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Transforming Field Force Into Profit Making Engine

Flow Chart of Field Force Automation Software

An Effective Mobile Strategy Links the Corporate Back Office to the Field Workforce.

Today, field businesses can achieve measurable business benefits for a range of mobile operations with end-to-end solutions. By improving the productivity of mobile workers, businesses can increase revenue, cut expenses and improve customer satisfaction.

The following are examples of three utilities using field-force automation to improve operations.

INTEGRATING OPERATIONS

Apex , a multi location company providing Installation, After Sales Service, Maintenance and customization services to more than 10,000 customers in the Mumbai, Pune, Nashik area, implemented an integrated ServMI mobile workforce management system. Apex has integrated this solution with the cloud infrastructure, customer information, interactive voice response and high-volume call systems.

The system provides a seamless environment for dispatching, mobile workforce management, scheduling, staff management and lead management. This allows Apex to create a consolidated operations environment and make informed decisions related to both trouble- and service-order work. The system tracks individual trouble calls from customers and associates these calls with an event for a specific locations & assets. In addition it minimizes paper forms in the field and reduces voice communication.

Operations personnel can optimize assignments by viewing each field person’s location in real time on detailed map displays. The system also tracks the events that a crew has worked on, the time spent on the event and the resolution of the problem when the call is closed. By integrating operations, Apex has increased productivity, decreased back-office support, improved resource allocation, and increased the speed of deployment of job-related information to the field.

MOVING BEYOND THE FIELD MAP

Traditionally, service based companies have stored operations and maintenance (O&M) information in independent department files, an asset database or registry, maintenance history files, and on maps and miscellaneous documents. Field crews can now assemble and access data sources from a single point for unified analysis for inspection and maintenance.

CAPTURING ACCURATE DATA

An SPM Manufacturing & Service company serving more than 50000 customers in Asia, implemented ServMI a multipurpose mobile application for inspections, installations, Training and breakdown maintenance.

Customer service engineer record facility and field conditions, recommend the necessary actions and identify the priority of the work. Contractors then record the actual work completed. The data is uploaded and immediately available for viewing, analysis and reporting by companies centralized O&M team.

Accurate and up-to-date data enables company to perform effective trending of facility conditions and failures. This allows the company to make timely and cost-effective decisions on preventive-maintenance programs. Maintenance planners can produce work plans quickly, with the additional benefit of being able to combine work with neighboring service points.

The accuracy of the data also allows company to more effectively and efficiently manage contractors’ work, measure performance against other utilities, identify worst-performing product and provide accurate statistics for performance-based regulations. Labor savings is a significant benefit of their application.

By improving the productivity of mobile workers, these companies have been able to gain a competitive advantage, which is becoming increasingly important due to the economic downturn.

For more help email on sales@fieldmi.com

Article written by: Anup Naik (CEO-FieldMI Technologies Pvt Ltd) +91- 7722011669

While Choosing a Mobile App for Field Force Automation

Features of Field Force Automation Software Pune and Mumbai

With the sizeable increase in Smartphone users and people getting more used to mobile apps, Field Force Automation Mobile Applications need has increased from few hundred users in the Year 2012-13 to Few Lac users in Year 2016-17.

Field Employees are important members in an organisation contributing sizeable value in revenue building and increasing customer satisfaction. Employees & Teams like After Sales Service, Field Sales, Key Account Managers, Deliver Staff & Managers, Cash On Delivery Van & Staff, Payment Collection Officers, Surveyors, Inspectors, Customer On boarding staff etc fall into direct users category of Field Force Automation Software.

There are lot many indirect users like distributors, Channel Partners, Retailers, Dealers & customers, service centers, service partners, vendors & suppliers etc.

As per survey it is said that every 4th sales transaction in India will be made on mobile app by end of year 2020 which is an eye opening number.

Need of Field Force Automation Application:

Following are the important reasons why organization need Field Force Automation System

1. Lost Opportunities

2. Poor Prioritisation

3. Lack of Forecasting & Intelligence

4. Employee Accountability

5. Collaboration & Data Sharing

6.Quick Decision Making

7.Quick Customer query resolution & Satisfaction

Though there are lot many options available in the market, following points must be considered while deciding for implementation of FFA system:

Choose a product: Its always better to choose a product which is tried, tested & implemented for various organizations instead of creating some application from scratch.

SAAS or In-house: Depending on size of organization one can choose whether to go for SAAS (Software as service) based or In house app as there are various pros & cons in doing it. In House App requires lot of resources for development as well as maintenance so It is always a better choice to implement it on Hosted Cloud server either on own or vendor side.

Industry Specific App or Generic: There are lot many vendors providing generic app which works across the industry verticals like FMCG, White Goods, Manufacturing, Service Based Organization, BFSI, Retail, Aerospace, Government Organizations etc.

But it is always better to choose industry specific application which understands the functional need of the industry.

Which Technology?: There are mainly 2 types of apps i.e. Native(Developed on Native Technology like Android or iOS) & Cross platform (like phonegapp, Angular JS etc), it is always better to go for Native mobile application as it gives better user experience and supports almost all the devices. For web app it is better to choose apps developed on freeware like Java, PHP etc as cost of development and maintenance is less and no licensing required for development.

Implementation & Support: It is also a very critical aspect and decision point while choosing FFA solution, choose a app with state of art ticket engine & defined implementation process

User experience: Even if the solution is having great features but if it is not easy to use for end users then there are high chances of failure of app. Choose easy to use app considering end user using the app.

Choosing a Field Force Automation Solution is critical as once the solution is adopted it affects the core activity of businesses. So take a time, do comparisons and choose best FFA for your business.

For more help email on sales@fieldmi.com

Article written by: Anup Naik (CEO-FieldMI Technologies Pvt Ltd) +91- 7722011669

Equip Your Service Field Force With An Enterprise Mobile App

The biggest advantage of enterprise mobile apps is that they allow employees to do their most urgent and important tasks while being away from their workplaces. For field workers a ‘workplace’ is simply the base they take off from in the beginning of their working day and get back to only at the end of it.

A mobile enterprise app can solve many issues connected with remote work, significantly improve the quality of your employees’ services and provide managers with useful data that will help them deal with working processes and time management better.

But what should you do to develop a hands-on service field force application?

STEP 1: Choose the features

Certainly, you neither want to pay a fortune for your enterprise application nor have it overloaded with features and information. To make an app convenient, it’s important to analyze the whole scope of your employees’ work and decide what the most essential app features to aid their work are. Below you will find some examples of the features you might take advantage of:

Interactive installation guides

Guide-apps are indispensable for workers with a wide range of equipment to install. Handy references in one’s pocket will provide some extra reassurance for your employees and help to avoid potentially costly mistakes.

An enterprise mobile app with a knowledge base could always provide employees with any corporate or product information instantly, wherever they are. No need to make calls, just a peek at the device – et voila.

Time-tracking

At the office, paper timesheets may do their job just fine, yet in the field they are awfully inconvenient. With a time-tracking app your employees won’t fidget with a pen that suddenly ran out of ink just to make a table entry. Instead, they will easily choose a specific operation on their device, see its standard duration and input necessary data. Additionally, such an app can record the time spent on each task and automatically upload it to the company’s server.

Schedule

Field workers normally receive a day plan as soon as they arrive at work in the morning, and later, with their schedule available via an application, they can easily stick to it. Due to its flexibility, a mobile timetable could allow managers to plan shifts according to the workload, and such changes would be instantly visible for all the app users.

Geo-location

Such a feature can assist in work optimization by offering an employee the most advantageous routes while getting from one client to another. Also, it can be used for driver logs and even remote vehicle diagnostics.

 

STEP 2: Choose a platform

Once you decide on your app features, it’s time to think about the development method that will help you implement the solution you now have in mind.

If you have only iOS or Android devices in your infrastructure, you don’t have to think much and can confidently go for native app development. But if your company has a BYOD policy, you have to take a closer look of most applicable options of cross-platform development.

 

STEP 3: Choose an architecture

One more choice to make is about your future app’s architecture: whether you need a back-end or not.

FieldMI strongly recommends to make all enterprise apps server-based. This way, they won’t be overloaded with information and will have most of the complex tasks processed on the back-end. Besides, as our Enterprise Software Architect has stated in his recent blog, a back-end is the best way to integrate an enterprise app in both legacy and cutting-edge IT infrastructures.

The pros do not end there: with a back-end you will be able to create a network of your employee’s devices and allow the data to be uploaded to the server for analysis and statistics generation. After all, when it comes to product improvements and marketing strategies, nothing can beat the direct feedback and customer data gathered by your field workers.

 

STEP 4: Find a vendor

Once all the previous steps are taken, you can start searching for a vendor who will implement your idea. We hope that this guide was helpful and would welcome it if you contacted our enterprise mobile application development experts to develop your app with FieldMI Platform.

For Enquiries: Call on +91-9021836764 or E Mail: sales@fieldmi.com

10 Key Challenges for Field Force Automation

The mobile workforce must live up to its name and have the ability to execute their jobs wherever they are. As a consequence, it is vital to provide that workforce the proper tools. If you are considering to take action in this domain, it is important to understand that there are some challenges to overcome.

1)Digitize Information on the Go

There are still a lot of organizations and institutes that equip there field force with only pen and paper. As a result, reports, contracts or any other data-capturing document are written manually and must be entered in the system manually. If a field worker had the possibility to enter information in the system immediately in an easy manner, he would be able to spend more in time in the field than in the office.

2)Get Correct Information Quickly

It is important to offer a better experience than pen and paper to convince the field force to replace those with a mobile solution. If the app helps in getting correct information more quickly, you’re on the right track.

Typical functionalities you might need are:

  • Support for reading electronic identity cards (like the Belgian e-id card)
  • Intelligent guidance. For example show & hide parts based on its relevancy or auto complete form fields based on previous selections.
  • Use of GPS coordinates to prefill the form
  • Use of the date & time to prefill the form

3.Include Evidence

At some point in time, every field worker needs to capture some evidence. Two examples. For sales representatives, this can be a better proposal from a competitor. For insurance claim assessors, this can be evidence of damage.

To be able to capture this evidence, integration with the camera of the tablet is the functionality you are looking for! The field worker takes a picture of the evidence and the evidence is included in the form.

4.Use Available Information

In a paper world, a field worker starts with a blank form, but this is not the best approach in a mobile and digital world. Available information should be gathered from your existing applications (such as case management software, planning software or workflow systems) and pushed to mobile. For most companies, this requires integration with on premises software applications and data sources.

5.Share New Information

Captured information in the field typically leads to new follow-up actions. The sooner the information is made available for other software applications, the sooner a follow-up action can be triggered. Therefore it is important to share the information as quickly as possible. Again, for most companies, this requires integration with on premises software applications.

6.Secure Access

The information that is gathered by the field worker can be sensitive, may contain personal details, which much be treated with care. Therefore it is of utmost importance that a solution in this area must be secure. Secure connections and encrypted data are the functionalities you are looking for in this domain.

7.Data Connection Everywhere

Pen and paper work everywhere. So should a mobile solution. A lack of data connectivity may not hinder the field worker to do his job. Therefore it is important that the mobile solution can work in offline mode.

8.Signature

Often captured information must be confirmed by a third party (a customer, an inspected party etc.) A good way to tackle this requirement is to require a signature. Depending on the requirements you could decide to use a visual signature field or integration with and electronic identity card reader.

9. Visualize & Distribute Data

Often it is necessary to visualize and distribute the data that is captured by the field worker. Think about a sales representative that completes a contract together with a customer. The (signed) contract must be delivered to the customer via the channel he prefers (postal service, email, portal etc.) and the organization the sales representative works for, wants to keep a copy in his or her archive. This highlights the importance of the integration with a customer communications platform.

10.Let Paper Go

It happens in digitization projects that people don’t spend enough time on rethinking the paper forms to web or mobile forms. I advise not to start from the paper form to design your mobile form. Start from scratch. And get into the user’s mind. What are the logical steps to complete the form? What input is relevant when? When to suggest information? This is the only way to gain the highest benefits from your mobile forms!

Contact for Solution@ sales@fieldmi.com or Call: +91-9021836764