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#1 loke_boon

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 07:22 AM

Any experience with Pest control operators using an eletronic reporting system?

Is it useful?



#2 Ptinid

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 12:51 PM

I work for a Pest Management company that does not use an electronic system (i.e. bar-codes and on-line reports) as yet. We have resisted this for a few important reasons.

1. cost - the cost of these systems is high, and we're currently unconvinced by the benefits they offer.
2. Auditability. Our experience with BRC, AIB, M&S, Tesco etc is that auditors prefer a hard copy paper trail wherever possible. Some of the on-line systems provided by the 'big boys' especially are not easy to drill down into, and to check that work has been done to specification.
3. Flexability. We've found, when carrying out 3rd party audits ourelves on PC companies, that the systems seem to be hard to adjust to the needs of a specific client.

I am certainly not saying these systems are no good. We are continuing to investigate and try to find something that will work with what we want to be able to provide, both for our own benefit, but especially for our clients. At the moment, it looks like we'll migrate to a more elecronic/web-based service control system (which our clients will not see), but keep our existing amalgam of hard copy reports, risk assessments, graphs, and electronic reporting by email.

I'd be really interested in others' views on this as well.



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#3 nuntamd

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 01:26 PM

Hi Guys,

we are a small IT company presently working on the on-line platform that will allow its users to scan bar codes using their smartphone (should reduce the price). All the information is going to be kept on the main server. However all the reports are going to be simultaneously sent to e-mail. Therefore there will always be a possibility to keep the soft copy or to print the hard copy.

The platform will work based on electronic signature and unique IDs, therefore there will be no way to fake the reports.

I will get back to you guys once the platform is on-line for those who would like to test it in their facility or for Pest Control Companies that want to use it for their customers.

The account can be fully customized for each Pest Company or user.

And as you probably already understood I vote PRO electronic reporting in Pest Control ;)



#4 Antores

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 10:00 PM

Hello, I have used 3 different Integrated Pest Management companiesin USA, all of them used electronic systems (barcodes). I find very useful because:

· The operator must SCAN each device (Trap/Baitstation) and must of the times open it to be able to scan. There is no way theoperator can enter information in the system without scanning. This guarantees that all stations are actuallychecked. Believe it or not, I have foundsome operators that “skip” some traps in manual inspection to save time betweenlocations

· Other benefit is that a central manager osupervisor can receive this report from several locations. Reports are sent tome from different locations in USA and I can monitor what is happening. Also,since this are “Integrated Pest Management” Inspections, I can see when thereare corrective action to take care of.

· Finally, the companies (at least the ones Iused) also print a copy paper of thereport, so the inspections are actually in a book or binder in a conventionalway for the inspectors.

AS Ptinid said, a disadvantage may be the price; it has acost for the pest company which is going to be transferred to you, so I wouldsay it depends of your company. If you are a big company used to electronicrecords, give it a try. If it is onlyone location and the current pest control company is doing a good service, justkeep doing what you are doing. I mean,there are no going to be less pest because the records are electronic right?



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#5 slushie

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 11:09 PM

Hi
we have been using a electronic pest control system for some time, we found the pricing to be comparable but the big plus is that they have to open every trap to scan the barcode, this ensures accurate reporting,
our external auditor was also very happy to see that we had moved to this system as it cut down on the use of a lot of paper and all the reports were accessable online,



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#6 sprout2577

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 11:40 AM

Yes JP Pest out of NH covering a good part of New England has it. I loved it great tool and it works great. The SQF auditors thought it was the way to go as well.
.

After each JP pest visit (twice per month) they would file a report online of findings, thinks like cracks, holes, or other areas that they thought we needed to fix. Then I would work with my team to get the corrective actions done.

Hope this helps,

VP Sprout



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#7 Foodworker

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 01:25 PM

I tend to take the opposite view on internet based reporting systems to most of the earlier posts, in that I dont like them. When I do an audit and the pest control company has an on line system, there are almost always problems.

The principle sounds good, but in many cases the factory seems to lose the hands-on control and contact.

Some factories are very diligent and frequently access the site and review the records etc., but many don't.

Often the first problem is that they can't remember the password and have to phone up to get it, which never looks good in front of an auditor.

They then are not familiar with the layout of the site and can't find things like the contract details, site plans and trend analyses. The information is there, but the Technical Manager has not had the spare time to go on the site and learn about it - it is a lot easier to reach up and take a folder from the shelf.

I did one audit when the website was down on the day of the audit so there were no records availabe at all.

To me, it seems that the internet based reporting systems are designed to benefit the pest controller rather than the client.



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#8 Antores

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 04:46 PM

FoodWorker is right, this may happen, but with the exception of when the internet server is down, this is more an internal company issue than an issue of the electronic reporting.

As I mentioned before; it depends of your company. When looking for an electronic-based pest control reporting system, you should not only key in the service provider, but your company as well. For instance, I work with Produce and farms, I personally like computers and electronic reports, especially because I work on a centralized location and this give me better visibility of the whole operation, but I’m conscious that the operators who work at the farms are used to the manual paper system, and most of them are not very computer savvy,and more likely, as FoodWorker reported, thay will lose the password, would not know how to log in, or even worst, won’t even look at electronic reports.

In this case our solution was a “merge” between both systems. The pest control operator used barcode readers to read the traps and zones and enters the information electronically, BUT, they do have mobile printers, and print a report before leaving, show it to the person responsible and file it in the pest control binder (the conventional way); But additionally, I also get an electronic copy from all different locations around the country. That works perfect for me, my operators, the inspectors , and my company.

You can look a pest control company that do the same, and see if that works for YOUR Company. Also, before getting in to a contract, you could ask the pest control company for a trial period.

c

Edited by Antores, 25 August 2011 - 04:50 PM.


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#9 Jim E.

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 02:33 PM

Our PCO company uses an electronic system for thier visits as well. We also get a one page written report at the end of the visit that list any issues that require action. We will then get an electronic copy later that day or the next for the entire visit. For the most part the system works well. Our biggest issue is with our internal reviews where we may not use the results to our fullest capabilities. Auditors ask for trending reviews, which we have, but they always want us to dig deeper. For exmaple down to each trap and which ones are trending higher.



#10 Bunny

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 04:29 PM

I`m with Ptinid on this one, It`s ok for the likes of the lads in north America where such well constructed and developed software is available.

However we are talking about the UK here!!!!!!!!!!! The products on offer here are at best in my opinion not fit for purpose and at worst it`s best I not sully this thread with my full thoughts on this one.

The industry in this country is still in it`s infancy, for gods sake it is still possible for some commercial clients to expect that the local authorities undertake their pest management and expect it to be subsidised by the state?? Go figure.

Where a service is regarded as having little or no value to the client and at best is a grudge purchase where the only criteria is the lowest price available the likelehood of investment in new technology and methods is very low gentlemen.

I find that with my BRC clients that the auditor does like to see an well laid out folder with all hard copies of all counts, trends and treatment reports because at present there are very few viable alternatives available. And at present those available are not cost effective because of the initial cost and ongoing fees, they are a specialised field and as there is only a small pool of companies that could use the software they have to recoup their investment somewhere and load the end cost to the buyer.

For the forseeable future I`ll continue with the system I have now, it meets all the requirements of the auditors but would like eventually to move to electronic recording and scheduling but there is nothing at present that I see that fits the bill without major investment to bring it up to the standard that I would like to work with.

Best Wishes

Bunny


"If you think it is expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."
Red Adair, American Oil Well Firefighter.

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#11 GMO

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 04:43 PM

Generally they're ok in my experience of a very big supplier in the UK but as someone said earlier, they don't necessarily give you what you want for audit. That said, there are some advantages; I always think seeing activity on a plan is helpful and easier to understand. Some flash or alert you on the plan which can give you some guidance on further work to do beyond the pest contractor's recommendations (e.g. focussing particularly in the areas where there have been bait takes for proofing and keeping waste down.) That all said, I'm not sure it's worth it. One real benefit I guess is hard copies can go missing.



#12 Charles.C

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 07:45 PM

Hi Bunny,

I am wondering if Red Adair has retired yet ? Or perhaps Red Jr.? :biggrin:

Best Regards / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#13 Bunny

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 10:13 PM



Charles that quotation with regard to the pest control industry in the UK will be as pertinent in 5-10 years time as it is today

Best Wishes

Bunny :headhurts:



"If you think it is expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."
Red Adair, American Oil Well Firefighter.

#14 fstRicky

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 04:44 AM

All said the electronic systems are not as great as hyped by the PC company. Like someone said it benefits them and not the consumer. I was hesitant on upgrading after seeing another company which had it.

We recently had one installed – it seems to have a lot of potential but the PCO technicians didn’t know how to fully use it. The reports generated were not dated – go figure.

A lot has been said that since the barcode is on the inside the bait station will be opened and serviced. There is no guarantee of this. Opening and scanning barcode does not always result in service (cleaning, replenishing etc) if you have a dodgy technician he/she will open with one hand scan with the other and close with the opening hand in one swift motion. It boils down to a little bit of honesty on the technician.

What I do with mine I print all weekly reports and have them in a folder for the Auditor to see. I never take them to the website, save time and move on.

Like some one said above - our system in Australia (like the UK) is many years behind.
They are good but I recommend a trial run like Antores suggested before you commit – its is an expensive venture.

Also ensure you have hard printed copies – it works better. I don’t know how you complete an Audit successfully without print outs of Licenses, insurance, trends, etc..



Ricky


Edited by Ricky E, 19 September 2011 - 04:46 AM.





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