Over the past two weeks, we’ve delved into mobile workforce management (MWFM) software features, what they mean, and why an organization might want them. As an extension to our post on scheduling features, we examine the research behind GPS-enabled software for mobile workforce management. Does it really improve business processes?
Software Advice, a company that compares field service software, released a report that sums up the key benefits of GPS-enabled software. They surveyed home-service companies with GPS-enabled software and a sample of U.S. customers representing customer views.
What is GPS-enabled Software?
Often, field service software will include GPS-enabled features connected to scheduling, routing, and dispatching. Like the GPS on a cell phone or in a car, the software can locate and display where a person or object is, in real-time. In the case of GPS-enabled field service software, the GPS information tracks a vehicle and/or a technician’s mobile device.
The Findings – The Benefits
Software Advice’s research found several business process effects, beginning with how customers view an organization. Of the U.S. customers polled, a majority (67%) won’t tolerate technicians who are an hour or more late. The companies who sent late technicians likely lost a customer—most of those surveyed said late arrival times influenced whether or not they hired a company again.
With wide arrival time windows and late technicians, what can an organization do? Based on Software Advice’s findings, a GPS-enabled software option should be considered. The software can help you with the following:
• Planning Routes
GPS-enabled software helps plan better routes. Choosing what might seem like direct routes may not be
the most efficient use of your technician’s time. Instead, GPS can show dispatchers a real-time picture,
including traffic estimates, resulting in efficient routes that optimize technicians’ time.
• Accurate Arrival Estimates
The companies surveyed by Software Advice reported arrival times and punctuality improved after GPS-enabled software was implemented. Dispatchers are better able to predict and react to potential delays because they can see technician status and location real-time. If a job is taking longer than expected, the estimated arrival time can be adjusted or the job can be passed off to a different technician. GPS-enabled software also allows service providers to notify customers of arrival time changes, leading to increased customer satisfaction (See Table 1, Courtesy of Software Advice)
• Reduced Fuel Costs
Real-time routes based on traffic information and the best routes
to a technician’s job means less time moving from one job to
another. It also means less time spent in traffic on the way to each
job. 89% of the companies surveyed by Software Advice reported
fuel cost reduction. They also saw a reduction in travel time (see
Table 2, Courtesy of Software Advice).
• Accountable Workers
Software Advice reported one company discovered one of their technicians was using a company van for
personal activities. A technician using a company van during personal time means higher cost to the
company, particularly if the technician pays for gas using a company card, too. Keeping workers “on the
map” holds them accountable for where they go during business hours, how long they take per job, and
can help ensure that company vehicles are used exclusively, or at least primarily, for company business.
• More Work Orders Completed
The combined effects of the above resulted in more work orders completed. 95% of the companies
surveyed reported an increase in work order completion, with 71% of those stating the increase was
moderate or significant. GPS-enabled software helps technicians stay in touch with the office, and it
helps dispatchers react quickly to delays, leading to more work order completions (see Table 3, Courtesy of Software Advice).
Should Your Organization Adopt GPS-enabled Software?
Each organization should examine its current internal processes. If customer satisfaction is already high, and an organization has a process in place that helps technicians remain efficient, a GPS-enabled option might not be necessary. As always, it comes down to the individual organization and its goals. Reach out to a consulting firm for a service assessment. A service assessment can gauge the need and benefit of a new software solution. Software Advice’s findings match findings across the industry—GPS helps organizations be more efficient, lower costs, and increase productivity.