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The Fulcrum Focus

Stay in the know with thought leadership, product updates, and latest news on field inspection and data collection topics.

How quality assurance inspection software is critical for an effective quality program

Quality assurance inspections keep operations running smoothly but require effective data collection to assess if work is up to standards, identify problem areas to improve, and avoid rework. 

Save lives (and time and money) with safety management software

Delivering projects on time and within budget is no easy feat, requiring laser focus on a wide range of issues, from quality inspections to asset management, process execution to safety measures.

Using data to nurture a culture of quality in the field

Whether critical installations or safety inspections, field teams perform a wide range of essential functions for many companies. By the nature of their work, however, field teams risk being isolated from not just the main office, but from the very processes which produce quality work. When field teams fall behind a quality curve, potential rework and unchecked safety hazards can threaten both bottom-lines and business reputations. And if they’re isolated, field teams may not adopt the culture of quality that safety managers strive so hard to cultivate.

Fulcrum for data collection: Part III – government

For the last installment of Fulcrum for Field Data Collection software, we explore the stories of some of our government clients – enjoy!

Use platform features – not product categories – to choose the best field operations solution

So you’re looking to do some field inspections, field ops, field data collection, field audits, field inventories, or collecting any  information in the field, and are sick of walking around with a tattered notebook and an on again-off again working pen. Your team has talked it over, and have decided that digital is the best bet for your field operations solution. But where to start?

Prevent losses by using field inspection software for GIS asset management

For companies in sectors like construction, as well as in field-oriented industries like telecom and utilities, the scope and complexity of in-house and field operations mean they’re often just squeaking by: for example, construction general contractors average a mere 4% profit margin (versus an average of 15.5% across all industries). In addition, keeping costs contained is critical for highly regulated telecoms and utilities that are subject to much scrutiny regarding profits, and, in the case of utilities, usually require government approval to raise rates.

How Fulcrum field inspection software helps Elf on the Shelf

Optimizing Santa’s away team: Elf on the Shelf
Most of us have heard of Santa’s omniscience in knowing and grading children’s behavior on a simple pass/fail (bad/good) scale. But in the past few years, there’s been an exciting new development in the whole “Naughty/Nice List” tradition in the form of mass market Elf on the Shelf (shown below being all smug and judgmental). These elves are made to surveil children in the weeks before Christmas, covertly reporting back to Santa what they witness for ease of naughty/nice determination.

Better security and lower risk through SCIM

Centralized provisioning of Fulcrum now available
Fulcrum continues to pursue platform developments supporting not only our users responsible for field inspections, but also the IT teams responsible for making sure they have the right inspection tools in hand to do their jobs. We’re pleased to announce that we do both with our recent adoption of SCIM (System for Cross-domain Identity Management). This update allows users to provision and deprovision Fulcrum using centralized identity management platforms such as Okta and Azure.

Fulcrum data collection forms: Part II – Non-profits

Welcome to the second of our series of stories around clients using Fulcrum to perform data collection in the field. For Part 2, we have non-profit organizations that use Fulcrum’s data collection forms in the field for charitable pursuits.

Location intelligence for smarter field inspections

You may know that Fulcrum is the only field inspection platform that automatically delivers location information with every inspection, every data point, every task, and every issue. But how does Fulcrum’s geolocation capability play out over different titles and job functions? We’ve explored just that in our new infographic, Location Intelligence for Smarter Field Inspections.

Fulcrum for Data Collection: Part I – Companies

While at Fulcrum we often talk about inspections, what about the clients who use software not strictly for inspections, but for collecting field data? In the next few weeks we’ll be sharing some examples of clients whose use case doesn’t fit the mold of field inspections, and how they use Fulcrum to collect richer, more comprehensive data in less time and with fewer resources. For Part 1, we have corporate organizations that use Fulcrum to perform real-time data collection software functions in their important work around the world.

Thanksgiving Safety (or, it’s all fun and games until someone burns the house down)

It’s the time of year when: 

Osmose Utilities Services selects Fulcrum to automate pole assessments

When the leading provider of mobile inspection services for utilities makes the switch from the incumbent – its proprietary, in-house software for pole assessments and field inspections – to an outside vendor, it’s a big deal. Osmose Utilities Services Company has done just that, swapping out its homegrown mobile pole inspections and evaluations application to Fulcrum’s SaaS field inspection platform.

Make your EHS program more productive and efficient with digital field inspections

Environmental, health, and safety inspections (EHS) are one of the most effective measures to identify, prevent, and remediate threats to employee and public safety, quality work, and overall business operations.

Fulcrum enters definitive Commercial Provider agreement with Esri

Great news! Fulcrum has entered a definitive Commercial Provider agreement with Esri™ to build on the Esri technology stack. What does that mean? Let’s break it down.

Field safety management software is the foundation of an effective safety management program

With unsafe working conditions causing thousands of workers deaths and injuries each year, alongside tens of thousands of safety violations, workplaces are rightfully regulated. For a wide range of industries, safety inspections are the frontline tool that make jobs, workers, and sites safer, as well as prevent OSHA fines, lawsuits, and even corporate criminal prosecutions.

Four reasons why “not a good time” is the BEST time to switch to data collection software for utility field operations

Making the switch from pen and paper
Maybe you’ve been contemplating making the switch from pen and paper for your utility pole inspections. Or thought about moving from collecting data on optical loss on fiber optic cable using a spreadsheet typed on a laptop on the hood of your car in the middle of nowhere. However, you don’t get any further because this isn’t the right time to upgrade to data collection software for utility field operations.

Improve safety, quality, and consistency with digital SOPs

Ubiquitous across industries, a standard operating procedure (SOP) is a series of step-by-step instructions that help workers successfully and efficiently execute routine tasks. While incredibly useful to our everyday work, digital SOPs also have considerable benefits at a wider, enterprise level.

Fulcrum for trick-or-treat with maximum sweets

October 2020 was the turning point in the trick-or-treat journey for young Emily, now 14. “The weather was terrible that day,” she recalls. “I mean, it’s northern Illinois so what do you expect, but really? 34 degrees and sleeting?”

Fulcrum’s new, easy-to-use tools gives field inspectors what they need to succeed

Hi Fulcrum fans! When looking for new ways to improve Fulcrum tools, we go to the source:  our users. We did our homework. We spent time with you and your field teams to understand how Fulcrum could make your jobs easier. Our goal was to enhance your teams’ productivity. As a result of this field research with you, our customers, we’re delighted to introduce new features and functionality. These changes make using Fulcrum more intuitive, user-friendly, and powerful than ever.

Digitizing fire inspections clears backlog and save lives

Trained professionals conduct regular fire safety inspections to save lives. They ensure compliance with safety regulations. In addition, they assess the functionality of equipment, including sprinkler systems, smoke alarms, fire doors, and alarms. Inspectors also check for hazards such as outdated wiring and insulation, contributing significantly to building safety and fire prevention.

How digital field safety inspection software helps you do more with less

If you’re a safety manager, it sometimes might feel as though the world is conspiring against you.

Benefits of digital field inspections for fleet management

If it’s got four (or 18) wheels, sooner or later it will give you problems.  From maintenance headaches to inspection snags to outright accidents, a lot can go wrong when you’re dealing with one vehicle, not to mention a fleet of them. A digital field inspection platform for fleet management can help minimize risk – and address problems when they develop.

Keeping cool when the world is on fire: construction worker heat safety

It’s not an exaggeration to say that it’s been a long hot summer: at 40.3°C (104.5°F) the UK logged its hottest day ever, a week-long heatwave in Spain and Portugal saw temps of over 114°F and caused the deaths of over 1,000 people, while in China one of a series of heatwaves brought temperatures in excess of 104°F buckled roads and melted tar roofs. Back in North America, places that were always hot are hotter for longer, while other more temperate locales are regularly seeing record-breaking temps.  Our summer summary? It’s hot, often miserably so, in a lot of the world for months at a time. While many people spend their days in air-conditioned homes and offices, what of those who make their living outdoors?

Closing the loop between field inspection and meaningful action

Does your company use an open-loop or closed-loop field inspection management program? Not sure? In a nutshell, open-loop inspection management means you’re doing inspections, fixing things you note on the spot, but then that’s it.

The danger of food hygiene inspection backlogs – and how a digital field inspection platform can help

By regulating, inspecting, and licensing food providers, local and state health departments ensure the hygiene and safety of the food we eat at all the various points in the supply chain, from distribution centers to grocery stores and restaurants.

Impact of construction labor shortages on safety

As recently reported in a Wall Street Journal article, the construction industry has struggled with labor shortages for some time. The retirement of many older workers is one factor. Young people’s reluctance to enter construction is another. These factors coincide with a construction boom stemming from the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, further exacerbating labor shortfalls.

Self-training and self-inspections lead to safer construction sites

According to the latest OSHA statistics on workplace safety, the construction industry remains one of the most dangerous occupational sectors, accounting for over 170,000 nonfatal injuries and representing around 25% of all worker fatalities in the US in 2020 — roughly 3 deaths per day, and the third highest fatality rate of any industry.

Making bridges safer with digital inspections – part 2 of 2

A new hope
The Infrastructure Bill provides states with additional resources to make long overdue infrastructure improvements. Under a program specifically targeting bridges, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) will distribute more than $27.5 billion to states for bridge repairs over the next five years, in addition to a newly-created DoT discretionary bridge program which will provide an additional $12.5 billion for projects through 2026.

Making bridges safer with digital bridge inspection software – part 1 of 2

The day that President Biden arrived in Pittsburgh to give a speech on the Infrastructure Bill – a recently-approved $1 trillion investment in the country’s failing infrastructure – a bridge collapsed just outside the city center. Nobody was killed, but many were injured, and the irony of the timing is striking. The need for making bridges safer is arguably the most visible, serious, and long-standing infrastructure issue targeted by the Infrastructure Bill. Even beyond the tragic loss of life or property damage, a bridge disaster has a chilling effect because of their ubiquity of use, where 178 million trips are taken across structurally deficient bridges every day.

The role of digital field inspections in controlling invasive species

From mussels to birds, hornets to fish, invasive species of every kind are wreaking havoc on people, property, and other species in the ecosystems they invade. This growing problem emphasizes the critical importance of controlling invasive species to mitigate their destructive impact.

Eliminate inspection backlog with digital checklists

After an elevator went into freefall in Atlanta in August 2021, killing one man, it was found that the elevator in question was long overdue for an inspection because, across the state, many had not been inspected in 2020 due to COVID-related inspection backlogs.

Using Fulcrum’s Intelligent Team Automation to unify inspection teams

So, we’ve launched Intelligent Team Automation. You might have seen the video, the webinar,  the press release, or our launch blog – or maybe all the above. Today we’re going to do a little more in-depth analysis into one of the core capabilities of Intelligent Team Automation:  unifying inspection teams while optimizing each role.

Inspections for condo safety

The 2021 collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside, Florida, tragically resulted in nearly a hundred deaths. This disaster raised serious concerns about condo safety.

How to ensure (and prove) safety and quality under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act introduces new standards for construction and engineering firms. Companies seeking federal funding must now comply with various oversight and evaluation criteria. These criteria span state, local, and federal levels. Compliance is essential for firms to qualify for infrastructure projects under this act.

Transform your tried-and-true to improved-and-new with Intelligent Team Automation

Doing field inspections is nothing new. Even back in the Stone Age, when Fred Flintstone was done with his workday at the Slate Rock and Gravel Company, Mr. Slate probably came around with a stone tablet and a small dinosaur with a sharp beak to chisel in the results of a field inspection of Fred’s work.

Using inspection tech to find leaks and inefficiencies in drinking water delivery

Drinking water comes to you from the 1+ million miles of water pipes that make up America’s water infrastructure system, many of which were put in place in the early-to-mid 1900s. But with a lifespan of 75 to 100 years, this system is starting to show its age.

Trust but verify: combating inspector fraud

In late 2021, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) encountered a severe problem. A former contract worker was accused of falsifying up to 3,000 electric system inspections over two years. The deception was revealed when a power pole, allegedly inspected and declared free of rot, collapsed into a residential backyard. It sent a live electrical wire into a swimming pool, fortunately without causing any injuries.

High-tech solutions to offset low-tech problems

It’s been a wild ride for the construction industry.  First we have the pluses: a surge in construction spending due to pent up demand post-lockdown, $550 billion in federal funding which will spur large infrastructure projects, and a (temporarily) red-hot housing market leading to new residential housing starts increase of 15.6% in 2021. In this dynamic environment, digital field inspection management platforms have become increasingly important.

Buyer’s guide to safety and inspection software

So, you’ve made the decision to stop using paper forms and modernize your firm’s field safety inspection management processes, and you need to pick out a software platform. But how do you know which one is best for your company’s needs? ‍

Combating construction industry burnout

onstruction work is hard. Between long, irregular hours, job insecurity, challenging work environments with extremes in temperature and exposure to the elements, wear and tear on the body, and the threat of injuries, it’s no wonder that construction workers are more at risk of burnout than any other field.

Step up your game with Fulcrum Academy

Construction quality inspections are key to holistic risk management

In its 2021 Global Construction Survey, global auditing firm KPMG reports that nearly 60% of construction and engineering companies interviewed agree that visibility into (and integration of) risks associated with enterprises, portfolios and projects is important for capital project success. Let’s unpack that.

How digital quality inspections can save the day in construction remediation

So, we’ve discussed the problem of construction rework, and the devastating effect it can have on your deadlines and your profits. We’ve also shared how digital quality inspections can help open lines of communication, empower employees to follow the latest processes for quality assurance, and deliver location-based insights to keep supervisors in the know about conditions on-site. But even if you’ve followed all the advice and done everything you can to avoid rework, sometimes it can’t be avoided. Then what?

New hope for lead pipe abatement efforts

Although the use of lead in public water systems was banned in 1986 by the EPA, an estimated 15 to 22 million Americans’ drinking water supply still comes from lead service lines. Now, after 35 years of waffling, grandfathering, and stopgap measures, it looks as though a comprehensive lead pipe abatement initiative is imminent. The recently announced Biden-Harris Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan seeks to finally replace lead pipes throughout the country by utilizing funds from the bipartisan infrastructure package as well as the EPA’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.

Not just for OSHA: How digital inspections are the power tool of workplace safety

OSHA makes your company do safety inspections. So do your insurers, your investors, your unions, your contractors, your state and local agencies. At times it may seem like a line of people is at your front door with pen and clipboard in one hand and a flashlight in the other, looking to nitpick and find fault. We invite you to move away from the mindset of the inspection as an annoyance, a deterrent, and a punishment. Instead look at it as a valuable tool with benefits far beyond those of keeping all the clipboard-wielders appeased.

Why you shouldn’t count on OSHA to keep your workers safe

Like most governmental agencies, OSHA is not immune to political will, and the numbers of inspectors can vary wildly from administration to administration.  In 1980, for example, there were 3,063 workplaces for each OSHA inspector; in 2020, there were 9,286.  Further demonstrating OSHA’s diminishment: in 2010, there were the same number of OSHA inspectors (1,106) as there was 30 years earlier, but by January 2019, there were only 875 inspectors, despite the incredible growth in the American workforce.

Avoiding construction project rework through digital quality inspections

Few words make a construction contractor’s heart sink faster than “rework” – redoing or correcting work that was not done correctly the first time. Construction work is all about margins – margins for time, employees, and profit – and these margins are notoriously thin. When something must be redone, or worse, dismantled and then redone, all of these margins quickly evaporate resulting in missed deadlines, cost overruns, and projects failing.

Using safety inspection technology to make inspections less painful (and more powerful)

Physical work can be hard, dirty, and dangerous – and sometimes even deadly. With about 5,000 worker deaths per year, it’s not hard to see why workplaces are so highly regulated, and why safety is such a priority. And the tool that’s at the forefront of keeping workers safe, and companies from running afoul with OSHA, is the safety inspection.

Bolstering an unskilled workforce through quality field inspections

Having problems finding skilled construction workers? You’re not alone. The labor shortage has hit the construction industry particularly hard: home builder contractors estimate that nearly three-quarters of a million construction workers will be needed each year to keep up with demand and account for attrition, while 92% of commercial construction contractors report moderate to high levels of difficulty finding skilled workers.

How effective construction safety programs add to your bottom line

Project safety and bottom line growth

Construction contractors are developing a new way of thinking when it comes to their safety programs. Construction safety inspections and field inspection management are no longer “a necessary evil” but are an integral part of doing good business. They have an effect on the bottom line that extends beyond simply improving insurance premiums.

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