Maximize Your Mobile Workforce: 3 Tips for Better Utilization
Uncertainty is the enemy.
If you don’t have clear visibility into your own workflows, you really don’t know how much time and money are slipping away. You might be suffering from countless dead zones, where workers are idle as they wait for instructions, or bottlenecks, where tasks are delayed due to inadequate resource allocations.
Fortunately, someone’s in your corner. New cloud-based software and mobile apps can help you plug up utilization leaks, eliminate wasteful manual methods, and operate far more profitably.
Step 1: Automate your scheduling and dispatching
It’s astonishing that so many businesses are still scheduling workers on paper or using an Excel spreadsheet. It’s a bit like that awkward period during the 1970s when calculators became easily affordable, but people still walked around carrying sliderules. If you care about efficient utilization, it starts with a commitment to route the right technician with the right skill set to the right job and the right time.
That’s a lot of rights to get right.
For many companies that rely on a mobile workforce, schedulers and dispatchers just send the closest person with an open schedule to the job. It that’s not the best person for the job, you are actually accruing costs and damaging your company’s reputation.
Intelligent automation of scheduling and dispatching gives you the power to assign jobs to the most qualified worker based on location, skill set, certifications, customer preference, availability, travel time, and other qualifiers. Led by advanced tech like Skedulo, automated scheduling helps you get it right the first time so you can increase customer satisfaction and lower the chances of mobile worker frustration.
With automation, your mobile operation can jettison old erorr-prone processes and start using an optimized schedule that works out better for all stakeholders. Meanwhile, schedulers and dispatchers can move on to do more valuable work around the office.
Step 2: Empower your mobile workers
In the old world, you had to send field service workers out in the morning and hope everything went according to plan. If there were problems, you might get a call from the customer’s location or you might not hear about it until your worker returned at the end of the day.
The companies that still operate like that are being left behind in the new economy.
Modern companies need to ensure there is a secure line of communication open between the mobile workers on the road and administrators in the back office. Customers should be able to inform mobile workers about changes or get a status update on estimated arrival time.
For more than a decade, mobile workers have used app-enabled mobile devices to manage essential tasks on the go, like choosing to accept or deny jobs at the click of a button. Today, those capabilities have expanded to give mobile workers the ability to see changes to their schedule in real-time, see new appointments as they come in, and get more info on each job at their fingertips.
With a holistic view of their schedule, including details about the job and the customer, mobile workers are better prepared to do their jobs. If they have any concerns, they can easily notify schedulers so they can adjust schedules in real-time—without worrying about manual processes like faxing and phone calls. Workers can take pictures of the job progress, get signatures and click through automated forms right on their mobile devices.
When you cut down the time it takes for each mobile worker to collect data and send it back to the office seamlessly, your workers can more done in a day. Rather than filling out a clipboard full of papers, your mobile workers can focus on satisfying your customers—and all the data is transferred instantly to the back office when the job is complete.
Step 3: Prioritize visibility for mobile workers and the back office
The greatest value of all comes from sharing knowledge where it’s needed most. In the past, the back office was left in the dark about where mobile workers were at any given time. Sometimes it took a day or more to find out when a job was completed and what was done compared to what was planned.
From the back office’s perspective, the sooner this data can be shared, the better. When the back office has to wait for data, it creates delays (and potential inaccuracies) in the billing process, and it prevents effective tracking of your mobile workforce.
From the mobile worker’s perspective, they need to understand the customer situation before they arrive. All too often, mobile workers arrive to find surprises or have to ask the customer questions about their history with the company. If the worker arrives unprepared or has to order additional materials to do their jobs, the customer experience suffers and competitors gain ground. By putting detailed customer history and job details at their fingertips, your mobile workers are more prepared to provide an excellent experience for your customers.
Become a workforce utilization hero
Skedulo is here to support you in becoming the utilization hero you were always meant to be. Reduce the time wasted on creating and adjusting schedules. Dispatch more accurately for maximum productivity. Communicate with workers in the field in real time. Delight your customers with the kind of service they want. It’s all within reach when you put the right tools into play.
Download our ebook to learn more about the secrets of mobile workforce management.