How to Do Inspection Checklists

Operator Rounds – The Digital Solution Market

The market for digital inspection checklists has grown in recent years as more businesses and organizations have begun to recognize the benefits of using digital tools to streamline their inspection processes.

Digital inspection checklists are typically used in industries such as manufacturing, construction, healthcare, food safety, and environmental safety, where inspections are critical to ensuring compliance with regulations and maintaining safety standards. By using digital checklists, organizations can improve the accuracy and consistency of their inspections, reduce the risk of errors, and save time by automating repetitive tasks.

According to a report by Grand View Research, the global market for inspection management software was valued at USD 742.6 million in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.8% from 2021 to 2028. Increasing regulatory requirements drive this growth, as the need for efficient and cost-effective inspection processes and the growing adoption of digital technologies.

What are inspection checklists?

Inspection checklists are tools used to guide inspectors and auditors through a structured process of evaluating the condition, safety, or quality of a product, process, or system. Inspection checklists are designed to ensure that inspectors cover all the necessary items, ask the right questions, and record their observations consistently.

An inspection checklist typically includes a list of items to be inspected or evaluated, along with a set of criteria or standards that define what constitutes acceptable or unacceptable conditions. For example, an inspection checklist for a manufacturing process might include items such as equipment condition, quality of raw materials, and compliance with safety regulations.

The checklist can be in a paper format, but nowadays digital checklists are more commonly used. Digital checklists offer advantages over paper checklists, such as real-time reporting, automatic data capture, photo evidence capture, and more.

Inspection checklists are used in many different industries and contexts, such as construction sites, manufacturing plants, food safety inspections, vehicle inspections, health and safety audits, environmental compliance audits, and more. They can help ensure compliance with regulations, identify potential safety hazards, improve quality control, and ensure that processes are running efficiently.

What are the 8 benefits of an inspection checklist?

Using an inspection checklist offers several benefits, including:

Ensuring thorough inspections: A checklist helps inspectors to cover all the items and tasks they need to check, minimizing the risk of missing important details.

Improving consistency and accuracy: With a standardized checklist, inspectors can conduct inspections more consistently, ensuring that every inspection is performed the same way and providing more reliable data.

Reducing errors and oversights: An inspection checklist helps inspectors to identify errors and oversights more quickly, which can help to prevent mistakes and reduce risk.

Streamlining inspections: With a digital checklist, inspectors can save time by automating tasks like data entry and report generation, allowing them to focus more on the inspection itself.

Improving communication: An inspection checklist can help to improve communication between inspectors and stakeholders, ensuring that everyone is on the same page regarding what is being inspected and what needs to be addressed.

Enhancing transparency: A digital inspection checklist can help to enhance transparency by providing real-time reporting, giving stakeholders greater visibility into the inspection process.

Promoting compliance: Inspection checklists can help to ensure that organizations are complying with regulations and standards, reducing the risk of penalties and fines.

Enhancing quality control: By identifying issues quickly and accurately, an inspection checklist can help organizations to improve quality control and reduce the risk of defects or non-conformance.

Maintenance techs learn how to complete inspections faster

Adding checklists to your workflow also makes it easier to train new technicians. The age-old tradition of having a master and apprentice is a time-honored system in the trades. People learn by working under the direct supervision of someone more experienced. But with checklists, you can speed this process along, setting up junior techs to work more independently sooner. The checklist tells them what tasks they need to complete, the order they need to follow.

How can you tell you have a good inspection checklist?

A good inspection checklist should be designed to achieve the specific goals and objectives of the inspection. Here are some characteristics of a good inspection checklist:

Comprehensive: The checklist should cover all the critical elements that need to be inspected or evaluated to ensure that nothing is missed.

Specific: The checklist should be tailored to the specific inspection, taking into account the industry, the type of equipment, or the process being inspected.

Consistent: The checklist should be structured consistently so that the inspection is performed the same way every time, reducing variability and ensuring that results are reliable.

Clear: The checklist should be easy to understand and use, with clear instructions for each item on the list.

Measurable: The checklist should include objective criteria or standards that define what constitutes acceptable or unacceptable conditions, enabling inspectors to record accurate data.

Up-to-date: The checklist should be reviewed and updated regularly to reflect changes in regulations, standards, or best practices.

User-friendly: If the checklist is digital, it should be easy to navigate, with features such as auto-population, conditional logic, and user-defined data fields to ensure data accuracy and completeness.

Customizable: The checklist should be flexible enough to allow inspectors to modify or add items based on specific inspection requirements or conditions.

Provides actionable data: The checklist should provide clear, actionable data that can be used to make informed decisions and take corrective actions.

By following these guidelines, you can create an inspection checklist that is effective, efficient and provides valuable insights into your inspection process.

Improve Maintenance Operations

Increase visibility into maintenance history, inventory, and procurement, and provide the right inputs to develop a maintenance program that maximizes return on asset investment:


Maintenance Engineers

Better plan and schedule maintenance activities to increase asset uptime, reduce unplanned downtime, reduce costs, and enable efficiency in labor productivity.

Procurement Managers

Automate requisitions, purchase orders, and quotations with contract and invoice matching. Implement approval and workflow capabilities to reduce administrative workload and provide enhanced flexibility.

Operations Managers

Build a detailed history of equipment information based on day-to-day maintenance activities. Failure history, including symptoms, the cause of failure, and action is taken, can be reviewed and analyzed quickly.

How can you create new inspection checklists? If you’re starting from scratch, where should you start?

If you're starting from scratch, here are some steps you can follow to create a new inspection checklist:

Determine the purpose of the inspection: Start by defining the objective and scope of the inspection. What are you trying to achieve, and what areas or items need to be inspected? This will help you to identify the critical elements that need to be included in the checklist.

Research industry standards and regulations: Research relevant industry standards, regulations, and best practices that apply to the inspection. This will help you to identify the specific requirements and criteria that need to be included in the checklist.

Identify key stakeholders: Identify the key stakeholders who will be involved in the inspection process, such as inspectors, auditors, or supervisors. Get their input on what should be included in the checklist and what criteria or standards should be used.

Talk with your maintenance techs:
It’s always a good idea to get as much of that tribal knowledge somewhere safe before you lose it, and creating checklists is one way to do it. Because your techs know the assets and equipment well, they already know how best to take care of them, what to look for, when to be worried, and when everything looks fine. When developing checklists, you can use anything from informal conversations to a formal sit-down meeting to get their insights down.

Develop the checklist: Using the information gathered in the previous steps, develop a comprehensive and specific checklist that covers all the critical items to be inspected. The checklist should be easy to use, with clear instructions and objective criteria or standards for each item.

Test the checklist: Test the checklist in a real-world setting to ensure that it is effective, efficient, and provides valuable insights. Use the feedback from the testing to make any necessary adjustments or revisions.

Train users: Train users on how to use the checklist effectively, including how to record data, follow instructions, and report results. Provide support and guidance as needed.

Review and update regularly: Regularly review and update the checklist to reflect changes in regulations, standards, or best practices. Incorporate user and stakeholder feedback to ensure the checklist remains relevant and effective.

By following these steps, you can create a new inspection checklist that is tailored to your specific needs, easy to use, and effective in achieving your inspection objectives.

Comparing Maintenance Strategies and Approaches

Combining IoT with analytics and automated business process enables new, higher levels of maintenance effectiveness and maturity. IoT allows organizations to reduce data quality issues associated with manual inspections and move to automated data collection. This vastly improves data quantity and integrity, enabling new maintenance strategies. ARC classifies maintenance maturity into five types or levels: reactive, preventive, condition-based, predictive, and prescriptive.

SmartX HUB APM - The right data, anytime, anywhere.

Inspections are critical for setting up and running a successful maintenance program. And at the heart of maintenance inspections is your equipment inspection checklist, an ordered list of things to look for and do prior to confirming an asset is ready to go.

Checklists come with a lot of benefits, including increased consistency so techs can learn the ropes faster and find problems sooner. A good checklist has everything in a logical order and focuses on health and safety throughout.

The best EAM solution makes the whole process of working with maintenance checklists, from development to deployment, a whole lot easier because it automates so many of the steps, and it’s in those little steps where bad data creeps in when you’re stuck using paper-based checklists. 

SmartX HUB’s global presence, coupled with its deep industry and business transformation expertise, has proven that the methodologies and experience gained from thousands of worldwide engagements help clients achieve real business results and innovation quickly and cost-effectively.

Contact us to get more information on how we can help you overcome the challenges to your construction business or to check out a free demo.


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