Just because you’ve mobilized an application doesn’t mean you’ve improved efficiency or productivity. You have to match the mobile hardware to the application, utilize peripherals and applications that will help you automate manual processes, and properly monitor and manage your mobile workforce.
These three tips can help you improve the efficiency of your mobile operations:
- Utilize Mobile Printers: If your employees are using mobile computers to perform most of their work, but still have to walk back to a fixed-position printer at a workstation or in their vehicle in order to print pick lists, labels, or invoices, then you are hobbling your own productivity.
The solution is using mobile printers. By eliminating all that walking back and forth to the printer you can boost productivity and generate a fast return on investment (ROI) in your mobile solution.
Zebra Technologies conducted a time-motion study of receiving operations, for example, and found that pallets were labeled in 42 percent less time (28.11 seconds compared to 49.74) when mobile printers were used to eliminate trips to a central printing station.
Mobile printers like Zebra’s QLn Series , which support multiple operating systems (include Apple’s iOS) and ZQ500 series , which is highly rugged for use in warehouses and field service environments, can provide other benefits as well. These devices can improve receiving and shipping productivity, streamline cross-docking operations, and simplify putaway and picking tasks.
- Select the Right Device for Your Application: Each company and use case has its own unique requirements, and the technology you select for your mobile workforce should provide the features and functions you need to successfully automate your operations.
Work with your technology supplier, vendor, or VAR to help focus your organizational goals and find the right fit. Outline your operating procedures and identify where mobility can improve them. Think about how your employees will use the devices and make sure that you aren’t making their jobs more complex.
You should also work with your technology partner to ensure the hardware can withstand the environmental conditions in your facilities or operating environment. If the device is exposed to dust, dirt, moisture, chemicals, and other contaminants, it needs to be rugged enough to keep operating under the worst conditions. Otherwise you will incur costly downtime and device replacement expenses.
- Manage Your Mobile Devices and Employees: For field service applications, a robust scheduling and dispatch solution will keep your remote employees on track to meet customer expectations and requirements when it comes to timely arrivals and repair time estimates.
Your mobile workforce can be more efficient by including checklists in the mobile app for each task and a way for managers to ensure those items have been completed.
Invest in mobile device management (MDM) software that can help monitor device performance, centrally manage and update software, and provide remote support to mobile employees. MDM can help reduce the cost of supporting far-flung mobile employees and reduce downtime by making it possible to issue software upgrades to the entire workforce at once, without interrupting their work or asking them to come to a central location for a software patch.
Your mobile workforce is on the front line of critical operations that directly affect customer service. If they aren’t working efficiently, your customer relationships will suffer. By investing in the right mobile equipment, matching it to your application, and then properly managing both you employees and your hardware, you can ensure optimal performance from your mobile solution.