Online forms or offline forms on paper – Why choose?


A form is a document with spaces (fields) in which to write or select, for a series of documents with similar contents. The documents usually have the printed parts in common, possibly except for a serial number. Advantages of forms include:

  • one has to write less (while the printing is almost universally done in some automatic way)
  • one is told or reminded what information has to be supplied
  • uniformity, for convenience in processing

courtesy of Wikipedia

We all use forms everyday.  The list is truly endless. So what happens to these forms once they have been filled in? Are they filed in some dark filing cabinet?

So what if you used an online form builder? You could then use these forms both online or offline, depending on your needs, and keep them all updated and easily available to those that need to use/complete them. Forms have been in existence for centuries, and each serve the same purpose. To be used when requesting information, contracts, etc. but in these times, with technology we have now, shouldn’t we be able to do more with a form?

Why would you need to use online forms?

  • It’s a safer alternative; when you look at many of the cloud based systems out there, a form is only made visible to those that need to see/work on them.
  • Its convenient; seriously, who wants to go through all the pages in a complex form, standing in queues for hours, when an online version is available for someone to use from the comfort of their own homes or offices.
  • It’s environmentally friendly; your office can finally “go green”.
  • When it comes to business management, forms are invaluable.

So, a form is still a form right? Not entirely:

We have added a small tweak to forms. Now, not only can you complete/create forms for online/offline use, but you can link them to other areas in the system. For instance, you have a form linked to a set of controls, which are linked to actions, and then linked to documents within the system. What that gives you is a dynamic control system that is practically fail safe. For instance,  you can have a management plan uploaded to the system, set up your controls (preventative, reactive and mitigating), and then link them to a form to be completed once a task is completed.

There is also anther spin on forms we works with, which has been used successfully in mines across Australia. If your company works with Acts, Legislations, Standards etc. forms are the perfect way to make sure these are followed to the letter. How? By creating new forms, adding each clause separately to the form by using the complete online form function (see images above), and this will then give you a list of each clause, which you can link to documents, risk assessments or analysis, controls across our system. You can even add the original clause (usually in pdf) to the document management system, and then link it to the main form template. This helps you create a system that follows the respective laws in your country to the letter, and also helps to find the weak spots in your business, and find solutions to get your projects back on track and up to scratch.

A few other uses for online forms in business:

  • In plant dossiers, you could link forms from the dossier itself in the DMS, to actions and controls. Making sure that whoever is in charge of (let’s say) maintenance of a certain vehicle or mobile plant (machinery), they know exactly what needs to be done, and the form can serve as a means to update what has already been done, giving you a reference to work from if something should go wrong.
  • In the Asset Register, a form can be used throughout the commission, purchase and decommission phase of a vehicle, piece of work equipment or mobile plant/machinery. That way you know exactly what you have tow work with, and what still needs to be bought, or sold, or even rented. Using a form to update rent payments, or installments could help you save a lot of time and effort when it comes to the monthly (business) finances.
  • For clients, these types of forms can be used for orders (or to track them), issues or problems (linked to documentation), and many other ideas. This can help enhance your customer service.

There are many other ways you can use forms. They are so versatile, that there is literally no end to their use. They are easy to create as the form creator works on more or less the same principals as Excel does. Where everything is plotted out in cells (A1, A2, A3 etc.), so you don’t need to have someone on call to create the forms for you.

What do you think? Are forms that important to your everyday business? I would love to hear your thoughts

As always, wishing you P2B

Dreamrage

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2 thoughts on “Online forms or offline forms on paper – Why choose?

  1. I think u must check out some online form builders which provide all the features which are mentioned above. Online forms are the best tools for conducting surveys to managing lists.
    Some online form builders which I am using are Zoho and one such tool which am planning to use is CollateBox http://www.collatebox.com/. Worth having a look at this one.

    • They are really versatile yes, and an integral part of any business. Truth be told though, I already use the P2B system shown in the images (which our company creates and maintains) and it forms part of a much bigger picture in the end, when you look at what they can be used for.

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