There’s no easy way to manage a team of mobile workers - it’s an inherently tough task.
But there are effective ways to make it simpler by making the best use of today’s digital technology. It allows management to move beyond the limitations of whiteboards and the frustrations of spreadsheets.
Here’s a look at some of the problems with traditional planning methods and some of the benefits of using a cloud-based approach.
What are the problems with a traditional approach to job planning?
- It’s hard to access the resource info you require
- The planning info is not mobile worker friendly
- Lack of scalability limits business growth
Whether it’s handwritten plans on a whiteboard, entering details into an Excel document or a combination of both, there are some fundamental problems with the traditional tools used to manage resource planning. These include:
It’s hard to access the resource info you require
Effective job planning means taking into account all of the relevant factors. This starts with the basics - the when and where of each job - but includes everything from worker availability to compliance checks and access to the vehicles and equipment required.
Trying to retrieve and update all of this information across a mobile workforce is a logistic slog - slow and error-prone. It means having to collect information that’s often scattered across emails, worksheets, documents and spreadsheets.
The planning info is not mobile worker friendly
How do you communicate a weekly plan that’s on a whiteboard or contained within a spreadsheet to your workers? This is a particular problem when your employees are operating remotely and plans are liable to be frequently changing as jobs are added, changed or cancelled.
Trying to update plans and get the accurate information to each worker becomes a constant struggle with information having to be manually transferred and bundles of paperwork having to be distributed.
Lack of scalability limits business growth
While a traditional method may handle resource planning for a small team, as a business grows, any reliance on manual processes starts to pose a problem. Bigger teams and more complex company structures restrict a manager’s ability to keep an overview of operations.
It increases the risks of human errors being made with mismatches between weekly schedules and the available resources (workers, vehicles, kit). Inefficient services mean dissatisfied customers and unnecessary stress and frustration for mobile workers.
How can technology improve mobile resource planning?
Cloud-based management can transform the way that resource planning is handled. While digital tools were once prohibitively expensive, the technology is now accessible to mobile businesses of all sizes. The benefits include:
- Real-time access to operational data
- Reduced administrative burden
- Plans easily communicated with workforce
Real-time access to operational data
A dedicated workforce management system will automatically collate all of the information that’s required to create effective weekly plans. A system such as MyMobileWorkers can provide data on:
- Worker availability (tasks/sickness/holidays)
- Vehicle/equipment availability
- Employee qualifications (safety/compliance certification)
With access to this data, managers can instantly identify any potential conflicts or gaps that need to be covered. It helps to ensure that when a job is assigned, a worker is available, they are qualified for the task and have access to all the tools/vehicles they need.
Reduced administrative burden
With information being readily available, it significantly reduces the time required to create effective weekly plans. It allows managers to focus on good management, rather than on tedious administrative processes.
Plans easily communicated with workforce
An integrated management solution removes the need for any information having to be manually moved from a spreadsheet or whiteboard to worksheets. Plans can be instantly updated and made accessible to a remote workforce via a smartphone app.
It creates a flexible approach to resource planning that’s able to quickly adapt to any kind of change. If jobs are added or cancelled, plans can be adjusted accordingly with remote workers always having accurate and updated instructions.
Want to find out more about resource planning?
If your business still uses a traditional approach to planning, here’s a look at how MyMobileWorkers can help improve your operational performance:
Image by StartupStockPhotos