Field monitoring capabilities can be a big differentiator among sample suppliers. In principle, automation should empower a host of capabilities, from real-time problem detection to mid-stream supply corrections to live insight into survey design issues at any hour of the day. However, this level of implementation is rare, despite the fact that manual field monitoring is no longer sufficient.

Reactive field management, which is the way human-based project managers generally operate, means delayed problem solving and bad respondent experience. In a manual environment, problems usually aren’t detected until it’s too late, and everyone–respondents, buyers and suppliers–suffers. Even if a sample company uses automation, if the technology isn’t fully integrated, it won’t solve field problems. Automation that is not aware of field progress will just keep banging away, wasting sample and causing a project to decline at a rate that is faster than the reaction time of even the best project manager, who is generally trying to manually find and troubleshoot problems.

There’s no reason for this disconnect. There is plenty of data to feed predictive algorithms that should allow suppliers to monitor progress to completion and automatically signal problems for review and remediation in real-time. When automation is used correctly, suppliers can constantly watch each and every project, detecting anomalies instantly, closing quotas automatically as they fill, and otherwise quickly and efficiently ensuring projects remain on track and raising alarms when they are not. Automation thus brings peace of mind to the research buyer and better experiences to the respondent.

Managing field proactively using automation is the only answer. While human project managers are still essential to solving problems, machines provide best way of detection. Buyers should gain an understanding of how their suppliers use automation to ensure an on-time delivery and monitor projects in field. With the recent announcement of its feasibility API, P2Sample is now using end-to-end automation for every step of the process.

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