Managing a mobile workforce based in the field who deliver valuable services but face a unique set of challenges can be difficult from an organisational point of view. Many organisations are concerned with ensuring that not only is service delivery to a high standard but also with how scalable the services are. When field staff don’t have the right mobile technology to support them, the growing workloads of an expanding business become difficult to manage, due to a lack of visibility around their day, poor access to information and high volumes of paper-based compliance. This is felt by the front line staff but also in the organisation, those managing mobile teams struggle with visibility of service delivery, physical locations and how thoroughly compliance is being completed.
The Challenges of a Mobile Workforce
Imagine the scenario, you’re out in the field with limited phone signal making communication with the office difficult. Information is largely paper based, notes are carried from the office onsite and any updates are potentially delayed without the ability to access information automatically. From the onset of a mobile workers day there is a lack of visibility on the jobs ahead, resulting in a lack of preparation that can cause delays throughout the day. Back in the office, staff struggle to track where their field teams are at any particular moment without mobile technology to support them. They have a lack of control if an emergency occurs resulting in a job that needs to be prioritised, they can’t quickly change schedules or communicate changing requirements to those out in the field effectively, causing delays or problems with service delivery.
Another major challenge mobile workers face is around carrying physical paperwork to and from jobs or visits, not only does it take up time to complete but it poses a risk to security of information and data. Notes can easily be left behind or forms misplaced – affecting compliance. The administration element takes up time at the point of service, forms are lengthy and often repetitive, by the end of the day there are lots of notes taken here and there and all have to be typed and entered into the back office system.
Benefits of a Mobile Workforce Management Solution
We’ve mentioned only a few of the challenges your mobile workforce face, you can read more in our blog, “Why Mobile Working is a Necessity to Your Workforce.” Despite these challenges, with effective mobile technology in place both the mobile workforce and organisation can benefit.
Mobile workforce management solutions provide features that improve everyday working practices, removing the challenges those who work in the field face. By providing field staff with a mobile device that contains all the important information they need for the day ahead, as well as access to up-to-date information as it changes, service delivery remains consistent, informed and to a high standard.
The application removes the need for unnecessary administration by containing all relevant information on the device and enabling mobile staff to take notes directly. Accessing their schedule for the day is simple and can be completed from home, providing them with full visibility of the day ahead, they are able to effectively prepare and spend time completing more jobs or visits – not only improving the capacity of each mobile worker but also improving consistency of service for customers.
It’s important to consider when choosing a mobile working solution if it has the ability to grow with the changing needs of your organisation. Deciding upon a SaaS solution will provide a flexible implementation that will allow your organisation to expand without the need for major infrastructure changes.
Now, let’s explore some of the top tips we have for managing your mobile workforce.
The first step is to assess the current working processes within your mobile workforce, without mobile technology these are often time-consuming and inefficient. By streamlining these through the implementation of a mobile working solution, administration is minimised and physical paperwork is no longer carried from visit to visit. Instead, mobile staff have instant access to information and the ability to view their schedules easily – preparing for the day ahead. With access to information on the move, delays are minimised and staff can do more, complete jobs quicker and more thoroughly. Streamlining working practices gives your mobile workforce more time and capacity to do more or simply have a better work life balance.
When you have a large mobile workforce it can become easy to lose track of where everyone is, which is why the right mobile working solution will provide those managing field teams with full visibility of where every team member is and their current job status. Not only is this beneficial for ensuring service delivery is operating efficiently but field staff working in remote locations can feel more secure as any issues or delays are visible to those in the office who can check in with the worker. With full view of where everyone is at any one time, schedulers can respond to emergencies or changing priorities and assign new jobs as required, resulting in a seamless service delivery.
With lots of mobile staff the last thing you need is to lose track of compliance, with automatic syncing to back office systems this becomes a much more efficient process. Mobile staff are able to record notes, as they complete tasks or jobs, directly to their mobile devices, saving time and ensuring consistency. With tailored forms and features such as autofilled details, inputting data is quick and accurate, it also helps to eliminate the risk of human error is reduced. Ultimately, by providing a solution that is able to sync, mobile workers have more time in their day to complete additional work and improve better work life balance as they no longer need to return to the office to update notes.
New Technology & Integrations
Having a mobile working solution that can adapt and grow with changing and emerging technology is essential. NFC technology, IoT, automatic alerts are only some of the additional technologies that could provide further efficiencies to a mobile workforce as well as benefit customers. Integrations are key, they unlock additional capabilities and provide a more seamless experience for the organisation and mobile workforce.
Access to information
A mobile working solution which provides easy access and navigation will ensure no matter who uses the solution, they can quickly adapt with minimum training. Native design ensures that the experience is the same as a device your mobile workforce would normally use; with high user adoption jobs are completed on time and to a higher, consistent standard, all on a mobile device.
Interested in learning how these tips and how mobile working can unlock greater capacity in your mobile workforce? Take a look at our eBook on how to Transform Field Service Management.