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Can Apps Simplify Regulatory Compliance?

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Can Apps Simplify Regulatory Compliance?The announcement of a couple of new apps connected to the gases and welding industry caught my eye over the last week. First, OSHA launched a phone app that allows workers to measure the heat index of their work environment. Something like this might be more useful for welders than welding distributors, but it shows that regulatory agencies are paying attention to mobile technology.

Perhaps an Hours of Service compliance app could prove useful to distributor drivers in navigating complicated rules and exemptions, or maybe a medical gas compliance guide can make sure everything is in order. There are some definite possibilities that could make compliance easier and simpler.

Also, researchers at Purdue University are developing an app that allows users to interpret a hazmat placard by taking a picture. While geared at emergency responders, this sort of app could offer some potential for distributors who deal with hazardous materials to help promote a safe environment. “These new capabilities include the use of image analysis methods to automatically determine the type of hazardous materials present based on an image taken of the sign or placard, as well as the appropriate response protocol and evacuation perimeters,” says David S. Ebert, Silicon Valley Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Oddly enough, the hazmat app uses the same technology as an app that interprets gang graffiti. So if you are unfortunate to experience vandalism to your building, cylinders or trucks, the app can help you steer clear of danger.

What kind of app would you like to see to help with compliance?

Phone Apps for Gases and Welding Distributors

Monday, August 9th, 2010
What app would you like to see?
Photo: liewcf

A recent editorial in the New York Times compiled twitter responses to the question: what cell phone app doesn’t exist but should? With the number of apps, it’s a little hard even just to think of what cell phone apps don’t exist. There are even optimized routing apps to help figure out the quickest delivery route, but what about “an app that maps out my grocery list in the supermarket to give me an optimized shopping path?” (as suggested by one NYT reader).

I am extending the question to you, but with a focus: What phone app should exist that would help gases and welding distributors?

Maybe it’s something for inventory. Maybe it’s for salespeople (an app to find customers would be nice). How about a GAWDAwiki app to search industry terms quicker from your phone? Maybe an app could manage your cylinder tracking or CRM.

There are endless possibilities, and it’s completely up to you. Get your creative juices flowing and let me know what app could make your life easier, allow you to develop better customer relationships or improve your business in some way.

Also, what phone apps do exist that you use in your business? How do you use them?

Leave a comment and share your app ideas and examples. I look forward to hearing what you come up with.