Mobility is revolutionising the workforce, there’s no doubt about it. But what’s critical to understand is how mobile can drive efficiencies for businesses.CeBIT speaker Peter Poulin, CMO of Xplore Technologies, says these efficiencies are vast – and not only benefit business owners and managers, but improve employee happiness, customer satisfaction and help leave a green footprint.
In his CeBIT presentation, Mr Poulin, a proud Texan, said there are five key efficiencies to making your workplace mobile:
- Reduction of waste
Meaning less printing, less storing and less disposing of incorrect and out of date manuals, contracts, booklets etc. Interestingly most paper content and documentation is actually consumed by mobile workers. Imagine the money and time savings if you replaced printing with PDFs.
- Productivity improvements
Going mobile for different business means different things, but for Peoples Natural Gas it meant eliminating redundant data entry. And so they did. The company has saved hours of data entry every week by allowing workers to enter their data on devices while conducting inspections at on-site locations. This [process also improves results. The less people touch the data, means less room for error.
Decisions are also quicker and easier to make when you have access to real-time data, again saving time and money. And location flexibility also has large impact on a business. Summer County Emergency Department in the US increased their speed of billing by 40% after introducing mobile devices.
- Better asset utilisation
Ensuring that assets are fully utilised is a goal many companies strive for. In the past Daimler had mounted computers in each forklift. But because vehicles were constantly knocked and used for heavy lifting the computers were often damaged and in constant need of repair. So even though the forklift was working, employees weren't allowed to use them without a functioning mounted device. Now each employee uses a tablet that’s replaced the individual mounted computers. The forklifts are no longer out of action sitting in the shop waiting to be repaired.
- Higher customer satisfaction
One of the more obvious benefits of mobilisation is customer satisfaction. With instant access to information customers can be served better. Mr Poulin says a hospital in the US has improved patient safety and care by giving ambulance officers tablet computers. They’re able to receive and send real-time information about the patient’s status to the hospital, so when they arrive the patient gets the best care.
An electric company in the US had a similar experience. It reduced the time required to solve customer problems from an average of four days to one. This means lower customer retention costs, more repeat business, more referrals resulting in lower customer acquisition costs and fewer complaints to resolve.
- Engaged and motivated employees
In Mr Poulin’s own words: when people stay engaged and loyal to a company, it’s not about just the money you pay them.
Many factors keep employees happy and engaged and one of those is getting out of the 1990s and providing modern tools to get a job done. Mobility often makes employee’s jobs easier and gives them more flexible work arrangements. If you keep good staff you have lower recruiting costs, lower costs to train and re-train, they retain tribal knowledge they can only ever learn from working with you, and they have a lower risk of customer attrition.
So how do you get there?
You need to:
- Conduct a workflow analysis before shopping around for a solution
- Don’t just stop at the devices
- Consider product life cycles
- Consider the business’ existing infrastructure
- Implement a robust and continuous training program
- Don’t forget consider the end-user engagement in the evaluation and selection process because if there’s no end-user acceptance it’s not going to work!
Clearly the efficiencies created in business make mobile worthwhile and as Mr Pulin says, it will save a business both incredible amounts of time and money.