What do you think of when you hear the word “Mobility”? A fully integrated mobile worker solution incorporating hardware and software, increasing visibility and remote worker management; or a four wheeled motorised scooter and other physical mobility aids? I have a sneaking suspicion that the majority would associate “Mobility” with the latter and this is a challenge I and the industry face time and time again.
OK, so this may be something of a sweeping statement, but the real issue is, do people understand what is meant when we talk to one another about a “Mobility Solution”? I fear not! In our ever changing and developing technological world, mobile devices are incorporating an increasing array of functionality (telecommunications, networking, GPS, digital imaging etc..) previously handled by individual pieces of hardware. This convergence has led to the evolution of the ‘Mobile Computer’, which has given mobile workers a full range of computing capabilities on the move, enabling them to increase their field operation efficiencies and remain ‘connected’ to the office whilst out on the road.
These changes in mobile technology have enabled mobile workers to:
Electronically record vehicle safety checks, including confirming tyre wear and pressures, water, oil and windscreen wash levels are OK, as well as recording start journey mileage
Be guided by satellite navigation to the customers’ door via the optimal route
Capture information about the work undertaken
Access customer details, job and part requirements at the point of activity
Electronically capture customer signatures or acceptance of work carried out or completed Automatically record journey mileage information
Update back-office systems following each task, keeping records up to date
Help to keep lone workers safe with one touch personal alert systems
This has in turn increased mobile worker empowerment, driving efficiency and productivity and workforce visibility.
Thanks to the increased capability of mobile computers, companies are able to greatly improve productivity by reducing paperwork and administration, freeing up time for other tasks to be carried out. Traditional processes required paperwork to be manually completed in the field and then transferred onto a digital system back at the office. Mobile computing developments mean data entry tasks need only occur once, potentially halving the work required.
Management of corporate compliance matters, especially those laid out for health and safety around lone workers, are also made easier through mobile worker enablement, with vehicle safety criteria and lone worker checks being more easily and proactively managed on a worker’s device.
As I’ve already touched upon, visibility is at the very core of the ‘Mobility Solution’, enabling the business to track and trace individuals and assets, attribute work to specific workers and the location at which it was carried out. This transparency becomes critically important when dealing with Service Level Agreements (SLAs). A mobility solution allows SLAs to be clearly managed, defined, and proven much more easily, greatly reducing customer queries against invoices, guarantees, and warranties. In any situation where an agreement exists between two parties for work to be carried out or for information to be processed, mobile technology has facilitated confirmation of jobs completed or acceptance of the work done, by those concerned.
So, what is mobility? In essence, ‘mobility’ is a term to encompass all of the above. To allow field workers to access, change and input data into back office systems, reduce secondary data entry tasks and remain as ‘connected’ as possible at all times, increasing mobile workforce visibility and ensuring work is delivered on schedule and meets SLAs. A mobility solution is what enables all of these criteria to be met and managed.
By partnering with a mobile data solution specialist, capable of integrating existing systems, providing appropriate hardware and software, as well as mobile device staging and configuration, the customer can realise all of the known benefits of a “one stop shop” approach!
Mobile technology is advancing at an astounding rate, and is changing the very nature of how work is carried out. With the growth in ‘cloud computing’ systems, Software as a Service (SaaS) and developments in mobile platforms, nothing should be discounted as being possible on a mobile device. Your workforce is increasingly coming from a generation which puts mobile technology at the centre of their lives, they expect to have data available on the move and always be ‘connected’. The question is, are you moving with these changing times and if so, what could mobile technology and mobile solutions to do for your business?
About Terran Churcher
Terran churcher founded Codegate (based in Oxfordshire in the UK) in June 1994, establishing the business as an AIDC (auto identification) specialist. His vision is to bring the benefits of AIDC to industry sectors including Transport & Logistics, Warehousing and Manufacturing.
This article was originally published on the Codegate blog