The Fire Door Safety Week campaign raises awareness for not only the importance of fitting fire safety doors, but of maintaining their integrity – and including them in regular inspections and safety audits, to prevent the risks of fire spreading in your properties.
What is the best way to create an Asset Hierarchy?
If you want to streamline, improve and simplify processes for your workforce, particularly when a mix of teams and projects require access to assets at different times, spread across multiple locations, a well-structured Asset Hierarchy allows you to manage surveys and assign work orders in the right places.
Defining your standards and expectations for data collection regarding asset usage and condition means that you can stay ahead of any maintenance needs long before damage causes failure or irreparable harm. This reduces the cost – smaller repairs to prevent failure are simpler to fix than catastrophic damage – and repairing smaller damage is considerably cheaper than replacing failed assets. The impact of downtime on your workforce and your managed facilities is also reduced as vital equipment failing can stop work entirely. This also costs you in man hours, paying people who aren’t able to work, and delaying completion of jobs.
To help you create an effective asset hierarchy we have put together 5 tips based on our many years of experience within the FM industry:
1. Give your Asset Hierarchy an instinctive and logical structure.
2. Follow uniformed approach to asset coding and naming.
3. Only include what you need to.
4. Define asset-specific attributes to ensure consistent level of data capture.
5. Audit and update the information included regularly.
Let’s go through them one step at a time:
1. Give your Asset Hierarchy an instinctive and logical structure.
You may already have a maintenance system in place, with asset profiles for each asset and component listed; if so, you have already completed much of the task. If not, you need to put careful consideration into the profiles of your assets, and the structure of your hierarchy.
Many industries have existing standards for asset identification – so look at those for examples, and then factor in a system which identifies the location and the purpose of your site and the asset in relation to one another.
For example, do you consider a motor as one whole asset (parent) with component parts (child), or are those component parts themselves individual assets (parents)?
Each asset type needs to be assigned a specific, unique identifier with uniform recognisable coding – which leads to our next tip:
2. Follow uniformed approach to asset coding and naming.
By this we mean that you need to follow the same pattern for naming your assets within the system, and ensure that the physical assets can show that code/name in some way (some people label with paint, barcode labels, or some engrave the asset itself.)
The image below shows one such naming system:
3. Only include what you need to.
As we are emphasising the benefits of an Asset Hierarchy and its structure, you might think we’d encourage you to include every single thing you can think of – but that could actually be counterproductive, and make your new, efficient dataset cumbersome – which will make it more challenging for your workforce to actually utilise the system effectively. Cumbersome systems quickly become redundant.
A smaller hierarchy, with more depth per asset, is a more valuable use of time and the system than an overpopulated beast dotted with smaller, unrelated pieces of information. This is not only harder to navigate; it entirely removes the connected data aspect of the tool.
Initially, we would recommend taking your time to input things in order of priority and importance. Your priority is critical machines; things which would either be the most costly or the most disruptive to repair or replace if they fail. These would be the costliest case for downtime, so are the most significant assets to track and monitor.
Following those, you ought to input your most numerous assets; those you have multiples of which are most commonly used, so that you can determine which equipment is where, which is getting the most use, which will be due for inspection and maintenance most quickly, and which can be pulled into place should something fail, to reduce the impact of downtime across the workforce.
Finally, you can begin to return to those first and second rounds of information and input the ‘child’ components – anything repairable or replaceable which is vital to the functioning of those top level ‘parent’ assets.
4. Define asset-specific attributes to ensure consistent level of data capture.
To ensure data collected by a mix of individual engineers and surveyors is consistent, it is important to carefully consider the unique attributes required for each type of asset, and whether that data should be gathered on a mandatory, recommended or optional basis. Defining these attributes will standardise many vital elements and rules including whether a barcode scan is required, business criticality, mandatory photographic evidence, manufacturer details and of course condition grading (and many more.)
Clearly defining your asset attributes helps to achieve a high standard of captured data and maintains a baseline of expectations across your entire field team. This also avoids wasted time due to over-collecting data that is not required, or needing to make costly site revisits due to under-collecting critical data missed first time.
5. Audit and update the information included regularly.
Like any other project, a process of continued review and monitoring is important for developing an effective Asset Hierarchy. Typical issues include:
- Duplicated, missing or inaccurate asset systems and types
- Inconsistent asset attributes that do not meet the required scope of project(s)
- Out of date info related to asset life expectancy (ref CIBSE Guide M or similar)
- Inaccurate costing benchmarks for repair or replacement (ref BCIS/Spon’s/NSR)
Mobiess can help you review and improve your existing asset data, giving you a high quality, optimised Asset Hierarchy. Visit our Asset Hierarchy Review page or call us on 0203 411 1795 to speak with one of our technical experts, discuss your requirements, and learn how we can tailor our solutions to meet your needs exactly.
Facilities management means a lot of information and data that you need to input, manage, share and keep on top of. Accurate data ensures you can keep workflow on schedule and manage teams and vendors. Here at Mobiess we have always held to the belief that data is a first class citizen.
What does that mean?
It means that – above all else – data, and the efficient management and processing of that data – is the number one priority of all we do, and that means that we design and build mobile data solutions that meet the varied and eclectic needs of our client base. Facilities management relies on information being well managed, and shared in real-time – and our e-forms platform has been designed with those needs in mind.
Where many of the competitors have designed form builders which give the user a PDF, xml or csv output, we have gone further; we give you access to your data with our Gateway Technology – which means that your whole team, wherever they are based, can access, assess and understand the data – and not at some distant point in the future, but now – in real time, at your fingertips.
So what are some more benefits of e-forms?
1. Streamline and improve your reporting
Ugh, reports; is there anything more annoying in the world of facilities management? We all have to do them – and whether it’s those pesky legal compliance reports, updates on the progress of a project or an inspection of the stock and site needed to maintain a streamlined schedule, reports can be cumbersome.
Pen and paper is a risky approach, riddled with mistakes, smudges and misplaced information – not to mention that the information then needs to be processed by another team member to digitise the information ready to share it with head office, and other teams; this is a slow, cumbersome process which delays information sharing, and increases the chances of mistakes being made – and that’s if the team on the road even submit it! It’s also tricky for any additional information to be sent with these reports – too many people involved in the process makes a game of Chinese whispers from any messages, and the urgency is lost in translation.
Digitise your processes – and get on board with a Mobiess e-form solution which can put information sharing in the hands of your whole team. Tailor the design to your specific needs, and make inputting the information as easy as one, two, three – and the real-time updates share that information with the whole team, so everyone can see at a glance where things stand. Enabling your team to populate these reports on-site, at convenient points throughout the day, means that the information is instant, accurate and thorough – and nothing is forgotten, put off until later or ignored. This simplifies decision making, allows you to respond and adjust planning and scheduling, and streamlines your workload to meet real-time needs in the moment.
2. Get historic information when you need it
We’ve all seen those offices with boxes and boxes of files from the 1970s, collecting just for “just in case” something historic needs to be checked.
Nobody wants to rummage through dusty old boxes with only a vague idea of where the information that’s needed might be found. So why not digitise all the data that you’ve saved – which will not only free a huge amount of space, reducing storage costs and the risk of water, fire or accidental damage to those vital records, but also putting the answers to any queries at your fingertips. If you need to check when the last compliance audits were carried out, when inspections were completed or if a problem has been identified previously e-forms mean you can find the records in seconds, saving time, reducing the chances of misinformation or crossed wires, and freeing your workforce up to focus on getting on with the jobs at hand.
Your digital database makes storing, finding and organising your data simple, efficient and affordable. It also means that you can distribute tasks and delegate workloads to your team, no matter where they – and you – are based, without taking paperwork back and forth – boosting productivity, reducing time wasted between tasks on travelling to and fro with paperwork, and streamlining operations in your entire FM portfolio.
3. Data simplifies decision making
One of the biggest challenges of project management – which is a huge component of facilities management – is being able to prioritise the workload, to decide which jobs need to be done in what order, and who is best placed to carry out the work.
Make this decision making and distribution of work far simpler by processing all of your data into one system, and being able to see all the information you need at a glance, means you can co-ordinate your team, communicate efficiently with the most up-to-date messages with outside vendors, and respond in real time to any changes or last-minute events that impact the work process. Having all the information at hand gives you a broader scope for scheduling, for seeing where more support is needed and where people can be spread more thinly without losing momentum, and when a maintenance issue arises you can react quickly, see where things can be adjusted, and reduce the impact on the overall schedule.
It also reduces the risks of something vital being overlooked when work gets manic and tight time frames or the ever-changing responsibilities of various contractors being involved in the project confuse the sharing of information. E-forms mean you can create digital checklists that anyone necessary can access and update the information, so that nobody is waiting for the paperwork to be processed because it’s all updated live across the system as and when the data is inputted.
All of this means that your work is more efficiently managed – and we can tailor the specific details of the e-forms to your needs, and priced according to your budget. Call today on on 0203 411 1795 or visit https://www.mobiess.com/ to request a demo of our systems, and let us start your path to collecting smart data.
Obviously, in modern business, we all have access to computers, and have used them in our work – or know that the work we do is recorded somewhere, by someone, on computers. The systems record our working hours, the tasks we complete, the customers and contact information we need to maintain, and anything recorded on paper is, eventually, referenced in or linked to digitised data.
Facilities management is no exception – and most of the scheduling and recording of information relevant to our work is inputted in digital systems – but there are still a great many places where information is being processed on paper, work is distributed on paper, inspections are completed with a clipboard and a pen, and the information is collated in a central office. This can be cumbersome, slow and, the more hands which touch data before it is stored, the more opportunities there are for mistakes to be made, errors to slip into the system, and some areas are overlooked, ink smudges, pens run out, paper gets damaged or lost, and information doesn’t get stored or shared as quickly or with as much detail as it ought to be.
Most organisations now use a combination of core business applications and spreadsheets to run their processes and organise business functions. Spreadsheets fulfil an important role in these – allowing even non-technical staff to bridge the gap between applications and process, to allow the organisation to function efficiently.
However; a great many facilities management teams still have field staff collecting critical business data with a combined approach of pen and paper, with clipboards of information sheets that need to be filled, filed and submitted to the office – and some excel sheets on tablets to digitise aspects of the data.
Whilst these steps towards digitisation have moved things forward, and simplified some processes, it actually makes things more complex. There are gaps in the data and knowledge being shared, and it actually isolates data more than sharing it across the board, as the information is being stored locally, and not always explored by the wider team.
Obviously – as designers of mobile solutions – we are pro-tech, and will sing the praises of e-forms and digital systems; we often hear “I can collect the information more quickly on paper” – and if collecting information was all that you wanted to do, that would be fine…but what use is isolated data? We don’t collect information simply to pop it away in a box – it’s stored and processed to share and retain information, to streamline work processes, to update maintenance work and compliance inspections, and to schedule and delegate tasks to the appropriate teams.
Collecting this information on paper means that it sits in the cab of a van, or in a car’s back seat, until the team member visits the office, where it is handed to someone at a desk. This person will then input the data into an excel spreadsheet so that there is a digital, sharable copy of the information. This then needs to be imported to a database, with countless validations necessary – and much of the data can end up being rejected.
Compare this labourious process to an organisation using an e-form solution; all of those validations and rules can be plugged into the digital platform, and every tablet and mobile device being used to access and populate the forms are primed in advance, to prevent information being rejected; the person inputting the data is promoted to provide the correct information there and then.
This ensures that all the data being collected is high quality and relevant – and then present the data in a clear and informative way, comparable to previous periods, other sites, upcoming schedules and timetables for ongoing works.
This usable data isn’t simply filed away, and collecting it is far more than a box-ticking exercise; data is a first class citizen, and can revolutionise your processes if it’s handled well.
Smart data is useful to the whole team, immediately updating newly inputted data so that anyone who has access to the system can see real-time updates, respond in the moment, and streamline the processes and information sharing which are so vital in facilities management.
Picture meeting with your client to discuss the agreed KPIs; their scoring, comments, requests and actions are inputted to the tablet through the meeting, and the data is collated immediately to present a branded report of that meeting directly to the client, before you’ve even left the room. All non-conformities are raised as help desk tasks in your CAFM system, and everyone is up to date on where the project stands, what needs to be done, and who is taking ownership of each task. This is smart data, and smart companies, at work.
Call our team today to see how we can help automate your processes, and drive smart data into your business using our highly configurable e-forms and auditing platforms ; call today on 0203 411 1795 or visit https://www.mobiess.com/ to request a demo of our systems, and let us start your path to collecting smart data.
Facilities management means managing huge workloads – and collating data from a variety of sources for systems, planning and compliance, as well as the day to day processing required to maintain sites and manage employee workloads and working hours.
For many who work in facilities management, this vast and changeable workload relies on the management and contributions of both mobile and site-based teams to collect data and deliver services remotely – and most who work in this area are already familiar with mobile work order applications. Often, however, this means moving from one programme to another, and inputting information in multiple formats to ensure that it’s accessible to every key team member.
This is where the e-form platform from the team at Mobiess can simplify and streamline your workload, and offer you the advantages of bespoke e-forms, tailored to the specific information you need to collect and collate – and with at-a-touch reporting to pull key data from the data collected.
Real-time data organisation is vital for facilities management, and the e-form system we have designed allows your business to configure data collection apps which precisely map your unique business processes, allowing all of your employees to contribute to your mobile strategy, utilising the smartphone and tablet stock your team are already using.
Any process which has traditionally been carried out on paper, a time consuming task which then requires data entry so that the information can be assessed and tracked, can be adapted to the mobile e-form platform – allowing quicker response times, to-the-minute reporting and information sharing across your FM portfolio, and enabling the data to be collected, collated and assessed in real time.
This allows you to drive your business forward, streamline processes and reporting, and meet your compliance needs with less man-hours – and sharing information allows the team to measure their performance and ensure that there are no gaps in data.
Sometimes, the best way to truly understand what you can achieve is by looking at what your competitors are already doing; here are some of the common uses and benefits mobile forms are being used for in the facilities management industry today:
- Increase compliance and proactively manage risk
- Increase efficiency through improved field productivity
- Increase efficiency and reduce administration costs
- Improve customer service and subcontractor relationships
- Improve scalability and integration
- Improve reliability and data security
- Improve speed and ease of data collection
- Improve business intelligence and enable better decision making in real time
- Reduce administration costs and eliminate unnecessary paperwork
- Reduce operating costs by up to 15%
- Reduce time to invoice and improve payment turnaround
- Consumption billing avoids overpaying for unused licences
- No capital investment – rapid ROI – low initial acquisition costs
- Maximise existing system investments
- Gain real-time data visibility
- Integrate with existing CAFM and IWMS systems
- Rapid deployment
- No maintenance releases or patches to install
- Reduced need for dedicated internal IT resources
- Reduced time to see benefits
Areas where the e-form platform truly come into its own, for any facilities management environment, are:
- Gas Certificates
- Gas Tightness and Pressure Test
- Ry Riser Inspections
- DSE Workstation Assessments
- Fire Risk Assessments
- Fire Door Audits
- Legionella Audits
Fire and Alarm Systems
- Fire Extinguisher Checks
- Panic Alarm Checks
- Sprinkler Tests
- Site Safety Audits
- Leak Detection
- Heath and Safety Audits
- Safe System of Work Inspections
- ASDA Automatic Door Inspections
Time and Expenses
- Day Work Sheets
- Expense Forms
- Point of Work Risk Assessments
- Non-Productive Time and Training Activities
- Infrastructure Check Lists
- Security Door Check Lists
As you can see – the areas where e-form platform can revolutionise your working processes are vast and varied – get in touch today to learn more about how we can help you transition to a smart data company.
Get in touch to see how we can help automate your processes and drive smart data into your business using our highly configurable e-forms and auditing platforms. Call today on 0203 411 1795 or contact us to request a demo of our systems, and let us start your path to collecting smart data.
In every industry there are times when it feels like work is being done just for the sake of doing it – and nothing measurable or important seems to be achieved. Many times, in the past, auditing has fallen into that category – but we know that auditing is far more than a box ticking exercise.
Audits – whether they are health and safety, stock control or compliance audits – all serve a vital purpose. This can be keeping your workforce safe, protecting your assets, or properly documenting your finances – and whichever you’re being asked to complete, rest assured that the information included is vital to the proper performance of your organisation – if it’s processed and managed effectively.
What is an audit?
An audit is a collection, collation and assessment of information – all of which is used to ensure that businesses are being properly managed, processes properly followed, and the company are abiding by legal and safety processes.
For most people, an audit means an examination of the company’s finances – but this isn’t always the case. An audit is carried as a systematic and independent examination of processes and implementation. Audits were once great behemoths of information, particularly in an organisation with multiple sites across the country who all needed to submit the information to head office – where it was arduously collated and filed neatly away. This information may or may not have been assessed to identify areas where improvements could be made – but this meant that a team of people had to plough through the information and understand what they were seeing, and then slowly roll out these suggestions to external teams who may or may not interpret the suggestions well.
Just the word ‘audit’ can bring a seasoned professional to their knees, haunted by the memory of long hours flicking through dozens of printed pages on a clipboard, attempting to input the right data in the right spaces, and confused by the many options and questions being asked.
Modernising auditing processes
Modern auditing doesn’t have to be this way – and with our streamlined, Insight Platform you can tailor the data to precisely provide the information you need, ask the important questions, and collate that information in a way that streamlines the whole process – putting the things you need to know quite literally at your fingertips. Skipping an audit to save time puts your team at risk, increases the chances of stock being misplaced, costs your organisation money in time and compliance failings, and runs the risk of endangering lives, and incurring fines or even prosecution, should the worst happen and your lapse in compliance be identified.
It’s not worth the risk. Don’t let your audit be a headache – and don’t let it cost hours of your team’s working day, or stress and expense in processing baffling data. Streamline the process from beginning to end – and get the information you need in a timely, simple, straightforward system which keeps your data secure, pulls out the vital aspects to improve your working routines, and save money in implementing simpler processes at every level.
So – how important is this audit? Put simply; very – and we can make it easy and cost effective; call today on 0203 411 1795 or visit https://www.mobiess.com/ to request a demo of our systems, and let us take the stress out of your audit.
When you’re considering mobile devices for your business there are a number of factors to consider, which can make the difference between a huge expense and a headache, and a vital tool that enhances productivity and communication between all departments.
Any business utilising mobile workforce management has to consider the following factors while choosing mobile devices:
- Cost of Mobile Devices, Ongoing Support and Replacement/Repairs and Upgrades
- Security for All Business Data
- Suitability of Device to the Specific Industry
- BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Contracts and Security
Cost of Mobile Devices
Once it was necessary to invest in specialist devices designed for business use but as the technology has developed, it’s been found that most businesses can save money by purchasing consumer devices. These are more than adequate, and with the right apps and programmes installed to perform most business tasks, are saving companies money.
When we talk about cost, you have to consider far more than the initial outlay for the products. As well as the initial cost of purchasing enough mobile devices for everyone who needs one, you have to factor in cost for support. A dedicated service will ensure that the devices are up to date with the latest software and the data being shared are secure. There also needs to be a budget for the inevitable repairs and replacement of mobile devices damaged or lost in the field, and upgrading the software and technology as required. Furthermore, all users need to understand how to use the device effectively and that the devices are being properly and effectively used for the business needs. Last but not least, the user’s use of the device for non-work related activities should be regularly monitored.
Security for All Business Data
Securing the data being shared across multiple mobile devices is a priority – and this can be achieved by encryption, password access to restricted data, and setting differing permissions for access to files for those in more senior positions, meaning that staff can only access data that is relevant and permissible for their specific role.
This data management is a priority for businesses and will need to be carefully monitored. Detailed device usage policy should outline the guidelines for this data access and the consequences of mishandling company data, or the company device being used for personal reasons.
Suitability of Mobile Devices to the Specific Industry
The industry you work in determines which kind of mobile devices are best suited to your needs. Blue collar workers would be more likely to require a rugged device; something that can handle rough use on building sites, that will survive being thrown in the back of a van and indelicate handling in a more physical environment. These environments are also more likely to need a bigger budget for repairs, as the devices, even when designed for rougher handling, are more likely to be damaged in the workplace.
White collar workers such as field sales team members are better suited to tablets, which are ideal for form filling, document creation and processing large amounts of data. They can access cloud data to share files and process the required levels of ‘paperwork’ digitally that keeps the business flowing smoothly.
A smartphone is the best – and cheapest – choice when the device is required simply for instructions such as where to be, when and why. A smartphone is easily portable, people are used to using the technology, and the range of apps and capabilities of modern phones makes them well suited to a wider range of business uses, such as accessing documents or emails, and sharing files, as well as ensuring that the team members are always contactable.
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Contracts and Security
There is always an option for a BYOD policy, meaning that team members can provide their own preferred mobile device and use it to access work related data, cloud shared files and work related email accounts. This, of course, will save a business a huge amount of money as there’s no initial cost for the devices. However, it does open up a number of concerns for safety, the protection of work related data and files, and the distribution of cost for running the device; who pays for the data, the content and the calls. In this case there are many benefits – but the company must have a very detailed BYOD policy that outlines the costs they will cover and those they will not, as well as carefully managed security for files and data with encryption and password access, and regulations and guidelines for what can be accessed and by whom.
BYOD is a good option for white collar workers, who are comfortable with the technologies and may prefer being able to use their own devices to access work related data and documents. However, in a workplace that is more likely to lead to damage, it may be unfair to expect your staff to provide their own device.
Once, in years gone by, making your business mobile was left to the big dogs – companies with huge budgets who could invest in the expensive technologies and server space necessary for making mobile working possible.
Team members had to be given specialist equipment. It was a clunky and often frustrating process accessing the data and files they needed. Mobile working was not only expensive because of the technology required but also because of the constant ongoing support it demanded, not to mention the frustrations of slow and patchy internet access in some locations.
These days almost everyone carries a smartphone in their pocket, and the technology available is affordable, widely used and well understood. What was once a ‘would be nice’ is now a must for most people – accessing our emails, websites and data wherever we are.
The expense and problems of cumbersome servers have also been eradicated, thanks to the development of Cloud technologies.
So what’s stopping you taking advantage of mobile working for your business?
The wonderful thing about Cloud technology is that there is no limit to the amount of data that can be stored and accessed from anywhere by anyone with the right permissions. A smartphone is a piece of equipment that we are all familiar with. The range of apps and capabilities that these modern pocket-wonders have means that there are no limits to the ways they can be used for businesses.
From communication to corporate file sharing, mobile working has never been easier. Getting a response to queries or accessing important documents can be done in an instant. Forgotten your presentation? No problem – just download it from the Cloud. Want to send an important document to a client? Not an issue; email it right there from your phone.
More Flexible Workforce
People can still feel daunted by the idea of mobile working – but when you consider the amount of time we spend on our smartphone, it seems that the next generation have essentially grown up with an innate understanding of the benefits of the technologies available. The door has opened to allow more flexible working patterns, with your team no longer tied to their desk. The fast-paced world of business has moved quickly, embracing these technological developments. People expect immediate responses, fast turnarounds and 24-hour communication from the brands they’re dealing with.
The Multiple Advantages of SME
This is where SME have a benefit over bigger companies – less likely to be dependent on out-of-date processes or the slower uptake of new technologies. SME have their pick of the market because they can leapfrog the slower processes of their bigger competitors, tracking their workload on the go and responding to customers demands from wherever they are.
Embracing change takes time, and in a bigger company the rollout for this change can be cumbersome and time consuming; here’s where the SME have the advantage. More agile and adaptable to change, the uptake of Cloud technologies and mobile devices has levelled the playing field. Smaller businesses can outpace the bigger, more staid businesses and give the customer what they want faster, more efficiently and with less steps needed to perform.
Not only that, but the huge reduction in cost and work hours that were once spent on paperwork means financial savings and greater efficiency; no longer are we printing contracts and waiting on the mail run, or searching through years-worth of files in cabinets for relevant files. With everything stored on the Cloud we can share files digitally, immediately and access data from anywhere.
The savings on printing alone can make a huge difference to a smaller business, not to mention benefits of sharing files with clients, sending information to customers, or getting the all-important contract in front of the vital decision maker. He can sign on the dotted line as you’re closing the deal in a meeting, without having to wait a week for the postal system to deliver.
Embrace the Change
In a business world that’s growing ever-faster, embracing the change and the new technologies as they appear not only means that you’re ahead of the game, but your fast responses, efficiency and accessibility instil confidence in your customer base; they can trust that you are on the ball, and that you’re there when they need you.
For tips for Implementing a Mobile Workforce Management Solution to ensure a smooth transition and a guaranteed success check our blog post 10 Best Practices for Implementing a Mobile Workforce Management System .
Whatever your industry, ensuring effective mobile workforce management system – particularly if your organisation involves mobile working – is vital, but there are a number of things to consider.
In days gone by businesses required professional offices to succeed – a place that workforces performed their tasks side by side, and where out-of-office workers delivered their paperwork and processed their data.
As technology has advanced the need for a pen-and-paper data management system, and for an office to base the workforce, has reduced, thanks to the growth of mobile working devices and technologies. Organisations can communicate at the touch of a button, and much of the workload can be managed digitally from anywhere in the world.
“Companies need a mobile strategy roadmap to capitalise successfully on mobile technology and evolving user behaviour”
If you’re planning to step into implementing a mobile workforce management system, we have created ten best practices that you need to focus on to ensure a smooth transition and a guaranteed success.
1. Mobile Strategy
Planning in advance ensures that your mobile workforce management system incorporates everything that you need; decide before rolling out any technologies, devices or systems, what exactly you need them to deliver, and who needs access to which technology and program. Creating a strategy and training your mobile workforce in advance can prevent problems before they arise, and knowing what steps you need to take to ensure success means that any guess work or complications are removed.
Your mobile strategy needs to include the regulations which manage the use of devices and applications and the security of the data being transferred, as well as creating a uniform system of implementation.
2. Mobile Device Management
Mobile Device Management systems – for example, Airwatch – are cloud-based operating systems that allow data entry, communication and file sharing for organisations to ensure that every member of the workforce has access to the information and data they need; they also give mobile workers tools to submit data that can be processed by other members of the team, from sales orders to auditing tools.
It’s vital to ensure that your organisation sources the best mobile device management for your needs. Your system should incorporate all the functionality that you need now but also can be expanded over time to include any developing technologies and requirements as your business grows.
3. ROI Calculated
When you know what capabilities your mobile devices and mobile workforce management system need to offer, before you start investing your finances on technology, you can plan for the running costs and initial outlay. Ensure that your investment offers reasonable return – and you can offset the expense against your earnings. Sound investments require research and planning and an understanding of the benefits they will bring to your organisation. Not only can the right technologies increase productivity, but the range of services and customer service improvements they bring to your business can lead to increased revenue. Though the initial outlay might be a significant amount depending on the size of your business, the long term ROI makes the right products sound business choices.
4. Device Selection
Research which devices are best suited to your needs – whether that’s smartphones, tablets or more hardy technology suited to a rougher working environment. Delicate tech isn’t suited to industries like building or arboriculture. However, sales team with large regional sales areas would be best suited to fast tablet technologies that can be used to submit paperwork and showcase products to clients. Ensure that you understand what you need from your mobile tech and that the capabilities of your chosen products meet your requirements before investing.
5. Is BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) the Right Choice for You?
Many businesses rely on a BYOD approach for mobile workforce management system – meaning that the workers supply their own favoured device, often smartphones and tablets, to carry out tasks related to their job. When you take this route, it’s wise to ensure that you have a solid and fool proof BYOD policy in place before any work is carried out; this includes a secure cloud network and an agreement on what level of personal use and what level of company use of the data and storage is required.
While this approach can save your organisation money on investing in new tech and maintaining devices, including a budget for losses and damages, it can lead to headaches on data access and permissions, and needs to be thoroughly researched in advance. Everyone needs to be clear about the company’s policies when using personal devices to access secure information.
6. Start Simple and Expand
There are a huge number of mobile workforce management systems available, all utilising cloud storage and multiple access points across an organisation. Many of these applications are offered as an off-the-shelf solution to meet business needs, and this can mean that apps are either too limited to meet your needs, or so multifaceted that the workforce has access to functionalities they simply don’t require, which take up valuable space on your devices.
The best way to avoid frustrations in this area is to work with software designers who can tailor these applications to suit your specific needs. Starting simple, with systems that provide basic functionality to suit your industry, with the option to expand these functions for those with differing roles within the organisation, is a great way to ensure that money and time aren’t wasted.
7. Customer References
An option for your customers and end-users to comment on the products and services they’ve received from your organisation is a great way to prove to your market that you’re getting things right – and to address any issues that may have arisen, and ensure that you continue to grow and succeed. This isn’t appropriate for every industry, but is ideal for the customer service industry or online stores, for example, where positive feedback and ratings from customers builds trust and reputation.
8. Plan a Pilot Project – Including Costs
It’s no use throwing finances and resources at a project without understanding what the risks are, and what steps need to be taken to ensure success. Planning a project in advance, through every step of the process, and mapping out the steps from idea to reward ensures that everyone involved is on the same page, and all working towards the same end goals, with guidelines in place to keep the whole workforce on the same path.
A number of mobile workforce management system providers work on a success based fee – which ensures that they are as invested in the success of your organisation as you are. Working on this basis means that the service is working for you, and that the systems you are relying on are designed to best support your organisation.
9. Allow Subcontractors to Use the Systems
When subcontracting, if you utilise a mobile workforce management system in the daily running of your business, allowing access to the data and systems required for the subcontractor to participate in managing and submitting data and information in the usual format is required. This is an area for which you have to have solid policies in place, which outline the accessibility and functionality of the applications and devices, and which state clearly what access the subcontractor should have and the protection of the company data.
Though the investment in mobile devices and systems is significant, it is also – in modern business – necessary, but this technology develops quickly and can quickly expand the functionalities and capabilities of newer devices to better suit your needs. Review the products and applications that you are utilising regularly, and expand the capabilities as far as possible to continue the benefits of the mobile workforce management system you’ve chosen.
To avoid 10 most common mistakes companies do while implementing Mobile Work Order Management Solution, read our blog 10 Mistakes when Implementing Mobile Work Order Management Solutions.