As we approach 2016, almost every business enterprise seems to have identified, enhanced operational efficiency and cost control as top priorities in the coming year. Those enterprises which depend on land based distribution networks to deliver their products or to service their customers are particularly affected by this new reality since, competitiveness in these industries is directly impacted by the cost and number of contacts that can be made with customers in any given day.
More than ever, these costs and frequency of contacts are negatively impacted by ever increasing wage bills, traffic congestion and paper intensive business processes and workflows. These conspire to reduce the number of productive hours in a workday. They lengthen delivery /service cycles and increasingly force field employees spend an increasing amount of time completing paperwork in the office or sitting in traffic.
Given the above, many local companies have either implemented or have begun to explore the possibility of deploying automated and mobile systems to better manage their asset tracking, work orders, inspections, merchandising, invoicing, collections, field audits & service etc.
This type of technology is not new. It has been with us for many years. Several of our larger distribution companies have employed this technology to some extent. Most of us however may only have directly encountered it when receiving a package from one of the international courier companies (FedEx, DHL etc.).
Most of the local deployments thus far however, have been limited, expensive and based on proprietary software. Today however, technology has advanced to the point where cost of the technology continues to tumble, applications are open and can be applied across entire industries with minor changes. Further, the range of tasks which can be automated and mobilized now seem infinite.
In short, the historical barriers to entry are fast disappearing.
BRIZA Touch Mobile
A good example of this is the Touch Mobile platform which was developed by Mobile Epiphany LLC of Colorado USA. This platform is described as a “Mobility Toolset” since it does not provide a solution to any singular mobility issue. Instead, it provides a suite of tools which can be configure solutions to address any number of mobility challenges which an enterprise may encounter. This in much the same way as a box of Lego blocks can be used to build any desired structure.
Configuration versus Programming
By mapping workflows using Parent/Child and Asset/Properties relationships, its template driven administrator console can configure or alter any mobile solution without the need for coding or programming. Instead, the administrator focuses on the business outcomes and workflow architecture.
From a cost perspective, this means that this means that, the long term True Cost of Ownership (TCO) is significantly reduced since changes to the platform and additions of new workflows and features can be effected by in-house administrative staff without the need for outsourced or specialist technical personnel. This also positively impacts the lead time to deploying solutions by reducing this to days instead of weeks or months.
Touch Mobile’s ‘store and forward’ technology makes it possible to operate at the handset level with or without network (GSM/Internet) coverage. This means that there is no downtime because of a lack of network coverage in rural areas or inside buildings.
Multimedia Data Capture
Touch Mobile will capture text, signatures, pictures, video, audio or barcodes. This is useful for validation of work done, stock rotation and field audits
Auditability and Reporting
All transactions conducted by users are time/date stamped and GPS tagged. Further, reports can be generated within minutes. This affords field employees more productive time in the field and less on administrative tasks.
Remote Document Management
Users have access to back-end documentation. These can be pictures, contracts or reports of any kind. This significantly enhances data security since, reference material such as these will not need to be copied and carried into the field.
Device and Backend Agnostic
The platform can stand alone of be integrated with any established system of record in the enterprise. At the same time, the user interface is fully customizable making the experience fast and easy. Ultimately reducing the cost of training and increasing the level and speed of adoption.
Its ability to be deployed on any of today’s touch enable mobile device (Android, Apple, Windows & Blackberry) means that the enterprise can use modern and inexpensive mobile devices
Today’s service and delivery companies have many options. They however have little time. Automaton of their field operations is fast becoming a major competitive advantage. It provides a viable alternative to staff reductions and the many hidden costs associated with that.
Automation of field operations ensures that your team can “do more with less” while maintaining and leveraging the institutional knowledge developed over many years.
Contact BRIZA Technologies for more information.