Mobile workforce management software can be a major asset for companies with field-based workers, such as engineers, technicians, couriers or drivers. However, making the decision to implement such a solution can be a challenge. Change can be unsettling, and the installation of a new software solution can be particularly challenging, so sometimes firms put off the decision and end up enduring manual and paper-based solutions for too long.
Here are ten signs that it may be time to invest in a mobile workforce management solution.
- Your mobile workforce has grown
For small and medium sized businesses, with only a few field-based workers, it is easy enough to know where they all are and to understand the status of your field-based jobs. However once your business and your workforce grows, it becomes a great deal more complicated to manage. If you are finding that visibility of your mobile workforce is a challenge, then it is time to look into a mobile workforce management solution that will help you stay connected, understand what is happening in the field, and make sure that your customers are getting the best possible service.
- Your mobile workers are spending too long on administrative tasks
There are few people who would admit to enjoying paperwork. However, we all understand that it is necessary, some of the time. But if your field-based engineers and technicians are complaining about the amount of paperwork they have to do, it might be time to listen to them. A mobile workforce management solution can make administrative tasks much quicker and easier to do.
- Your back-office staff are spending too long on administrative tasks
If your field workers are spending a lot of time on paperwork and admin, then it is likely that your back-office staff are spending even more time. Every time a field worker commits some information to paper, whether it is capturing a customer’s signature, filling in a parts inventory, completing a timesheet or making a request for annual leave, it creates a data-entry or filing job for back-office workers.
- You have too many forms
Job manifests. Worker timesheets. Parts order forms. Delivery manifests. Order forms. Invoices. If it seems that the list of forms to be completed is endless, and you can’t move for the piles of paper in your office, it may be time for a mobile workforce management solution. The forms are the physical evidence that there is too much admin; if some of these paper-based processes could be automated using mobile workforce management software, how much time would your service organisation save? There are other benefits too – you would save the printing costs, and it would be better for the environment to cut down on paper, which is likely to be popular with employees, as it shows that your company is working to be more sustainable.
- You have too many processes
It may be that many of your paper-based processes can be automated, as above, saving time and money. But it may also be that some of them are redundant, obsolete or just overly bureaucratic. The process of implementing a mobile workforce management system will involve auditing your processes and you may be surprised to see which you can do without, and which you can streamline to make your operation more efficient.
- Your processes aren’t joined up
Most field service operations have to pass information to and from other parts of the business. If you are still reliant on manual or paper-based processes, it is likely that office staff will be double or even triple-entering the same data into multiple systems; entering customer invoice and purchase order information into the financial system, timesheets and holiday requests into the HR system and customer details and feedback into the CRM system. If you choose the right mobile workforce management solution, it can be integrated into these other back-office systems, streamlining your processes and, again, making your operation more efficient.
- There are too many mistakes
Another big issue for companies with a lot of paper-based processes, and manual data entry, is human error. Every time someone has to copy a number from a piece of paper into a database or other online system, there is the potential for a mistake. It’s not always easy to read handwriting, and entering long columns of figures can be mind-numbing task. A mobile workforce management system enables engineers or technicians to enter information directly into their mobile devices. In many solutions, there are options to pre-programme drop-down fields for data entry, or to set the mobile system to validate entries, which can reduce the likelihood of error.
- Customer satisfaction is low
Mistakes are bad enough when they affect your company, but when they affect your customers too, they can lead to dissatisfaction, and even to loss of custom. In consumer settings, end customers often have to take time off work to wait in for an engineer. In business settings, the customer may be depending on the repair so staff can get back to work. In either situation, when the engineer doesn’t show up, or is late, or doesn’t have the right parts, customers are unhappy, and can lose trust in your company. A mobile workforce management solution can give you visibility of your workforce in the field, show you when SLAs are likely to breach, and help you to take care of your customers, improving their service experience at every stage.
- Employees are dissatisfied
If your customers are dissatisfied, it is likely that your employees will be unhappy too. Most people want to do a good job and if the system is overly bureaucratic, there is too much paperwork, and communications are poor, they are likely to feel frustrated and unable to do their best. Mobile workforce management software, sensitively implemented, can have a positive impact on employee engagement, as well as on customer satisfaction.
- All your competitors have a mobile workforce management solution
In summary, if your competitors have already invested in mobile workforce management software, and are reaping the many benefits, then what are you waiting for?