simple, and cost-effective approach to grow your business. Connect with us and understand how a new approach towards checklists can transform your business for the better.