The matter is proven: adding GPS tracking to a mobile solution increases field productivity. The open questions are “how?” and “how much?”
In this blog, I review the ways GPS tracking for mobile computers improves productivity and then what the financial benefits can be. Considering how easy it is to add GPS tracking to any mobile computing solution, it’s a no-brainer for VARs and ISVs to offer it and end-user customers to adopt it.
The typical sales pitch for GPS tracking focuses on saving fuel. While saving fuel is always a good thing (for both profitability and the environment), it’s just the tip of the ROI iceberg. Think about it, when a worker goes off-route or engages in side-trips when he/she should be working which cost is higher, fuel or time? The answer is time of course. Why? Because the benefit of cutting fuel use is a savings, but the benefit of reclaiming time is potential profit.
GPS tracking has been shown to increase productivity by up to 12%. This works out to just under one hour a day. This is backed up by a study that showed companies that deployed GPS tracking “reclaimed” 54 unproductive minutes per day. And I’ve seen it save even more. A distribution customer of ours started tracking exactly when its workers got on the road in the morning and returned to the depot at the end of the day. They quickly found that on average, workers spent one extra hour per day in the depot over and above the company’s guidelines. So before they had identified a single improvement they could make in the field, they had already picked up an hour a day in productivity by enforcing the rules they already had in place. And once they started analyzing field activity they saved even more time.
What were some of the other areas that GPS tracking can help improve productivity in the field? Here are a few examples:
- Unauthorized travel – By using geofencing, enterprises can identify when workers leave the service area or deviate from planned routes. This saves fuel and more importantly, enables the organization to reclaim more unproductive time.
- Long or unauthorized stops – The customer mentioned above had all of their delivery locations loaded into the system as “Points of Interest.” This allowed managers to identify unauthorized stops. We can also provide alerts and reports on “long stops” that last longer than a prescribed number of minutes. Some companies have a rule that field workers cannot visit their home during working hours. To monitor this, we have set up “geofences” around field workers’ home addresses and then alert supervisors when a worker visits their home for more than a few minutes (we don’t want to have false positives if a worker travels by their home on the way to a stop or call).
- Planned vs Actual Mileage – The customer mentioned above also wanted a custom report where they could provide us with the planned mileage per day for each worker and compare it with the actual mileage recorded by GPS. We developed a new custom report that showed any deviation in “planned vs actual” mileage greater than 10% over or under. From this report supervisors could easily pinpoint operational issues in the field.
- Proactive Reporting – To achieve productivity increases in the field, you need to make it easy for supervisors in the back office to gain insights and act on the information coming out of the GPS tracking service. We do this in a number of ways including real-time alerts that can bring urgent issues to the attention of supervisors and dispatchers as they happen by email, text message or screen pop-ups. Another important way to turn the vast amount of data coming in from the field into actionable intelligence is with scheduled reports. These reports can be configured to include exceptions or summary information for any data point in the system. The reports are scheduled to be automatically emailed to supervisors at the end of day so a quick five-minute review can inform them on where action needs to be taken. No need to stare at “dots on the map” all day to get the benefit of full field visibility.
This depends on a number of factors, but every company can benefit from gaining more productive time per worker. As an example, let’s look at a field service organization where each service call generates an average of 200 dollars/pounds/euros in revenue. Adding one call per month per worker already increases operational profit. Adding one more call a week adds hundreds to the bottom line. One more call per day and the revenue increase is in the thousands.
These benefits can be realized by any organization whether its workers deliver goods, do scheduled maintenance, conduct inspections or other task. When it comes down to it, getting more work done per worker adds to the bottom line.
If you’d like to learn more about GPS tracking for mobile computers and smartphones, contact us. In addition to the benefits to end –users, GPS tracking also offers VARs, ISVs and MSPs an attractive way to add value to their mobile solutions and increase SaaS revenue. We are happy to answer any questions, provide online demos and even support customer pilots. Don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to help.
All the best,