Smartphones, tablets and mobile solutions changed how engineers can send, receive and capture information when operating in the field. Hardware, software and applications have enabled even more workflows to be completed with a hand-held device.
In upgrading the level of communication engineers have with the office and the customer, smart devices and mobile solutions have effectively evolved field staff into more powerful and knowledgeable service-providing entities.
But what exactly does that mean? What features of mobile solutions are enabling this level of efficiency?
To understand how field operations have improved, let's compare engineers across two timelines: one with mobile solutions and smart devices, and one without.
Then: Running on memory vs Now: Powered by immediate access to information
One of the biggest benefits of a future where more than 50 billion devices are connected, is that the need to run on memory alone when attending a job is virtually eradicated.
There is huge potential in more immediate access to crucial information that can assist engineers in completing work. The main benefit being that, through being connected, mobile solutions enable engineers to enter a site confidently knowing as much as they can about it.
The cloud-based nature of most mobile solutions mean that engineers can use their devices to access:
- Site histories
- Customer details
- Notes on previous work completed
- Attending job details
- And more.
Access to this level of data means that engineers are stepping onto a site more informed than ever, which will better their decision-making and customer satisfaction.
Then: Unable to visualise vs Now: Easily capturing site images and other attachments
In the past, engineers have been limited in ways they could capture and share site images and details with other team members and customers.
Now however, armed with smart devices who's cameras are constantly being developed, engineers can take high quality photos of everything on-site, including:
- Site layout
- Parts used
- Install performed
- Final look after install
Through the modern marvels of mobile solutions, these images (and even digital drawings, which is an option in some applications!) are able to be saved to job and quote records as they are completed.
For engineers who will attend a site at a later date, or even industry regulators during an audit of work performed, having these images is crucial in developing an understanding and awareness of a site or job that they would otherwise not have.
Then: Slowed down by paper processes vs Now: Faster than ever with digital data entry
According to Aberdeen Group Research, 80% of organisations in a survey said that they needed mobile field service due to its ability to target the speed and efficiency of engineers.
This is achieved, for the most part, through digital data entry. It means your engineers are not wasting time, money and readability with pens, pencils and paper when it comes to workflows.
Instead, with a mobile solution, engineers can digitally:
- Record travel time and billable hours
- Review job and customer details
- Note down parts used and additional information
- Capture customer signatures
- Send all information back to the office via the cloud
Digital data entry means notes and records are neat, and the time in which it takes to capture information is cut down, unaffected by a dry pen, broken pencil or lost paper form.
Then: Time out to return to the office vs Now: Always connected, no matter the location
Speaking of paper forms, it's common knowledge that engineers of the past needed to make time to return to the office and lodge their forms and job records as they were completed.
Some could do it at the end of the day, but the flurry of paper involved there would often leave administrative staff feeling snowed under.
This is where mobile solutions take smart phones and devices to the next level.
With a smartphone or tablet, engineers could email forms or text them back to office staff, however this runs the risk of duplicate copies of forms, double data entry and more.
Mobile solutions, through a cloud-based connection, enable engineers to lodge important forms and automate the transfer of job information back to a central business system so that it is almost immediate, and anyone can access it.
Meaning that information and forms like:
- SWMS and Compliance Reports
- Proof of Compliance
- Job updates
Can all be submitted to the office and made available for immediate access by administrative staff directly from a engineer's smart phone, while still on-site.
Mobile solutions, in collaboration with smart devices, are changing the way engineers operate for the better.
In using and selecting these products, businesses should not be afraid.
They will not make your engineers lazy or unreliable, they will empower and support them in the field so they are operating with more information and efficiency than ever before.
Imagine how much more confident you would feel accepting a job, knowing you could easily access and review complete site and asset history, and high quality imagery.
Imagine how much more time you would have if you could digitally submit all your job-related information to administrative staff and immediately move onto the next job.
Imagine how much neater your work records would be!
Mobile solutions and smart devices play a key part in building your engineers up so your business can succeed and grow to new heights. If you haven't yet considered one for you and your team, make sure you do, otherwise you run the risk of falling behind.
To learn more about the solutions that simPRO offers, head to simprogroup.com