Giving employees of large organizations or city departments the ability to collect data in the field and push information out with mobile technology can improve productivity and response times. Removing the multiple steps that come with manual entry systems and creating standard operating procedures can also enhance data quality and accuracy.
The quickest example of mobile technology improving efficiency is the rising trend in adding smart meters to homes and commercial buildings and creating a customized mobile application to instantly read the multiple data sets they emit. Without these smart meters and the mobile apps that organize the information they contain, city or private utility management companies have to take multiple measurements from meters and aggregate the data in one central database, where the majority of the best data would be buried and rendered useless.
Allowing employees to skip over all of that manual data entry and giving them instant access to the answers they need is a surefire way to ensure they’re able to accomplish more of the work that really matters in a day. Public works crews are a perfect example of a group that can benefit from a customized mobile application. When a crew receives a call about a tree limb that’s been taken down by a storm or an overflowing storm drain, there could be other factors like traffic jams in the area that will impact their ability to respond quickly or effectively.
A mobile application that can provide advance notice of these types of extenuating circumstances can alter their approach, ultimately improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the response. Adding a feature that creates standard operating procedures for streamlining task assignments can also benefit field crews by eliminating redundancy. The added bonus of allowing employees to enter the necessary data anytime and anywhere can improve moral. Eliminating the need to sit in the office for a few hours each night after a call filling out paperwork will almost certainly lead to happier (and more productive) employees.
Another key example of where the application of mobile technology can result in increased productivity is its use for the Permit To Work Application process in the oil and gas industry. Currently, the process for obtaining a permit to work on the expensive, specialized equipment on an oil rig is highly manual and very time-consuming.
A technician requesting permission to make repairs must fill out a short stack of paperwork and send it to the central office for review. At that point, if the central office believes that more information is necessary to approve the job, the cycle starts anew. With a mobile application, a technician can scan the piece of equipment in question, enter the necessary information about the repairs needed and instantly send the request off to management.
Upon receiving the request, the central management office has all of the information it needs to deny or approve the repair. This significantly reduces response time and allows repair crews to start working right away, resulting in lost-opportunity cost savings for the company.
Of course, one of the biggest advantages of making this switch to mobile applications that allow for the on-the-spot data entry is their ability to significantly reduce the potential for human error and improve data quality. Employees who enter information as soon as they see it are far more likely to be accurate with details. And that, in turn, means the quality and reliability of the data drastically improves.