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The Impact of Innovation on Field Mobility Solutions and Operations

Posted by Steve Northcott

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March 12, 2015 at 9:15 AM


Mobility innovation holds different meaning depending on what industry you apply it to. But regardless of industry, it’s undeniable that the transition to a paperless workflow with mobilised field-based applications has far-reaching benefits. But what are the key business and technical considerations when empowering field workers with innovative field mobility solutions?

This 40 page guide from Zebra Technologies takes a detailed look at how mobile computing can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of field teams across a range of sectors. The guide includes customer case studies which showcase mobility in action, discusses enterprise applications, and summarises the complete range of solutions available to optimise investments in mobile computing.

Mobility has become a best practice out in the field – with the benefits of ruggedised, real-time access to data being substantial and quantifiable. For example, TÜV Nederland , a leading provider of inspection services, estimates time savings of approximately 40 percent from its workforce management system which is accessed via rugged handheld computers.1 But the impact doesn’t stop at field operations. Business functions that are tangential to field service operations, such as sales forecasting, inventory management, production and accounting are also improved. This can all add up to significant savings – as shown by Aberdeen Council, estimating an annual saving of £1.5 million since deploying its mobile computing system.1

By giving field workers a real-time voice and data connection to the business via mobilised field-based applications, you’re empowering them to “take the office out to the field”.  This anytime, anywhere, seamless integration with back-end systems is in stark contrast to a disconnected field workforce that uses paper-based processes. Field mobility solutions strip out time and errors from business processes, so service levels, data accuracy, vehicle utilisation, worker productivity, asset tracking, and dynamic routing are all improved in the field.

But it’s wider than that. Innovative use of mobility has three main benefits for the enterprise as a whole:

  1. Increased revenue: Your sales force can be given the tools to close the sale right on the spot – including the ability to instantly reserve inventory, fulfil the order and provide a delivery date for the customer. Your field service workforce can be turned into a profit centre, with the accurate capture of all billable time and materials on site, as well as the ability for technicians to cross-sell.
  2. Reduced costs: The efficiency improvements from mobility enable the same workforce to make more visits per day. Real-time visibility into sales orders enables just-in-time manufacturing and inventory management, as well as a reduction in stocking inventory levels. Costly return trips to the office can be eliminated with real-time visibility into upcoming service calls.
  3. Cost-effective compliance: By heavily automating data collection in the “last mile” of the supply chain, mobility can substantially reduce the cost of compliance. Bar code scanning ensures an accurate inventory of assets can be maintained, traceability can be ensured, and counterfeit product can be identified and removed.

The impact of innovation on field mobility solutions and operations is already significant. But its importance is only set to increase in the years ahead as legislation tightens and customers demand even higher levels of service.

Download the Zebra Technologies complete guide to field mobility to find out more about how you can empower your field workers through innovation.

You can also discover more about the use of mobility innovation in field operations by joining the Zebra Technologies Trends & Innovation Group.

1 A complete guide to Zebra Technologies Field Mobility Portfolio – Version 2.

Topics: Supply Chain, Manufacturing, T&L, Field Mobility