A mobile workforce is one that is not tied to a central location. The global mobile workforce is expected to reach 1.87 billion by 2022, and according to a Gallup survey, only 17% of US workers stated their “company readily implements new technologies that help us to be more productive.”
If you own or manage a business that is reliant on remote or off-site employees, you want to be confident your team can perform at their peak in the field. One way to do so is with a mobile workforce management software built for the modern, mobile employee.
These comprehensive workforce management apps are powerful and multifaceted. They contain solutions for delivery teams and service personnel to execute vital business functions — including reviewing workloads, deployments, client documents, historical transactions, invoices, enterprise data and more — from a smartphone or device right at their fingertips.
For maximum benefits, you’ll need a mobile workforce management software that delivers on its promised list of task-management features. In this guide, we’ll discuss some of the features you should look for and some of the benefits you can expect.
What Is Mobile Workforce Management?
Mobile workforce management addresses today’s growing need to deploy tools and management techniques to organize, administer and empower employees working off-premises.
Mobile workers benefit from mobile workforce management software, devices and administrative protocols because they afford greater autonomy and efficiency to perform work tasks outside a traditional office. In a growing number of fields and professions, this mobile administrative technology is necessary for the workforce. Some of these sectors include:
- Field sales representatives and agents
- Delivery service workers
- Truck, transportation and fleet drivers
- Field technicians in trades work, utilities, telecommunications, yard care or large-scale manufacturing
- Repair and maintenance workers, including cable, appliance, HVAC and more
- On-site construction workers
- Home-visit healthcare staff, practitioners and counselors
- Trade show and similar traveling agents
- Professional event staff
Mobile workforce solutions deliver both the physical devices needed to oversee staff in the field plus applications and programs for staff to perform their end-to-end jobs easier, regardless of location. To achieve this new work model, contemporary mobile workforce management is typically broken down into three domains:
- Mobile software or apps: These include individual, cloud-based programs unlocking specific work functions, communications, document management and field-task solutions for anyone working out of the office.
- Mobile hardware: This covers tablets, smartphones, scanners and other physical devices configured with your cloud-based mobile workforce management software and used by your employees.
- Mobile workforce logistics: These include the overall workflow and process improvements empowered by your mobile software and hardware. From capturing and documenting client signatures to sending invoices or screen capturing and sharing documents with the home office, mobile workforce logistics are the end result of finely tuned remote operations.
Why Mobile Workforce Management Software Matters
With the help of technology, more organizations are transitioning to fluid offices, flexible work schedules and out-of-office staffing structures without sacrificing service deliverables. Industries where mobile work is at its highest continue to be those with representatives working in the “real world” to execute their core responsibilities — including those in-home healthcare, sales, consulting, educational training and customer service. Given this work’s growing prevalence, mobile workforce management software is no longer a choice for most businesses — it’s becoming a business norm.
Fully integrated mobile workforce management hardware and software provide numerous advantages to organizations, managers, administrative support and field staff because:
- It provides end-to-end remote work functionality: Every employee has the tools they need to perform whatever field task is required. Managing operations from their phone, tablet or similar mobile device, your employees can better view every stage of a project or field task workflow. Such visibility reduces errors in client billings, project descriptions, work documentation, signature collection, invoicing and more.
- It gives remote workers access to enterprise data: Many cloud-based workforce management platforms integrate with the office’s document and data management systems, giving unprecedented ease-of-access to company information employees are while out and about.
- It’s compliant: The best mobile workforce management applications come from reputable companies that design their products to meet new regulatory data security requirements — especially for highly monitored industries such as healthcare.
- It provides technical support: External or third-party mobile workforce applications offer additional teams and touchpoints that are more robust than managing your own enterprise systems and methods alone.
- It’s convenient: Workforce management systems can sync with other enterprise programs and records systems, letting field reps and staff have instant access to assignment information, documents and data. For managers, mobile workforce management puts virtual scheduling, dispatching, geo-tracking, communications and field-data collection right at their fingertips.
- It eliminates paper: Paper-based business documentation is a legacy method with serious expenses across time and office supply budgets. Your money and your day are better invested in a digital-first system with robust features simplifying and streamlining how you document and review core business activities, all within a few clicks.
Six Key Features Your Mobile Workforce Management Software Should Possess
You can empower your remote workforce with a mobile workforce management system containing the following key functions:
- Productivity tracking
- Scheduling features
- Inspection and work order alerts, reviews
- Proof of delivery
- Technical support
- Mobile management tools
Let’s take a look at what each of these features achieves for improved workforce management and administration:
1. Reap Benefits With Productivity Tracking
Productivity measurements in mobile workforce management software provide an accurate, objective picture behind employee capabilities and outputs.
Using data generated from the application or software, you gain valuable visibility of:
- A complete repository for field assignments, as well as the stages or checkpoints for those assignments.
- Automated travel or transportation logs for easier employee reimbursement and savvier transportation budgets.
- Billable time tracking for simplified invoicing.
- Formal job, task or assignment check-offs, itemization and project notes.
- Document or form creation and categorization, often through cloud-shared screen capturing forms.
- Instant form retrieval, as well as barcode and receipt generation
All of this data is automated, which prevents extra tasks for you or your employees other than properly checking into an assignment or data portal. This can help eliminate past discrepancies, such as:
- Stated versus logged shifts
- Inaccurate or difficult-to-find workflow documentation
- Tasks or business functions checked off as completed when still ongoing
- Accidental double deployments
- Large lead times between site stops
- Other field-work productivity hiccups
Repeated instances of these discrepancies create inaccurate shift or demand schedules, increases your service costs and can damage your brand reputation.
Virtual, cloud-based software can aggregate and organize employee shift performance data. From one centralized system, you can mitigate past scheduling and assignment pain points, increase daily work capacities, accurately forecast field appointment slots and — ultimately — run a more profitable organization.
2. Simplify Workflow With Scheduling Features
Scheduling functions are a key tool to help balance business and labor costs with actual service demands. These features use real data to coordinate field tasks rather than relying on feelings, favoritism or guesswork that functions are getting done.
Using a workforce management system with integrated workflow-tracking and scheduling features, assures dispatches and assignments are managed fairly. It also gives everyone greater understanding and insight into the scheduling process, as well as the time and resources required to check off a specific function properly.
There are two sides to a high-functioning workflow scheduling system to look for within your wider mobile workforce management app:
- Document management: Document-management features include ways for field workers to access both enterprise paperwork and data digitally, as well as upload important files from the field into your wider document-management system. Remote access to your current file-management system ensures employees stay informed, connected and even compliant across form and filing activities.
- Task management: Individual tasks involved in a remote job or project can be viewed, completed and checked-off digitally. The cloud-based nature of the workforce management app means others in your organization see which business functions have been completed and which require additional field deployments, data or documents sent out, keeping everyone in-the-know.
Both task and document-management portals provide a range of benefits for employees and managers, including:
- Visibility: All parties have unencumbered, around-the-clock access to the latest work schedules, tasks and site information on their mobile devices.
- Transparency: Employees can remain on-site, exactly where they need to be, completing the end-to-end spectrum of an assignment’s workflow without long delays or murky visibility into the work being performed.
- Expediency: Work is done faster, and documents are shared quicker, impressing your customers and improving your business’ overall brand reputation.
Legacy systems like spreadsheets have historically served the same purpose as these scheduling features. However, the nature of mobile work calls for a more dynamic calendar with the real-time alerts, customization and two-way communication afforded only by cloud-based systems, not columns in a static document.
3. Receive Crucial Work Order Alerts
Traditionally, businesses relied on phone calls, texts, pagers and emails to signal a workflow or document is ready for review.
While these methods connected appropriate personnel — typically, the employee with their manager — alerts and communications could be asynchronous and easy to miss. What’s more, it functions entirely on word-of-mouth transfer of information rather than a digitized, real-time, written documentation of workflow communications and information.
Contemporary workforce management platforms offer a better solution: inspection and work order processing alerts. Such alerts can be programmed automatically or manually triggered, landing in the inboxes of an appropriate authority to review, compare and approve the final work order.
Inspection and word-order alert applications are particularly important for:
- Field repair updates and approvals
- Restock orders for field sites and services
- Dispatching work notices
- Home or site inspection approvals
- Real-time inventory requests
- Quick reviews of company equipment or parts check-outs and usage logs
Streamlined work order approvals save everyone time and improve process visibility. They also boost compliance, ensuring your team works through the proper approval channels and documentation before completing a specific portion of work.
4. Enjoy Proof of Delivery
Proof of delivery functions are the ultimate visibility booster.
Managers tasked with overseeing field or out-of-office staff need objective reassurance those team members have performed their jobs satisfactorily and compliantly. A proof of delivery function built into your workforce management solution delivers that reassurance, plus other delivery notices and completion-of-service updates. This application empowers the ability to:
- Initiate invoices for field work
- Capture and document customer signatures
- Scan barcodes and print customer receipts
- Record warranty information and timelines
- In some cases even accept real-time field payments
Such proof-of-delivery functionality can court greater back-office efficiency, allowing for same-day invoicing based on instant signature collection and payment processing performed within the electronic system rather than slow, paper-based legacy methods.
5. Utilize Included Technical Support
Mobile workforce management software can integrate several tools into one system, requiring only a secure wireless connection with cloud access to do so. Setting up secure wireless networks is a significant undertaking that involves multi-phased roll-outs and tactical coordination across teams and timelines. All these features require substantial IT oversight and maintenance — work your current team may not have the capacity for.
Working with a mobile workforce solution provider gives you the technical support and consultation you need to get the most from your software features. Vendor support staff can:
- Work with your developers, application specialists and IT managers to create a mobile workforce management solution truly fitting your industry, staff needs and process improvement goals.
- Provide consultancy and technical expertise around tools and features tailored to your organization, not just off-the-shelf apps.
- Give advice on industry-pertinent cybersecurity features for the cloud and mobile workforce management devices.
- Develop usage best practices and parameters for approved users.
These same specialists can offer workarounds and prompt support for other core application features, delivering a positive user experience for all staff who encounter problems with:
- Leveraging platform agnosticism between your in-office file management systems and the new mobile workforce apps.
- Correcting bugs with proof-of-delivery files, on-site project note-taking, form generation, barcode scanning, receipt generation and other field documentation and communications within the system.
- Setting and adjusting admin controls.
- Syncing mobile workforce management software with other enterprise systems like CRM, sales databases and more.
6. Access Real-Time Mobile Management Tools
Mobile management features ensure your administrators have access to all the data and information they need, whenever they need it, to keep your organization running smoothly.
Managers sit at the helm as more organizations shift toward cloud-based tools to execute daily workflows. Under their leadership, new processes will be created for remote and field staff to carry out tasks autonomously. Leadership then benefits from the independence and trust employees experience, with research revealing that trust leads to increased workplace satisfaction and performance outputs.
There are numerous features inherent to mobile workforce software that simplify, streamline and enhance the administrative logistics inherent to management. Consider the following app features that allow managers to work efficiently:
- Simplified work order reviews and final approvals.
- Easier inventory and equipment tracking, as well as order approvals.
- Mobile signature capture, form generation and barcode printing for properly documented customer exchanges and deliveries sent right to managers for approval.
- Bolstered site and performance audits, satisfying both internal and external interests.
- Tailored integrations with other company platforms, such as customer relationship management software, sales software, human resource databases and more.
- GPS services to review and confirm employee locations, improve fleet or delivery routes and coordinate employees and services across strategic locations.
- Job ordering and tracking to improve project and budget forecasting, appointment slots, labor assignments and overall job management based on work data.
- Strengthened compliance and regulations oversight to exceed ever-evolving industry guidelines, taking the sole burden of compliance off managers’ shoulders.
- Reduced manual data entry on all named tasks and functions.
- And much more, designed for your exact business needs.
With mobile management tools, managers receive up-to-date notices to review, oversee and approve. This simultaneously reduces workloads, increases efficiency and allows budgets to be allocated more strategically.
Even customers benefit from these workflow and process enhancements, as they experience better on-site services and interact with your prepared and knowledgeable mobile staff — all underpinned by your comprehensive system.
Experience the Benefits of a Tailored Mobile Workforce Management Software
Vanguard Systems’ workflow automation and mobile workforce management software are a dynamic duo changing how and where work gets done. Our system carries the latest features to empower your field workers and managers, including:
- Billable time tracking
- Mobile form generation
- Document and signature capture
- Client/customer payment processing
- Geo-tagging and tracking
- Mobile time stamping
- Mobile barcode scanning
- Proof of delivery documentation
Check out our mobile workforce management solutions today to see how your employees can make anywhere their office.