6 Keys to Mobile Workforce Efficiency

It is vital to have a workforce that can work effectively on the go and your mobile workforce operates at its maximum potential.

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    As a field service company, you understand the importance of having a workforce that can work effectively on the go. But how do you ensure your mobile workforce operates at its maximum potential?

    A mobile workforce can include a few types of workers. For example, it can be a remote workforce operating in the field, connecting to central IT systems. Or a workforce heavily reliant on mobile technology whose work occurs on mobile equipment, like laptops, tablets, or phones.

    In this article, we highlight six best practices for maximizing the efficiency of your mobile workforce. We explore topics such as optimizing routes and schedules, streamlining communication, and utilizing the latest technologies to support greater productivity. Whether you’re just starting to build a mobile workforce or you’ve been managing one for years, this article includes many great ideas for field service companies looking to stay ahead of the competition.

    1.   Understand the needs and pain points of your workforce

    No one knows what your mobile workforce needs better than your workers. Get together with workforce leaders—including supervisors and veteran technicians—and dig into their daily operations. There are many important questions you need to ask, including:

    • How do your frontline workers receive tasks? Do they have schedule boards? Are they getting emails?
    • How should tasks be completed?
    • How do frontline workers update the information about their tasks? With paperwork? Are they calling in to update someone? Or updating a software system?
    • How do frontline workers order parts? Do they have to call a manager? Do they buy from local retail stores with a company card?
    • How do frontline workers use parts from a warehouse? Do they have truck stock?

    Are all these activities conducted manually? Unfortunately, it is all paperwork, phone calls, and field tech manual data entry at many field service companies. Streamlining these activities using central services could save a considerable amount of labor across your mobile workforce each day.

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    2.   Know your workforce’s technical capabilitiesfield worker with chords and wires

    Are they tech-savvy? Are they ready to go mobile and work effectively? Talk to your workers directly and determine their comfort level with mobile technology and the workflows. Are they going to need significant coaching and training? Don’t dive into a digital transformation unless you have a clear picture of their readiness.

    3.   Empower your workforce

    Once you know they’re comfortable with mobile technology, give them the right mobile tech when and where they need it to get their jobs done. For example, give your field techs mobile devices with robust customer and location software services.

    Give them the information they need to complete a job pushed right to their mobile device. Give them job site directions, customer contact information, notes on the job, and links to relevant manuals and knowledge base articles. If your field technicians are servicing equipment at a large facility, like, say, an imaging machine at a healthcare facility, it is not good enough to simply show up at the front door and say you’re the x-ray technician.

    Your techs need to be able to say they’re looking for John Doe, the nursing manager in Radiology, to service the equipment in room 205. Having details in the palm of your hand makes work more efficient.

    4.   Make technology easy to use

    Simplify how your workforce interacts with mobile technology. They need fewer clicks and less jumping from record to record just to complete one job. Ideally, the field service software you use will structure information along the technician’s workflow in the real world. So each screen shows them everything they need until they move to the next step.

    When possible, have new technology mimic the forms that more hesitant personnel are used to using on paper. So, for example, have your digital work records match what a paper record would look like.

    5.   Properly train

    You want to ease the tension that stems from adopting new technologies and your procedures for using them. Employees set in their ways often feel threatened by change simply because they don’t know what will be asked of them.

    Your transition will be more seamless if you help familiarize them with new iconography, terminology, and procedures. Work with a customizable mobile platform, like Dynamics 365 Field Service, that allows you to customize help menus and error messages for your technician workflows.

    But most importantly, train your front-line technicians in the context of their day-to-day processes. Have trainers do ride-alongs. Send them out with your front-line technicians and train them while they go through their normal work process.

    6.   Then enhance their capabilities

    Field service engineers inspect relay protection system with laptop computerOnce your frontline workers are used to the new platform, enhance their capabilities further. For example, add geo tracking so you can know where they are during their shift for better emergency routing. Or automate some of your processes, such as work order status changes.

    There is also remote assistance. For example, you can provide lower-level frontline workers with on-call assistance from engineers at the office or higher-skilled colleagues elsewhere in the field.

    Lastly, another great option is to add IoT sensors to the equipment you service regularly. These can automatically collect fault codes and populate work orders with problem report information, making it easier for technicians to understand what is going on.

    Velosio Can Enhance Your Frontline Operations

    Adopting new ideas and new technology can be hard. Technicians with years of practice with one set of procedures might think it is hard to switch to new mobile technology working modes. But as we’ve seen, that doesn’t have to be the case. With just a little preparation and training, you can make them feel comfortable carrying around a small tablet instead of an entire binder of old dog-eared manuals and a stack of looseleaf work orders.

    Velosio helps your front-line technicians work more efficiently using mobile technology by leveraging Dynamics 365 for Field Service. Its customized workflow support helps technicians work the way they want in a familiar, streamlined environment. And automated scheduling, remote assistance, and search knowledge base tools help them get the information they need faster to get jobs done right the first time.

    6 Keys to Mobile Workforce Efficiency and Success


    David Sigler

    Principal Consultant

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