The following is an article that was written for BDO Kendalls’ March business briefing on how to implement innovation in business using mobile technologies.
Building your business while out and about
Business is booming. Queensland has 4% unemployment. Finding new staff is almost impossible (a â€˜chokepointâ€™ for many businesses); the key to success in business is now using the staff you have as effectively and efficiently as possible.
This article explores how to go about adopting some of the hot mobile technologies right now to small and medium-sized businesses, without exorbitant expenditure, to make staff more effective in their roles.
Build a bottom line
The first step in achieving this is to understand the â€˜chokepointsâ€™ for your mobile workers in your business and then seek a business solution to resolve it.
As outlined in the diagram, this requires a review of the business, identifying chokepoints (e.g. the need to wait until returning to the office to submit orders), the areas with key impact on the business, and devising and implementing the business solution.
Once the business solution is implemented, review the solution for its effectiveness and look for the next chokepoint in the business.
If youâ€™re selling stuff
Key Impact: Salespeople lose two hours each day through being in the office; orders are also submitted at the end of the day.
Devise Solution: Itâ€™s called salesforce automation, and itâ€™s about being able to access real-time customer information, write orders and check inventory on the road and when youâ€™re sitting across from your customer.
Key Impact: Filing and authorisations are inaccurate, out-of-date, and require manual re-processing.
Devise Solution: Electronic Mobile Workflow solutions can result in replacing clipboards and paper forms with electronic devices that immediately capture signatures and information. This removes the need for manual re-processing of the information.
If youâ€™re doing stuff
Key Impact: Customer emergencies are not dealt with in a timely fashion.
Devise Solution: Location-based services allow the business to track their people â€˜in-the-fieldâ€™ so that if a customer emergency crops up, the nearest person can be dispatched to deal with the issue.
Key Impact: Orders are held up until the next available field agent can be on-site and look at the issue.
Devise Solution: Digital evidence-gathering can be used to submit photographs or video/audio recordings in the field to experts who can use that photograph to diagnose a problem before travelling onsite or ordering parts to fix it.
If youâ€™re administering stuff
Key Impact: Telephony costs are increasing and staff miss calls because they are not in the office.
Devise Solution: Internet and Voice-Over-IP technologies mean that the phone line on your desk can be the phone you take with you when youâ€™re out and about. This can improve your businessâ€™ ability to support growth as well as making a tidy saving on call costs and hardware costs. In the jargon, itâ€™s called fixed-mobile convergence.
Key Impact: Staff are complaining of work/life balance and issues and requiring more flexibility in working hours.
Devise Solution: With the need for a flexible workforce, it may be possible to use teleworking technologies to allow some staff flexibility in their working hours â€“ for example, working two days a week from home, or from home every second afternoon.
This article has set out only a few of the mobile technologies that are now available to the business to deliver innovation and practical benefits to the bottom line.
Your business has the opportunity to use staff more efficiently and effectively by eliminating the key chokepoints within the business.
These technologies are becoming more affordable every day, and deliver robust solutions that have the potential to transform your approach to business. You need to watch for these technologies and their benefits to your business, because you can be absolutely certain that that is what your competitors are doing.