Magazine Article | November 28, 2006

Mobility Is Not Enough

Source: Field Technologies Magazine

Capitalize on your mobile investment with GPS (global positioning system) and scheduling technologies.

Integrated Solutions, December 2006

It’s safe to say that mobility will soon become the standard way of doing business for companies with field forces. But, a successful mobility solution needs to go beyond just getting information to and from field techs. By using GPS (global positioning system) and advanced scheduling technologies, you can optimize the routing of your technicians and squeeze more financial benefits from your mobile solution.

Field force solutions cross many industries, such as utilities, public safety (e.g. police forces, fire inspectors), insurance (e.g. claims adjustors), manufacturing (e.g. service techs), and general field service companies. What all of them have in common is the need to view, collect, and input pertinent data at the point of work. Advancements in wireless networks, such as expanded coverage, improved reliability, and increased speeds, coupled with the prevalence of city-wide Wi-Fi networks, mean real time is a viable option for almost every company. And, wireless devices usually have several methods of wireless communication built in, so accessing those different networks is not a problem. With real time, not only can your database be updated automatically, your dispatch center can see what jobs technicians have completed and whether they’re between jobs and available for emergency calls, too.

More and more mobile devices include GPS radios, more high-speed networks include LBS—or, you can install automatic vehicle locators (AVLs) in your trucks or vans. Whether via a mobile device or a vehicle, techs’ geographical locations can be communicated back to your home office. By combining this information with dispatching software, techs can be routed to answer calls based on their location. If a job runs longer than planned, you can take advantage of the scheduling capabilities in many field service software packages and automatically review the technician’s job list and reassign jobs as needed. Also, advanced scheduling capabilities will enable you to proactively plan schedules based on historical data of the length of time certain jobs take, the skill sets of technicians, and even historical geographical information. This saves transportation time and allows techs to get more jobs done in a day.

These are just some of the features available in field service solutions that can add to your bottom line. Make sure you look beyond mere mobility to the benefits technologies like GPS.