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A mobile workforce involves workers scattered in various geographic locations who are connected through technology. This can include Internet platforms, smartphones and other communication technology, but the bottom line is that workers are able to collaborate despite their separation by great distance.
Mobile workers are rapidly becoming the rule rather than the exception. About 5 billion are connected by mobile devices, according to Deloitte. Also, about 70% of the workforce no longer sits behind a desk all day and have become mobile workers.
Modern communications and technology allow for better mobile workforce management. This is especially apparent in the transportation and supply chain industry, where workers – many of them on the move and spread out over thousands of miles – are kept connected.
Working in the Field
Mobile workers can now accomplish things in the field that once required them to be tethered to a desk or relying on paperwork at the office. While most people associate mobile workers with “working from home,” that’s only a small part of what mobile workforce management involves.
For example, communications can help workers in each of the following examples.
- A salesperson makes a sale when meeting with a client and no longer must wait on paperwork getting done at the office to close the sale
- Onsite construction teams can communicate with engineers or designers on any changes requested during the building phase, using detailed computer-generated 3D images
- Sophisticated software systems can now send information about a patient to a doctor or other medical personnel while they are with the patient, helping them make better decisions on treatment
Those are just a sample of the many ways that technology is fostering better communication for professionals in many different career fields.
Advanced Fleet Tracking
Telematics allow companies to keep real-time tracking of those involved in the supply chain. This includes the use of GPS tracking as well as sensors that can monitor everything from fuel consumption rates to when engine parts are getting close to required maintenance.
While communication is good, so is the ability to monitor the system for potential cost savings and other efficiencies. That can be accomplished in a variety of areas, including:
- Selecting a route that is the fastest and safest
- Avoiding deteriorating weather conditions
- Encouraging driving habits that lower fuel consumption
- Avoiding costly repairs by monitoring maintenance needs
- Providing better tracking of shipments and goods
It’s something that the big companies, such as FedEx, have been using for years and continue to perfect. For example, FedEx uses technology in “reducing corrupted time” for mechanics in the company’s highly regulated system, according to Deloitte. Safety checklists are now in digital form, making it easier to monitor the need for maintenance and to comply with regulatory guidelines.
This same commitment to efficiency using technology can make smaller players in the supply chain more competitive, something that will be necessary as the use of technology becomes more widespread. Mobile workforce management is made easier for supply chain managers and transportation companies through the use of telematics. Clearly, it’s where the top companies in the industry are moving. It’s something that works for companies of all sizes and in all industries.