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From older methods of intermittent stopovers and time logging to current cloud-based, GPS-monitored backhaul-dependent tools, organizations have continuously endeavored to optimize real-time monitoring of their assets which are on the move. The need to spontaneously locate an asset anywhere has not only given birth to various software and hardware firms specialized in radio based monitoring and reporting, but has also led the way to foundation of a whole new discipline which, in common terms, is referred to as Field Service Management.

With the progress in radio technologies and the affordability they offer in terms of finances and professional usage, a remote monitoring unit has become an integral cog in increasing the efficiency, service execution, monitoring, glitch-fixing and ultimately, delivery.

Organizations are critically dependent on the efficiency of their workflows governing their movable assets; from mobile vendors to network hardware giants like IBM and Cisco, from textile exporters to oil companies, mobility service planning and optimization is an in-house unit at some and out-sourced partner at others. Gartner estimates that market penetration for field service applications has reached 25% of the addressable market.

One huge challenge in successfully reducing cycle time is judging the magnitude of hardware complexity that is to be deployed. In our country, those who execute fundamental field tasks are not literate enough to operate multi-functional wireless devices. Training of fleet operations executives comes as a must.

Cycle Time Reduction

Field force automation is a methodology used to retrieve field information in real time and take necessary actions that maybe required. Field data maybe captured through various devices like wireless handhelds, tablet PCs or mobile phones depending on the nature of data. Data is then relayed over 2G, 3G (if high speed is needed) systems, Wi-Fi or satellite. This instant capture of information reduces time delays, avoids manual double entry data errors and enhances field task productivity.

Examples of tasks that commonly “leak” seconds or minutes from a worker’s day include:

  • Stocking the truck
  • Handling a work order
  • Navigating to the job site
  • Navigating to the job site
  • Diagnosing the problem
  • Determining the solution
  • Finding the parts
  • Making a repair
  • Completing the “paperwork”
  • Collecting payment.

How To?

Depending on the nature of a business, researchers and developers have put forth a 4-scenario working to benefit the client[1]:

Car Trouble

One of your vehicles has broken down out in the field. A remote device lets you know precisely where each of your vehicles and crews are currently working; you can direct the closest, most appropriate equipment and people to the spot thus

  • Saving crew time
  • Resolving issues more rapidly
  • Less traveling time
  • Averting potential harm

Man Down

A crew member’s hand-portable radio reports a Man Down alert. Voice calls to the hand-portable and the vehicle radio elicit. So this alerting helps to

  • Quickly locate crew in trouble
  • Assess risk sooner
  • Act faster to influence outcome


A contractor reports that one of your fleet was involved in an accident where their car was damaged. By referencing time and place records for the specific vehicle (or all vehicles) you are able to provide forensic evidence to prove your vehicle was not in the area at the time of the accident, avoiding liability and maintaining your record with insurers.

Fixed asset issue

A large mobile generator has been deployed for many months, providing service in an isolated part of your coverage area. You can:

  • Report equipment status
    Alongside the received data, your back office can detect the operating status of the equipment. This might include fuel levels or maintenance requirements.
  • Relocation
    Any movement can be alerted immediately. Involvement of your own vehicles is immediately registered. In the event of the mobile generator leaving the vicinity of a specific location, geo-fencing will create an alert.

Key Points for Optimizing Mobile Work Flow Management:

Real-world examples

Organizations across a variety of industries – including retail, banking and health care – have already discovered the value of a modern workflow system.

  • Furniture retailers now processes credit applications faster, plus, it has enhanced its ability to research and prevent credit fraud — all thanks to its new workflow system. Company staffers now have immediate electronic copies of all documentation and the system has dramatically improved the security of confidential customer information. All these benefits have accrued as Rooms to Go has significantly cut internal costs. For example, the company saves approximately $40,000 on shipping expenses alone by eliminating the need to send paper via delivery services and couriers.
  • Banks are also seeing a payoff from optimized workflow systems. Union Bank N.A. `reports significantly reduced output-related costs, optimized business workflows and improved customer service. From a financial perspective, the bank’s investment in workflow solutions and services will yield a 142 percent ROI in the first three years. That will translate into positive net benefits in year one and a total benefit of $5.4 million over three years.
  • In health care, an optimized workflow powers a fast, fully electronic payment process with a complete audit trail at Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The HR department uses the system to manage electronic employee records, while the risk management department uses the solution to capture and manage risk assessments, regulatory forms, closed claims and training records.


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