The demands on the utilities sector have never been greater whether it’s increasing customer service expectations, the need to be compliant or meet industry regulations. As your organisation grows, it can be difficult to keep track of your field-based teams and monitor how they are utilising their time. Manual processes and lack of automation can limit organisations’ capabilities to improve their performance. Using paper-based timesheet procedures can be labour intensive and result in data entry errors. Utilities organisations today are increasingly automating a wide variety of their processes such as the introduction of smart metering, automated billing, invoicing and timesheets.
Today commercial organisations are making the shift towards equipping their utilities field workforce with the right tools to deliver a quality service first time round and improve customer satisfaction. Wireless communication technologies which are NFC enabled are now paving the way for the development of innovative, smarter applications. Businesses today are increasingly introducing this type of mobile technology to evidence proof of attendance and to collect timesheet information within their workforce. According to a research report by Grand View Research Inc, the NFC market is estimated to reach an expected $47.43 billion by 2024, due to the increasing infiltration of smartphones.
So, how does this technology work and how can it help benefit field-based staff and utilities organisations today? In this blog we take a look at timesheet automation, the use of NFC technology and how it’s beneficial to the utilities industry.
What does NFC stand for and how does the technology work?
NFC (Near Field Communication) is a wireless technology which allows for the transfer of data such as text or numbers between two NFC enabled devices. NFC tags enable wireless communication between an electronic device and any item with a tag placed on or near it as the name suggests. The tag is usually in the shape of a sticker or label and can also come in the form of NFC enabled products such as wristbands, key fobs and most recently enabled on mobile devices where customers can scan their phone to pay for items. NFC tags contain a small microchip which holds a small amount of memory for the technology to store and transfer information. There is also a small coil wire which produces magnetic fields which will react with your device.
When adding data onto an NFC tag it is referred to as encoding. There are various forms of data which can be encoded onto the device ranging from contact details such as a phone number to an email or website address. The device will then be enabled to receive and store this information allowing it to remember it in future.
What are the benefits of using NFC technology and automated timesheets?
Automated timesheet solutions usually allow employees to scan their employee identification badge which is NFC supported, enabling them to calculate their time. Implementing NFC technology to use as part of an automated timesheet process introduces a range of benefits for both the customer and organisation. Firstly, employers will be able identify accurate hours worked in order to process precise payroll information. This ensures employees are paid correctly and on time. Secondly, it helps identify potential attendance issues preventing absenteeism. Finally, it reduces time and costs associated with manual paper-based processes, petrol costs and travel time as well as reduces time spent rekeying data and avoids data entry mistakes.
Benefits of automated timesheets for the utilities industry:
- Allows your organisation to plan, manage and measure your gangs’ activities more effectively.
- Improves utilities gangs’ productivity and performance as well as provides full visibility of your field-based workforces’ hours worked.
- Simplifies access for gangs to record their hours no matter where they are based, eliminating unnecessary travel back and forth to the office.
- Speeds up the critical task of processing timesheets from receipt to payroll.
- Immediate digital/electronic record of forms instead of having to type up after, reducing the costs of paper usage and time spent in administration duties such as rekeying data.
- Improves compliance as information is accurately recorded and visible for auditing purposes.
Automated timesheets from Totalmobile
Totalmobile have recently developed a timesheet solution which allows for gangs to use a central mobile device to enable employees to compile their timesheet for a given job, including the capturing of associated expenses. In providing such a capability it is designed to negate the need to provision a device for the breadth of the field workforce. The application can be activated either as the name of the supervisor of the gang, or simply as the gang/team name. The solution allows for team members to swipe their NFC enabled identification badge allowing for quick recognition. Multiple timesheet entries can be made across the different members of the gang throughout the day and once the information is collated, it can be processed for review and payment. For further information on our solution and how we can help your utilities organisation benefit from timesheet automation, contact us for further detail.