Mobile workers now make up an unprecedented share of the working population. By 2022, the mobile workforce is expected to increase to 1.87 billion people, contributing to 42.5% of the total global workforce. The tremendous growth in this area has created the need for organizations to think differently about how they manage employees and their work come up with innovative strategies to utilize and motivate this special category of the workforce.
While the challenges involved touch every functional area of a business, many of the pain points of managing people outside of an office setting are at an operational level. In this article, we explore how a mobile workforce management (MWM) solution can address your operational concerns. MWM is not just a tactical tool—it also empowers your operations team to get the right visibility and data to make better decisions in the moment and create long-term strategies.
The Challenges Your Operations Team Faces
The term “operations” includes a wide range of roles and responsibilities, from scheduling coordinators all the way up to the Chief Operating Officer (COO). Hence, the challenges involved are diverse.
Some of the key issues facing your operations team include:
- Increasing productivity and efficiencies while maintaining or reducing costs
- Remaining competitive and being agile
- Carrying out processes consistently across your operations teams and enabling scalability
- Staying up-to-date on technology, processes, and business ops; having an informed point of view about how to improve process via technology
- Identifying and implementing tools that will increase the bottom line
How Mobile Workforce Management Empowers Your Operations Team
Mobile workforce management refers to the tools you use to schedule, enable, track, and analyze the performance of mobile teams as they deliver on-the-ground support to customers. The tools involved may include processes, software, applications, networks, and other related services.
Since mobile employees do not work in a traditional setting inside an office building, mobile workforce management gives rise to unique concerns for the operations team. MWM solutions help tackle them in a progressive manner.
Let us explore how MWM systems can solve the issues discussed earlier:
Increase productivity and efficiency
One of the biggest challenges for senior operations leaders is to find that optimal point of workforce utilization. How can you ensure your employees are not idle, yet not overloaded? How can you optimize schedules without creating burdensome administrative work for both office and mobile workers? How can you achieve all of these without a significant dent to expenses?
Mobile workforce management systems use data, intelligent matching, and optimized scheduling to make everyone that touches the system more productive and efficient. Intelligent mobile workforce management supports operations teams with the following capability:
- Managing workers’ schedules, availability, certifications, experience, locations, and other key details
- Using that information to match the right worker to the customer’s needs and availability
- Supporting mobile workers with an app that updates their schedules in real time
- Giving mobile workers access to all the customer and job data they need
- Routing mobile workers efficiently from place to place
- Providing in-app tools to do the job itself and capture customer information
Depending on your operational goals, you can direct the system to prioritize one thing over another: an organization that wants to reduce costs may prioritize reducing time between appointments and travel time, while a company that wants to improve customer retention may choose an employee’s relationship with a given customer as the most important factor. The mobile workforce management system recognizes that priority and schedules everyone accordingly, removing the guesswork and saving you hours in scheduling and administrative work.
Mobile workforce management can do amazing things for company productivity. By using Skedulo’s mobile workforce management solution, Australian nonprofit Royal Society for the Blind (RSB) doubled the number of appointments each mobile worker could take in one week. This allowed RSB to reduce staff count by 15%, leading to huge cost savings.
Remain competitive and agile
Despite meticulous planning, the reality is that mobile workers encounter frequent schedule changes. The customer may change plans, need additional service on the initial request, or prefer to work only with a specific professional. Emergency service requests may come in, which disrupts the entire schedule, or a mobile worker with a full schedule may be called away unexpectedly, impacting many people at once.
Constant schedule changes or miscommunications can cause undue worker stress. If not addressed appropriately, these situations can also lead to customer dissatisfaction.
With a mobile workforce management system, you can incorporate customer needs and preferences into operational decisions, such as who serves the customer and when. On the other side, a good mobile workforce platform makes it easy for your team to adjust to changes in real-time without creating chaos or frustration.
Carry out processes consistently and scale up
Consistency is key to a great customer experience, which drives customer retention. The trouble with manual solutions is that as the scale of your operations grows, it gets harder and harder to ensure superior performance in every customer interaction. Moreover, inaccuracies or discrepancies in data can lead to confusion and poor service.
Mobile workforce management can help you overcome these problems by offering a unified system with integrated data and built-in analytics.
Common, a company that provides co-living offerings in dense cities, was struggling to organize property tours for prospective clients with manual scheduling processes. Double bookings and miscommunications were all too frequent.
By using Skedulo as a mobile workforce management platform integrated with Salesforce data, Common unified all its data into a single system of record. This led to a range of operational improvements, including a 37% increase in property tours scheduled per month, a key sales metric which enabled the company to open new properties at a quicker pace.
Stay up-to-date with processes and technology
Too many operations teams fall into the trap of complacency: performing the same day-to-day operations with the same tools and processes as usual. But staying ahead of the competition—and preparing for the future of work—means avoiding complacency at all costs.
Mobile workforce management helps companies dictate what work should look like, rather than relying on what it looked like in the past. It enables you, as an operations team, to collect data on how well your processes are playing out in the real world, then take action to improve those processes.
Simply put, mobile workforce management energizes everyone by making it easier to do great work:
- Mobile workers have the data and the tools they need to deliver exceptional on-site service. They move seamlessly from job to job, with schedule and job updates coming through in real-time.
- Operations managers spend less time on tactical, day-to-day needs like appointment scheduling, communicating updates, or troubleshooting tools. This gives managers more time for improving operations, managing employees’ needs, and addressing customer concerns.
- COOs managing end-to-end processes can use hard data gathered from the mobile workforce management system to make organizational decisions about investments and resource allocation. They are closer than ever to what’s happening on the ground, and they understand pain points for both customers and employees on a more intimate level.
When you combine a motivated operations team with a mobile workforce management platform, customers reap the benefits. Mobile workers arrive on time, well-prepared for the task at hand, and provide consistently great service to every customer.
Identify and Implement Tools to Solve Your Mobile Operations Pain
Because MWM solutions offer so many benefits—streamlined communication, increased efficiency and agility, etc.—they are becoming a way of life for enterprises. It is forecast that the global mobile workforce management market will reach $7.15 billion in revenue by 2023.
But how do you identify which tool is the right fit with your operations team?
As you look for the right tool, ask yourself an important question: Is your challenge human-centric, or asset-centric? In other words, are your pain points rooted in managing people (employees and customers) or physical products (large equipment or technology assets)? This is the key difference between mobile workforce management and field service management, and knowing which is the best fit for your specific challenge will help you pick the right solution.
Skedulo’s platform for intelligent mobile workforce management helps operations teams schedule, dispatch, and track jobs in the field with real-time visibility and communication. It is designed to be flexible and manage all aspects of your workforce in a unified system, including full-time employees, part-time workers, and contractors.
Book your free demo today to see how Skedulo can improve your own operations.