Enhancing your end-to-end workflow with mobile technology
By John Cameron, general manager of Trimble FSM
Thursday, March 5, 2015 - 12:00
Is mobility transforming your fleet?
In his latest opinion piece for FleetPoint, John Cameron, general manager of Trimble Field Service Management looks at how your workflow can be enhanced using mobile technology
Mobile technology is redefining the workday as field technicians increasingly leverage mobile devices for tasks that previously required time-intensive phone calls and paperwork. Today this technology is helping to streamline workflow by mitigating daily challenges that used to derail even the best laid plans. In a recent Aberdeen study, 82 per cent of organisations identified mobility as a strategic initiative to gather real-time intelligence for issue resolution. Clearly, this technology offers significant benefits in enhancing end-to-end processes.
The following are five ways we see mobility transforming the workday:
1. Operational Efficiency
Mobile devices and apps connect field workers to back-office personnel, customers and equipment, facilitating a real-time end-to-end flow of information that allows field service personnel to make critical decisions so they can move on to the next task expeditiously. At any one time, an in-day schedule change might require calling a dispatcher or having to drive back to the office to pick up paperwork, but with mobile technology, information is delivered to technicians’ devices, making them more efficient and better able to perform their tasks no matter where they are.
2. Work-driven Collaboration
By connecting field techs with each other and back-office personnel, mobile technology keeps everyone within the organisation aligned. A truly mobile workforce transcends the limitations of geography. Workers can access information anywhere, anytime, regardless of their location, and in many cases, are more connected than if they were confined to a desk. From the field, they can use mobile devices to request information or assistance from other co-workers already in the field, preventing costly disruptions in their workday caused by trips to the office. The mobile worker can contact teammates in the event of a problem such as needing a part to complete a job. If a nearby co-worker has the part, the technician doesn’t have to waste precious time and fuel driving to a warehouse to retrieve it. It is this enhanced collaboration that leads to increased productivity and, ultimately, a more efficient workday.
3. Streamlined Service
Real-time access to route and schedule information and unplanned schedule updates help field technicians to not only get to their assignments faster but also helps them resolve issues more quickly. Mobile technology provides the technician with easy access to information such as customer and equipment repair histories, invoicing and billing issues, and locations of nearby technicians to request assistance in case of problems or to notify them of jobs at risk. This access solves the immediate issue and reverberates through the workday in the form of enhanced efficiencies, time management and increased service excellence – three of the key challenges facing field service organisations today.
4. Enhanced Integration
While mobility is extremely valuable to field service organisations, the value increases exponentially when properly integrated with other platforms, including workforce management. Integration facilitates the real-time flow of essential information, automates tasks such as the capture of location and performance data and job-related notifications and allows immediate access to information such as invoices and customer histories. Greater integration leads to greater efficiency, which leads to streamlined operations and that leads to an enhanced bottom line.
5. Tactical Planning
Field mobile devices, in-cab equipment and M2M sensors attached to field machines constantly capture and transmit data to back-office systems, where it can be stored and analysed for optimal decision-making. Whether it’s proactive maintenance to mitigate equipment failure or enhanced routing and scheduling to increase productivity, quantifiable insights delivered by the data can make the difference between running a good operation and an excellent one. Data from the field helps refine operations and identify trends and areas for improvement, which leads to enhanced performance and happier customers.