An Effective Way for Contractors to Keep Track of Their Mobile Workforce

Mobile Workforce Management Software

One of the biggest challenges of managing a mobile workforce is accurately tracking the field service workers during their work hours. Without time tracking or GPS, it can be impossible to account your employee’s presence for their dedicated work shift. Workers will either need to call the office to record their time or fill in a timesheet, which can translate into a lot of paperwork and time wastage of about 5 hours every day. Plus, you don’t have any other choice rather than taking your employee’s word for how they spent the day.

Real-time Tracking Solutions

With the mobile workforce solution software, you can track your field workers in real-time and know where they are and where they are supposed to be next. The software also works in an offline mode, ensuring your employees are always tracked, even in rural and non-connected areas. This will help you save a large amount of money on a daily basis as well as develop a culture of accountability at work.

Benefits of Using a Workforce Management Software

1. No more Timesheet Fraud

If employees don’t track their time schedules, you can end up overcharging your customers as it can cause troubles of billing. Many employees may also add overtime to their sheet just to make some extra money. With real-time mobile tracking, you can verify each job duration, thus reducing labor costs and increasing customer satisfaction.

2. Higher Accountability

Once your employees know they are being tracked, they will ensure shorter lunch and tea/coffee breaks, avoid early departures or late starts and be more accountable for their actions at work.

3. Reduced Side Jobs

You will get notified when an employee goes off-route or takes unauthorized stops. This way, you can avoid paying for all unauthorized uses of the company’s vehicles or hours.

4. Better Customer Service

As you will always be aware of your technician’s exact location, you can notify customers about their whereabouts and give timely updates. This will reduce delays and long waiting for customers, resulting in higher levels of satisfaction.

5. Reduced Payroll Cost

Managers can optimize routes, save fuel, add more jobs to the day and reduce employee overtime with the help of the software.

Using a proven mobile workforce solution software can drastically impact the operations of a contractual company and enable higher growth.

FieldEZ Android Version 5.0 Released

We are glad to announce the release of the latest version of our android application – FieldEZ Ver 5.0. The application  makes a big shift from its earlier design experience. We have crafted every page carefully considering ease of use for our customers and incorporated Google’s material design concepts. The app has a refreshing new feel and makes it even more easier for the field user to manage his tasks and update information.

Here’s a quick peek at the newly designed screens:

 

View today's schedule

New Dashboard – Gives the field user a snapshot of his upcoming schedule.

 

Many Job Types - One App

The new look Home Page – Workflows, Message Board, Customers. Attendance and more.

 

Swipe Away!

Updating Tickets or Leads is a breeze now. Swipe right to view various options, click to confirm. This is a major deviation from our earlier flow of clicking open a ticket before updating it.

 

Attendance

Punch In and Punch Out – Field user will be able to mark attendance with just a click. We automagically capture the location details of the punch in and punch out.

 

Capture Attachments

You can easily attach documents to Service Tickets or Leads

 

Easily manage jobs

The Customer tab gives complete details of the customer including interaction/ service history and location

 

We have also added minor updates to the map view on the web application.

Map Scheduler2

Map Scheduler1

Securely Extend Your Enterprise to Mobile Devices

The proliferation of mobile devices, combined with faster network connectivity and infrastructure provides a new channel for enterprises to solve the challenges they face in serving customers, employees, and stakeholders. Real-time connectivity across functions in enterprises, and blurring of lines between consumer and enterprise solutions mean that organizations stand to gain tremendously in agility and competitive advantage through innovative mobility solutions that gather valuable insight into operations and performance.
 
At the same time, mobility solutions also present large challenges, such as the integration of these solutions to existing infrastructure and systems, as well as scalability and security. Hence, some of the key considerations for organization looking to overcome these challenges include:
 
• How can existing server-side or middleware architecture be integrated with newer, faster, and more efficient mobile applications?
• What should the enterprise server side architecture look like?
• How are security, business scalability, and performance requirements met?
• What are the considerations when designing next-generation architecture for mobile applications?

 

FieldEZ, an enterprise mobility solution, focused around field force automation, understands these requirements to provide a strongly-integrated solution that is robust, secure, and scalable.
 
FieldEZ’s ready-to-run application can be accessed independently or can be integrated into existing CRM applications. It helps organizations extend existing field service processes to deliver optimized workflows. In addition, FieldEZ supports multi-channel customer service, schedule optimization for field resources, mobile and wireless connectivity, inventory management, and invoicing functionality.
 
FieldEZ offers a classic multi-tier, cloud-based framework that comprises a persistence tier (for storing user and application data), an application server (for business logic) and the presentation layer (for rendering end user access). With its ability to support the development of front-end client and back-end integration layers, FieldEZ allows organizations to develop on-device mobile applications that run on a variety of devices and operating systems.

 

Cloud/Application Server
FieldEZ is deployed on Amazon cloud EC2 (a Tier 4 certified data center) and is spread across two data centers in North America. The Nginx web server clusters and Tomcat application server are deployed in separate virtual server instances across the data centers. This ensures that the servers support connection requests at all times (from mobile clients and web browsers).

 

Database Storage
The FieldEZ framework uses MySQL database server with two instances running in primary – slave mode. Maintained in different physical locations, the primary database contains all the data, inventory, workflows, and business logic. This information is periodically backed up in the slave database, with transaction logs backed up every 15minutes and full backups done daily If the primary database server fails for any reason, the application servers will connect to the slave database and the application will resume operation

 

Business Continuity Plan
Since all layers of the application – i.e. web server, application server, and database – are mirrored in two data centers that are physically located in two different cities, FieldEZ is capable of resuming business activities even if there is a calamity in one location

 

Scalability
FieldEZ is designed to support high concurrent usage at every layer. The web server and application server clusters offer enough nodes to ensure that millions of transactions are supported without any performance degradation. In case you need to meet additional transaction requirements, you can add more nodes to the cluster using the Amazon cloud service.

 

Heterogeneous Back-End Integration
FieldEZ allows seamless and customized back-end integration of legacy applications or front-end additions with multiple applications and data within the enterprise, including SAP, QuickBooks, Salesforce CRM and Sage50

 

Security
FieldEZ offers stringent data security using 256-bit SSL encryption that provides end-to-end protection for message privacy, integrity, and security:

• No clear text password is stored or logged into the application
• All data transports over SSL; only SSL port of web servers open to internet
• Strict authentication checks for access to the application
• Strict authorization checks on both client and server to avoid data sharing
• Only SSH connections to servers (based on public/private keys)

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Go Agile – Build a Mobile Field Workforce

Service companies are increasingly adopting field service automation technologies to help their field workforce. Desktop scheduling software and reporting tools have been around quite a while  – as well as software that takes care of individual functions like billing and inventory management.

But what the industry require today is an all-in-one solution. A single software that actually connects with the field workforce instantly and accurately : The agile mobile field workforce.

But mobility in field service has been around for a long time isn’t it? True mobility is still a distant dream for many – there are very few Field Service Management (FSM) software that takes care of all major processes. The ideal software system for a mobile field workforce is one that takes care of instant scheduling, dispatch, routing and tracking. Beyond these it has to have billing, invoicing, reporting, customer feedback capture and more. This is what makes a great field force management tool- the ability to do all this on a single, agile software.

Time is money. A single system will enable field staff instant access to any information regarding service tickets, and help them reach the location quicker, solve it in the first visit, and get feedback directly on the mobile. The results can be outstanding – Our customers have seen an average of 14% improvement in their revenues in the first six months.  With reduced Cost. And increased better sales. Now that’s something!

A caveat though – any field service software implementation will be successful only when it  used diligently by all field staff. And that means the software has to be easy to use, easy to set-up and easy to scale. An intuitive software improves adoption rates, bring down training costs, and increases usage.

Another way to improve adoption is to use the field staff’s personal mobile device as the FSM device. This concept of ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) is fast catching up and helps organizations reduce cost of smartphones purchase, not to mention reduced burden on the field workforce who have only one device to handle.

A fundamental aspect of BYOD is inter-operability – native apps that works on iOS, Android and even Windows will help in a smooth roll-out and get the best out of the mobile field service experience. This will most help smaller organizations – who need not spend on costly devices, and focus on the one that has the best value.

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Native Apps and Field Service Management, a Match Made in Heaven – Find out why?

In the digital era today, the use of smartphones is ubiquitous. From CEOs to administrative staffs, in the business environment, smartphones have become an important element of everyone’s life. Running like the lifeline of a smartphone are mobile applications, designed to perform a whole range of functions. Native applications, built with a fair touch of innovation and purpose, can act as a source of competitive advantage.

A classic debate from the world of enterprise applications is the one between native apps and HTML5. HTML5 has made good progress in the recent years and has found a place in the good books of app developers. But at the end, it is the native mobile platform that wins while talking about both customer-facing as well as employee mobile apps.

At the crux of field service management is the need to reach out to far flung technicians with the right updates and at the right time. A native app does a better job at this. Read on to find out more reasons to explain why native apps are domineering over HTML5 applications in this field of work.

Better performance

The demands of an organization, with respect to an application, differ from one another in size, complexity and usage. Invoking the various functions of an application through a browser with HTML5 is no better or faster that achieving the same through a native app.

Better user experience

Rich animated content always scores better than the monotonous display of text. Consider a healthcare app that showcases the polio vaccine administration plan through video, graphs and charts to the field workers than a whole array of words used to represent the same information. The power of animated content cannot be underestimated while using mobile applications and native apps are more efficient in rendering high quality graphics and visual content.

Augments the efforts of field workers by using the features of the device

The ability of the native apps to use the features like camera and location of the mobile device gives it an edge over the applications built with HTML5. While HTML5 applications may use features like the GPS or accelerometer, they tend to suffer while the demands become more complex and the need to use the inherent features of the phone arises.

Better security

While dealing with sensitive information, encryption becomes a necessary tool. Application of the right security protocols and checking of compliance regulatory measures are essential for the proper functioning of field services. Dealing with secure data over a browser-based application can be tricky and the chances of hacking attacks are also large. Native apps, on the other hand, can facilitate encryption of cached data and also ensure all required regulations are in place (this is of great use in the healthcare industry).

More reliable

Native apps must be adapted to the various operating systems they are made to work with. For instance, a native app works different on the Android OS when compared to an iPhone. The same happens with HTML5 applications which must be adapted to each and every browser such as Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer. The chances of a field service provider failing to access an application to the incompatibility of his browser with the OS is much high.

Robust applications

Native apps continue to perform their function even when one device or OS from the whole range is compromised. The information is absorbed and is made to reach the field service workers or the central organization as soon as the Internet connection is enabled. HTML5 applications fail to deliver business continuity when the Internet or the browser or the source is compromised.

A few final words…

Native apps come with a substantial cost. The cost involved is directly proportional to the quality of service and an assurance of better results and revenue. Field service workers have the responsibility to directly face customers and native apps could be the most efficient, reliable and robust tool to complement their work.

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Boost Efficiency with Remote Work Order Management. Go Mobile!

Work Order Management

Is the way you interact with your customers and field workforce smart and scalable?

Do you still bank on multiple service request forms, assignment related templates, service report cards and invoices?

Are you able to bill your customers in time after a successful field service ticket closure?

Field service organizations often face these issues, especially when the service sites are in remote locations. The time-tracking field crews and real-time updates are essential for field service organization working in client locations (Oil & Gas, Utlities industries). Asset monitoring and peer collaboration become more important when early identification and resolution of issues in remote location can result in huge dollar savings.

One smart way of handling this is to introduce a mobile work order management solution- which eliminates all the woes of handling remote people, assets and processes. Such mobile solutions help you manage your field workforce at ease by:

  • enabling you to assign work to your field staff
  • track the status of work orders assigned
  • send alerts and notifications to individuals/groups
  • track the time spent on the road and at work, and
  • get real time customer feedback on the task accomplished

– all through a simple application installed in your mobile phone.

Such mobile based work order management solutions can enable the field workforce to submit business critical reports on status of work and assets by simply updating electronic documents via their mobile phone in near real-time. Mobile field management solutions can help achieve more than 15% savings in the costs, and improve revenues and customer loyalty.

Adopting this approach could enable you establish a two-way communication and document exchange mechanism.  On top of that, you can bill your customers sooner, without having to wait for your field staff to get back with a work completion document. Life suddenly looks better now isn’t it?!