What is a Mobile Workforce?
Not all business can be conducted in an office. Across many industries, fleets of professionals pile into service vehicles and hit the road to deliver the products and provide the services that make daily life as we know it possible.
The supply chain and service/repair industries are both great examples of situations in which the workforce is largely mobile. Delivery drivers, mobile technicians, construction or road work crews, and utility maintenance professionals all do the majority of their work on the go.
In the past, mobile workforce professionals had a remarkably high degree of autonomy, but as cellular technology, wireless internet, and GPS have grown and become more scalable for business, the goal is now to create an experience in which mobile workers are just as plugged in, empowered, and accountable as their in-house colleagues.
What is a Mobile Workforce?
Of course, the main challenges when managing a mobile workforce are communication and workforce enablement.
Communication is necessary to ensure that mobile professionals are not isolated, reducing office-bound management’s ability to supervise their work or pass along important job or route information in a direct, clear manner. Workforce enablement means getting those workers in the field the tools they need to get work done in an efficient, professional, well-documented manner.
Software packages designed to tackle those challenges are often referred to as “Field Service Management” or “Mobile Workforce Management” solutions. These toolkits provide a wide variety of functionality for both mobile professionals and their manager, improving the day-to-day experience at ground level while building a more data-driven understanding of the work to inform staffing and strategic planning.
How Businesses Can Effectively Manage Employees Using Technology
There’s no magic pill any business can swallow to maximize their workforce, but the key lies in finding a balance between support and supervision. Technology, however, provides the opportunity for organizations to simultaneously empower their workers and hold them accountable.
When businesses provide their mobile workforces with specialized tech tools and software, it fosters buy-in by making work easier and more satisfying to do. No more holding onto paper documentation. No more miscommunications with the office or other members of the fleet. No more realizing you don’t have the information you need in the field.
At the same time, that same software provides workforce managers and business leaders with an incredible wealth of data that they can use to identify best practices, recognize and eliminate inefficiencies, and build a consistent, repeatable experience that makes life easier for the worker, the manager, and the end customer.
What are the Benefits of Mobile Workforce Management?
It’s easy to see the ways in which technology has changed life for mobile workforce professionals over the last two decades, but the big question is how that tech has changed the work for the better.
Here are just a few of the benefits managers and workers alike have gained with the adoption of this technology:
- Real-time tracking and communication with the entire mobile workforce
- Instant job updates and route reassignments
- Granular documentation of driver/technician route history, job success, etc.
- Form completion, signature capture, and mobile payment abilities
- Secure remote access to company ERPs, knowledge bases, etc.
- A variety of highly-visual data views, including maps, graphs, tables, and spreadsheets to present information in a variety of ways and provide multiple access points for professionals with varying degrees of comfort with technology and data analysis