Today, enterprises are tapping apps and mobile technology to streamline their processes. from inventory management to sales effectiveness, mobile technology continues to change the way we work–for the better.
The lessons of 2020 continue to impact the way we work and one of the big takeaways the pandemic taught us was the value that field teams can deliver. With crowded markets and multiple competitors in one space, customers are in the driver’s seat and can pick and choose vendors from a long list. This competition puts added pressure on field teams working in sales and technical repairs/maintenance. Up-to-date information is more vital than ever to building efficient organizations and providing access to this information to in-house and field teams has become essential to achieving goals and staying one step ahead of the competition.
A McKinsey & Company report found that the pandemic accelerated the rate of remote work, eCommerce adoption, and automation and these three trends are likely to stay around in the future. Navigating this new workplace reality relies heavily on the use of tools that enable remote work. During the pandemic, many companies deployed automation and AI in warehouses and manufacturing plants to reduce workplace density and meet demand.
Technology and the pandemic also changed how field operations are run. Field teams are held to a nearly on-demand schedule and rely on advanced analytics to ward off and predict problems. Technology has massively changed field organizations allowing companies to use on-demand staffing and reduce complexities associated with full-time workers. This approach can optimize labor costs and lets companies streamline support functions while improving service levels.
Advanced analytics and mobile technology tools have gained popularity because they eliminate the often-manual step of analyzing data on a dashboard. Dashboards were once very popular but left the step of ‘what to do’ with the data to the user. Advanced analytics provide actionable insights and mobile technology cuts down on time-consuming and error-laden manual processes while widening access to data in remote locations. Even more importantly, companies can respond in real-time to their own accurate data – from anywhere.
Mobile technology allows manufacturers to track all of their assets in real-time and create alerts on a single screen. Responding to real-time data lets field managers set realistic delivery timelines, check on parts inventory, and prioritize manufacturing projects. All of this builds greater transparency and delivers a higher level of customer service, which in crowded markets are important to keeping customers satisfied and reordering.
WHO IN YOUR ORGANIZATION NEEDS ACCESS TO INVENTORY AND PURCHASE ORDER DATA?
Sales teams need immediate access to inventory levels to set accurate timelines and build transparency with their customers. Field technicians need access to data when working on machinery and equipment to check records, schedule proactive maintenance, and ensure upgrades were successful. Customers also favor access to their invoicing data, shipping information, and purchase order status. Customer self-service portals grew in popularity last year and continue to gain momentum into 2021. Integrated data, improved workflows, and easy access to information can be delivered using mobile apps that work with ERP systems and the functionality of these apps refreshes legacy backend systems and deliver greater efficiencies.
WHY CHOOSE A MOBILE APP?
Mobile apps keep data and communications integrated and accessible to field teams. Smartphone and/or tablet access keeps costs down and shortens training time. Bezlio is a mobile app that adds mobile capabilities to midsize manufacturing companies and offers features for warehouse management that increase inventory accuracy. From simplifying cycle counts that result in more accurate forecasting to better inventory planning and cost containment, Bezlio features functionalities that transform an organization from top to bottom.
Bezlio also speeds up the process for receiving purchase orders and finished goods. With Bezlio you scan barcodes using your smartphone which eliminates the need to enter transactions later so your inventory is always up to date. Barcode scanning also ensures better accuracy because it removes accidental keystrokes associated with human error. Paperwork doesn’t pile up and prevent your data from being up to date. Items are scanned as they enter the shop floor. It’s simple to use and costs effective.
HERE ARE FIVE WAYS TO BUILD A STRONG FIELD TEAM
Don’t underestimate the value of belonging. We’ve talked a lot about giving your remote teams access to the data needed to build good customer relationships and close deals quickly, but it really comes down to inclusion. When field teams feel they are part of a larger group/team, they perform better. Nurture a team-oriented culture that is connected and built on respect.
Provide your field teams with the tools they need to get the job done. If you want deals closed off-site, your field teams need these tools to accomplish this. Be upfront with expectations and back this up with solid training, needed support, and the technical tools to meet goals.
Use conflict and failures as teaching lessons for everyone. Working remotely can be isolating and discouraging – especially in challenging times. Keep your field teams motivated and moving forward with new ways to work with difficult customers and share lessons from situations that did and did not go your way.
One person never succeeds or fails alone. It takes a village to close a deal, hit a sales goal, and deliver a product on time. Highlight the chain of people that got a deal done and connect with them so they know their success was seen at the corporate office.
Turnover and change happen, make growing a team effort. Involve the field team in the hiring process. Listen to their feedback. Growth should be a team effort.
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE?
You’re ready to make the move to mobile data access and app functionality, but how do you choose the right provider for you? The first step is defining what your organization needs and why you need it. What are you trying to achieve? More sales? Better employee performance or Improved customer service?
Once you define the “what,” you can focus on gathering information about the different companies that offer mobile apps, remote data accessibility, and other process improvements that you have identified. It’s important to work with your system provider to completely understand the implementation process, what support is included, and how often features and services are upgraded. Choosing the right provider can be as important as choosing the right system. Providers are the people you need when systems are being implemented and issues arise. Using mobile technology to your advantage shouldn’t be a challenging process. Many mobile app providers offer customized solutions to address your specific challenges and needs.
The exact value of the efficiency gains you’ll see when switching to mobile app technology will vary by organization, the complexity of your operations, the use of barcoding, and other factors all impact the benefits you’ll achieve.
Interested in implementing a mobile development platform like Bezlio to provide your field teams with access to ERP data? Contact us today and we can begin customizing a mobile ERP solution to address your business challenges or see our website’s Resources tab for case studies and blogs about our products and services.