Mobility – it’s a two way street

By David Simpson on
Mobile applications are a game changing technology for workers operating in the asset management field. For technicians, maintenance engineers and the like, mobility is the default mode. Constantly on the move, they need the ability to access information anytime, anywhere. But it’s important to remember that mobility is a two way street.

It is easy to see the benefits of providing staff on the move with a mobile way of working. It makes no sense for them to travel to a central location to pick up work orders or make constant trips back to the office to transfer paperwork. By doing so, productivity diminishes and the ability to react to changing priorities is compromised. Providing the software tools for workers to receive work orders and service instructions, and the ability to enter job execution information on screen maximises utility, timeliness and reduces the risk of data rekeying errors.
Hence, mobile applications are a great way for field workers to consume information. But, it is important to understand they are also a means by which information can be pushed back up into the system.

For example, if a technician in the field encounters a priority job that needs to be undertaken by another resource, he/she can notify head office that something has occurred and needs addressing. The job can be reviewed and then allocated to the correct resource. The details can then be pushed, and the resource notified, to ensure that the job is addressed promptly. It’s a two way communication that can take place without the need for multiple phone calls and time consuming manual processes.

Using devices in the field to record data which can be entered on the move is a great value-add. Recording current ‘status’ is a good example. If field workers are able to quickly update their status – ‘Job Accepted’, ‘In Transit’, ‘On Site’, etc – via the click of a button, simple but useful information, which is hard to record using manual timesheets, can be captured. In addition to status, GPS information can also be captured, providing further dimensions to this data. Status data built up over time can then be analysed to try and improve scheduling and routing to increase efficiency in the field. 

Using cameras to record ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs of assets subject to work can also be a valuable short-cut. A photograph, uploaded and then linked to the relevant transactional information, allows field workers to provide context on the move without having to type or write screeds of descriptive notes.

Uploading information from the field helps keep data held in the asset management system up-to-date and is often a fast and effective way of correcting previously unknown errors.

If you would like to learn more about how your organisation can deploy mobile applications, please email david.simpson@uxcoxygen.com