American Forest Foundation launches ATFS Inspection app
First of its Kind Mobile Application Developed to Increase Efficiency of Certification Process
In the United States, 282 million acres of forestland is owned by more than 22 million private owners. The American Tree Farm System® (ATFS), run by American Forest Foundation (AFF), is a network of 82,000 family forest owners sustainably managing 21 million acres of forestland. ATFS is the largest and oldest sustainable woodland system in the United States, internationally recognised, meeting strict third-party certification standards.
The Inspection and Certification Process
In order to be an ATFS certified Tree Farmer, a landowner must meet ATFS’s Standards of Sustainability and the property must be inspected by a natural resource professional, trained as an ATFS Inspector. In the past, these inspections were an arduous process. Forms were completed by inspectors using a traditional pen and paper format with the results then having to be mailed back to a central office and manually typed and entered into the ATFS database.
Some of the challenges this paper-based process created were;
- Welcome packets could take months to reach the Tree Farmers.
- Changing details was laborious.
- Interpreting handwritten notes could cause incorrect data being entered.
AFF recognised that improving the data collection and inspection process was vital in order for the organisation to become more efficient and cost effective. They decided that a mobile solution would allow them to streamline the data collection process and make the inspection procedure as quick and simple as possible for the trained ATFS Inspectors.
A Partnership Approach
After receiving bids from different companies, AFF selected Pulsion Technology to help craft their solution. Pulsion took the time to understand the organisation’s strategy and its mobile efficiency goals, working with various members of AFF’s team.
AFF were impressed with the functionality, flexibility and BYOD (bring your own device) capability of Pulsion’s Enterprise Mobility solution and were confident that Pulsion could develop a mobile working solution to improve their inspection and certification process and drive the organisation forward.
Pulsion developed the ATFS Inspection App based on Pulsion’s Enterprise Mobility product. This allowed inspections to be completed on both Apple and Android devices. The app allowed inspectors to ‘bring their own device’ (BYOD) which meant that they could use their own smartphones or tablet to collect data. Inspectors didn’t even need an internet connection to complete an inspection; they could simply sync the information with the ATFS database when they were back online.
Pulsion worked closely with AFF to integrate the app with its existing systems and processes so that all of the data collected for inspections flowed into the ATFS approval process that culminated in the validation and recognition of landowners.
Enterprise Mobility Benefits
Upon using the app, AFF started to see a significant improvement in the quality of data being collected from the field and entered into the ATFS system. Turnaround time also reduced considerably meaning certifications were being approved promptly. Pulsion’s Enterprise Mobility solution improved the efficiency of the entire process considerably compared to the original method of manual form filling and data entry.