The mobile workforce or mobile workers are defined by the International Data Corporation (IDC) as “workers who are enabled with mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) by their company to complete their assigned tasks and workflows.” The mobile workforce has been growing steadily over the past decade. In the United States alone, there were 78.5 million mobile workers in 2020, and that number is projected to grow to 93.5 million by 2024, according to Statista.
Whether your company had a field service workforce before the pandemic or is in the process of employing a mobile team, it’s important to differentiate between the types of mobile workforces we’ll be discussing. As outlined in BusinessWire, there are two categories of mobile workforces:
- Information Mobile Workers: These workforces utilize tech solutions to work from a stationed location and can include programmers, researchers, and analysts. Occasionally, this group will travel for work.
- Frontline Workers: Frontline workers conduct client-facing or operational tasks in industries such as healthcare, IT, construction, manufacturing, or energy, to name a few, that require their work to be done in the field.
Why should you know this? Regardless of industry, businesses are investing in building mobile workforces. With a surge in mobile and remote workforces since the pandemic, there is a rising demand in digital innovation and mobile solutions for managers to gain real-time insights into their workforce's logistical operations, such as location tracking, logistic, and workforce management.
Managers of teams working in the field must focus on adopting the proper tools to support their field service teams. In addition, every field manager strives to reduce inefficiencies. Capabilities such as real-time location reporting, automation, and digitalization of paperwork in the field service industry are essential for ensuring a streamlined process.
Ensuring an organization’s tools properly support a mobile workforce is crucial for business success. Understanding whether your current tech stack can support the future of mobile work as well as evaluating if legacy technology is holding back your workforce from efficiently doing their job is the first step to assessing the needs of your field service team.
What is Legacy Technology?
First off, what do we mean by legacy technology? Well, “legacy technology or legacy systems are outdated pieces of technology that do not have the capabilities of modern tools.” In short, outdated systems and ways of working justified by the “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” mentality fall into the bucket of legacy technology. Now, while we are not suggesting tearing down your existing tech stack altogether, we do encourage businesses to rethink their approach to how things have been done and look for areas of improvement. As Arun Saigal, CEO and Co-founder of Thunkable, often stresses, “by providing employees the tools they need to solve their problems, employees are empowered to become more engaged and invested in their work, leading to greater innovation and impact within the organization.”
Ready to rethink your tech stack to boost customer satisfaction, centralize processes, improve your bottom line, and maximize productivity? Great! Now, how do you address the big dinosaur in the room that is your outdated way of operating?
Modernizing Legacy Tech to Achieve Transparency with a Mobile-First Solution
Providing teams with a mobile first strategy is critical for any organization that employs mobile or frontline workers. As experts in the no code mobile app development space, we know the transition to mobile tech can seem daunting. But, trust us, it’s easier than you’d think.
Unlike non-adaptive tech, an app is better equipped to handle the unpredictability of a workday among a mobile workforce. What better way to gain visibility into the field services your workforce is deploying than with the device in their pocket?
We’ve seen various organizations achieve success and enhance performance by employing a mobile first development approach to their business strategy.
How an App Can Accelerate your Mobile Workforce
We’ve worked with innovative companies such as Kraft Heinz and Safran to help them achieve business goals and improve project management. Providing a mobile workforce with the right tools at the right time will help teams complete their work more efficiently and effectively. Organized processes boost employee satisfaction and help support better customer service.
For example, if an IT service technician knows before the start of their day how many field appointments they have and can access client’s data and documents on their mobile device before arriving at client’s house, not only will the technician be able to deliver a better service knowing in advance the work required, but the client will also feel assured knowing the IT service technician has all their information before tackling the project.
Let’s look at ways a workforce mobile app can improve your team’s efficiency:
- Your team can stay connected throughout the day with real-time updates on customer details, technician scope of work, appointment schedules, contract agreements, and more. Additionally, managers will receive real-time reporting, which is not possible with manual systems
- Reduce administrative tasks in the field and the office while also reducing the risk of human error by removing manual data entry from your process. Using a mobile app, operational teams in the office can communicate with field technicians effectively and instantly when needed, all at the touch of a screen.
- Take on more business without increasing costs. By streamlining operations with digital solutions, your workforce can focus on better serving more customers by not wasting time on manual and repetitive tasks. Because your team has everything they need on their mobile device, field service technicians can communicate and deliver accurate information to customers.
Ready to digitally transform your business strategy with a custom mobile workforce management solution to maximize team efforts? Continue reading as we walk you through what elements to keep top of mind for when you decide which tools meet your field service team’s unique needs.
What to Consider When Creating Tools for Your Mobile Workforce
Regardless of your industry, it is much easier than you’d image to create your own custom software to meet your mobile workforce's specific needs. Out-of-the-box apps or web based solutions are certainly available, but typically struggle to provide the flexibility or capabilities needed for your specific needs. When evaluating options, creating a solution must satisfy specific criteria for the the employee out in the field, the operations team, and the manager.
After discussing with leading field service managers in their industries, here are the top four factors to better support your mobile workforce with a custom native mobile app.
Ease of Implementation
The extension of tech to a mobile solution needs to be cost- and timeline-effective. When making this decision operations teams must ask themselves:
- Are your processes well documented?
- Can this new app streamline business functions?
- Will this solution easily be achieved with our current tech stack?
If the answer to both is no, your team needs to assess internal processes to determine where operational inefficiencies are occurring and how to improve them. If your processes are broken beyond repair, then it may not be the right time to layer on another headache.
If your organization has directives to eliminate manual processes for your team in the field, then it’s time to move forward with a mobile solution. No code and low code technologies are often used by businesses to create custom applications.If your processes are well documented but require manual effort, like pen and paper for form filling, the no code mobile app development can quickly alleviate these pains.
The last thing your frontline employees want is another tool to learn which will slow down their day-to-day progress. So, when we say, user-friendly we mean this on two fronts: for the end user and for the operations team. The workforce mobile app needs to integrate seamlessly into the team’s workflow and tech stack without much disruption.
The ability for customization is crucial for meeting your unique business needs. Customization extends beyond the user-interface. The solution should be customized to meet your backend systems, workflows and approvals, and have the ability to provide the right information based on user type. A frontline workforce’s specific needs can vary across industries. For example, a healthcare field worker will have different needs than a field technician measuring and harvesting Balsa wood for distribution. Ensure that the mobile solution you are selecting can accommodate customization as robust or minimal as necessary.
Lastly, can the software platform scale to your business mode? Remember when we mentioned legacy technology? The last thing a CFO wants to hear is that the software selected a year ago can no longer support your business’ growth or cost signifciant more based on usage. An investment into new digital tooling should pay for itself either with cost saving, revenue generating activities, or a mixture of both. So align with internal stakeholders to understand business needs and thoroughly research the software solutions available.
A Powerful Mobile Solution for a Mobile Workforce
With the projected growth of the mobile workforce, the demand for mobile-first solutions increases. Companies of all size need to invest in building mobile and remote workforce capabilities. For frontline workers in industries such as healthcare and construction, having the right tools to support their work is crucial. Outdated legacy technology can hinder efficiency and the bottom line. Organizations need to consider not only adopting better field solutions, but building their own to perfectly suite the needs of their unique business.
Enabling deskless workers with adaptive and scalable mobile app solutions will accelerate business growth and boost customer satisfaction. A custom mobile solution isn’t as big of an undertaking as you’d think. Thunkable, the best no code app builder, can help bridge the gap between field teams and their back office operations with a powerful yet simple mobile workforce management app that provides all the necessary information on the go.
Reach out to us so you can develop a powerful, Thunkable-built, mobile-first solution for your team.
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