The market for mobile workforce management software is still growing rapidly which is not surprising as these solutions offer so many benefits for organisations that want to get the most from an increasingly mobile workforce. Here’s ten key benefits you can expect to see when you adopt one of today’s advanced mobile workforce management solutions.
Mobile workforce management software helps to increase workers’ productivity. At the very least, digitising previously analogue processes, such as filling out timesheets, or gaining customers signatures, means that these tasks happen more quickly and, crucially, don’t have to then be copied in to a digital format at a later time. Research shows that of the mobile workers in the UK, around 5 million have to double up on work, filling out paper forms and then transferring to a digital format when back at base, through lack of an effective mobile workforce management solution. Other research shows that the 3.5 million field service engineers in the UK typically spend only 30 percent of their time actually servicing customers, and the rest of it travelling, completing admin and attending meetings. Mobile workforce management software is key to ensuring that field based technicians can maximise the time they spend actually working on the core job of providing services for customers.
As well as being productive, it is important that your field service workers are also efficient. It’s not good for business if they are working through a high volume of tasks, but doing them more slowly than expected, especially if they end up claiming for a lot of overtime. A mobile workforce management solution that enables you to compare the actual time spent on tasks and travel with the expected time will enable you to see whether workers are efficient and to offer training or support where you identify issues.
Management guru Peter Drucker said “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” Both are essential in mobile workforce management. To keep a track of efficiency, you’ll need to monitor metrics such as ‘first time fix’ rate, service level attainment and net promoter score, so you can see not only what was done, but how well it was done. Modern mobile workforce management solutions enable you to track these metrics down to the level of the individual worker, or the specific task, so you can spot issues and opportunities to improve.
One of the key difficulties in managing mobile workers is that you can’t see how they are doing their jobs, so you can’t spot unproductive time, see how to redeploy workers when an urgent issue crops up, or give end customers realistic updates if there are delays. That’s why visibility of the entire team, in real time, is one of the key benefits of a mobile workforce management solution, giving you back control over what happens on the front line of field service.
How well do your field workers comply with the plan for their day's shift? If you have poor visibility of your workers, you can’t assess how accurate your plan has been. Mobile workforce management solutions enable you to see how the worker has behaved in reality, as compared to your plan. For example you will be able to answer questions such as:
- How soon after a worker started a shift, did they actually start a task, and how much time was idle?
- How long after they completed their last task for the day, did they end the shift?
- Was the shift duration as expected?
All of these will help you identify non-compliant behaviours, and offer training or update procedures so that workers are more able to stick to the plan in future.
Field service management is complex and difficult, not least because the unexpected happens every day. One of the mobile workforce management weapons that can mitigate against the unpredictability of the job is consistency. Ensuring that the same type of task is completed in the same way, and takes the same amount of time, regardless of which region it is done in, or by which individual worker will help you to plan, and give you more leeway when it comes to firefighting and dealing with emergencies. Mobile workforce management solutions should enable you to compare the time spent on activities directly related to each task, so you can establish how consistently positive behaviours continue over time.
7. Reduced complexity
And with increased consistency, comes reduced complexity. The issues that arise on the day are the same, but mobile workforce management software that gives you good visibility of your workers, and enables you to track their compliance and the consistency of their approach, will help you to tame the complexity of the challenges that you face.
8. Real-time decision making
To draw a parallel with the world of sport, managers have long been able to look at player performance after the event and work out how the team or the individual players could improve. But, as real-time analytics become more widespread, the capability to access player performance data from the team bench during the game is the next crucial step in beating the competition.
As in sports, field service management is all about what happens on the day. If a worker's vehicle breaks down en route to a job, if what seemed like a simple repair turns out to be more complex, if the worker doesn’t have the right parts with them, if there is a traffic jam, if a worker can’t get access to carry out a job….. then you have to decide what to do, in real time. Is there another worker nearby who can pick up the job? Or one that has the right part on their vehicle. Can you switch the jobs around in the schedule and keep the end customer informed? Mobile workforce management software gives you the information at your fingertips to make those kind of decisions, again and again, as the shift progresses, so whatever the day throws at you, you can stay in control.
9. Improved outcomes
All of this adds up to improved outcomes for your field service operation, every shift. Mobile workforce management software that enables you to react to issues in real time means that you can fix those issues before they become a problem for your end customer. Worker is running late? You can inform the customer. Worker needs parts or assistance to finish the job? You can send a nearby colleague to help out. And if a customer is unhappy, and gives a poor feedback score, you can be straight on the phone to them to apologise and find out what went wrong.
10. Demonstrable ROI
At the end of the day (or the shift) it’s all about the extent to which you can see the value that you have gained from an investment in a mobile workforce solution. Check out some of our case studies to see how our customers have realised quantifiable benefits from working with us to implement our mobile workforce management software.
Armed with some of the benefits of mobile workforce management, why not read our blog on how mobile workforce management solves top field service challenges.