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Do you have the right answer for “where’s my stuff?”

It is 10:33 on Wednesday morning in the control room. VIP customer Sandie of ADIR Industries is on the phone with the inevitable progress chasing enquiry “where’s my stuff?”

Do you have the right answer for “where’s my stuff?”

Now, it does not matter whether the ‘stuff’ in question is an on-site equipment repair or a parcel delivery, you need to provide her with an answer, and right now. ADIR Industries is critical to your company’s success and losing them as a customer, or even failing to deliver is simply not an option.

You check your system, which shows that Alex is en route to this ADIR call, and you reassure Sandie that everything is fine and running to schedule. The ETA for Alex is 11:00. You are satisfied that you were able to handle this customer touch-point well, and immediately - a ‘moment of truth’ for your brand reputation. Your work management system may have been installed for quite a few years, but it is clearly still up to the job.

At 11:17 the phone rings. It is Sandie again, and she says that this time she has a different question. It turns out not to be “where’s my stuff?” but “where’s Alex?” Okay, so not so very different, then! You are surprised by this, and promise to look into the situation and call her straight back.

One of your best employees, Alex is a reliable and proficient user of your mobile application, and can usually be relied on to let you know of any problems or delays. The data you have show Alex finishing the previous task at 10:12 and immediately starting to travel to ADIR. So this is a bit of a mystery.

You call Alex to talk about it - not to criticise but to understand what has happened that led to customer disappointment. There is no reply and it takes some time before you get through.

Alex sounds a bit defensive when you do finally get to ask about this, and so you probe a bit deeper. It turns out that Alex’s brother-in-law runs a coffee shop not too far from the previous job site and he finished that task at 10:00 and then drove to the coffee shop before clearing down the call. After a coffee, he then set off for ADIR Industries, now with 15 minutes more drive-time to the site than your system - and you - were expecting.

The missing link here is one piece of data. You know that Alex cleared down a particular task, and at what time he did it (10:12). But, you do not know where he was when he sent in that message. Knowing he was not still at the customer site was vital to predicted travel time, and the subsequent impact on Alex’s schedule.

Collecting that extra data is, effectively, free - if your system can handle it. The mobile device is aware of its location and can report it without any additional work by the employee. And, if you only collect that data when the employee initiates that transactional message, then you have a good balance between the data you need to run your business successfully and respecting the privacy of your mobile employees.

Not to mention keeping Sandie happy!

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