From The Editor | June 27, 2011

Think Big Picture About Mobility: What Are You Missing?

By Sarah Howland, Editor In Chief, Field Technologies magazine

When you decide to invest in mobility, your mission is to get the most out of your investment — to maximize ROI. However, companies often hinder themselves in achieving this very goal by making a common mistake: focusing too narrowly on a single problem and missing the bigger picture. For example, because techs aren’t getting to as many jobs per day as you’ve benchmarked, you identify the need to implement an optimized scheduling solution. Once this solution is in place, you realize your techs are getting to more customer sites — without the parts they need to accomplish the job. After going through one investment and deployment cycle, you come to learn that the positive impact the scheduling solution had on your organization is negated by the fact that you also need an inventory management solution. If you’d thought about the big picture from the beginning, you may have been able to find and implement a solution that solved both needs. Here are three steps that will help you make the right investment the first time.

Step 1: Thoroughly Examine Your Field Inefficiencies
They say the truth hurts, and that can be true. But, without taking a cold, hard look at your field processes to determine where all the inefficiencies lie, you can’t make any real improvements. Your mobile workers can help you immensely with this step. They’re on the front lines, and they’ll be able to share valuable experiences with you. Taking the time to ride around with them and truly understand what they do each day, and how, will paint a picture for you of how you can use technology to improve their productivity.

Step 2: Take Your Time Evaluating Mobile Technology
When you’re faced with an arguably urgent problem, sometimes the last thing you feel like doing is taking your time finding a solution. But, that’s just what you need to do. Rushing to solve the one problem you’re focused on can prevent you from finding a solution that will positively impact other areas of need that just aren’t as glaring. For instance, you might have an inventory issue and find a good solution to solve it, but if you added signature capture functionality to that solution, you could also shorten your billing cycle and glean a whole other avenue of benefit from the solution. In essence, don’t get tunnel vision — think big picture.

Step 3: Learn From Your Peers
There are companies every day benefiting from mobility and making mistakes during their deployment — and you can learn from them. Each month, Field Technologies covers stories of companies fighting the same good fight that you are. Pay attention to these stories, and learn from the successes and mistakes. Ask your peers for advice, references, and lessons learned — leverage the knowledge of those who have gone before you.