Mobile workforce management (MWM) is a type of software which companies use to manage a remote workforce, often many employees on a job site, and is a crucial factor in integrating real-time field-to-office communications. With the ubiquity of mobile devices in today’s society, it is no surprise that there are new mobile workforce opportunities arising in the construction industry.
But what exactly is the difference between a mobile workforce and mobile workforce management, and how can leveraging MWM benefit your construction trade firm? Keep reading to learn all the ins and outs of mobile workforce management.
An Overview of Mobile Workforce Management
Mobile workforce management is becoming a highly prevalent tool in our increasingly connected world. Customers are beginning to have higher expectations of a smooth, well-connected experience, and it helps construction companies achieve high productivity and profits. As integrated and transparent services are becoming the norm, companies have two options–get on board, or get left behind.
MWM helps make valuable information readily available at any time. The mobility allows real-time updates to be made and implemented across the job site, improving efficiency and optimizing time management for the most effective product output. Mobile technology can help make real-time updates to schedules or project scope, manage technicians working on the job site, or even update and review essential documentation in real-time. Mobile technology is beginning to have predictive capabilities as well, using data-crunching tools to estimate when service or updates are needed to prevent a delay from occurring.
Benefits of Mobile Workforce Management
Mobile workforce management solutions can include several different types of modules. These tools are all used to help streamline communication between the job site and office to optimize time and increase overall efficiency. Some of the most common uses for MWM include:
-Dispatching employees to a new job site
-Time tracking employees
-Logging time to job completion
-Real-time communication with employees
-Integrating CRM database with the mobile workforce
-Creating employee schedules
However, this is not a comprehensive list of everything an MWM solution can do for you. Mobile workforce management solutions can be customized to meet each individual companies needs and specifications.
Trends in Mobile Workforce Management
As MWM is such an up-and-coming field, several trends are helping shape its application across many industries. Here is a partial list of significant trends that are primarily relevant to construction:
Data-based Decision Making
In today’s climate, data is the name of the game, but making it work well for you is one of the challenges. Collecting and using data to optimize performance is an essential part of almost all businesses’ current strategy. MWM is a tool that many of these construction businesses are using to gather and analyze useful data from construction sites. An article by Forbes explains data-driven decision making can be made “…using sensors to track machine performance, to optimizing delivery routes, to better tracking employee performance and even recruiting top talent.” You may hear of big data. It offers “the potential to improve internal efficiency and operations for almost any type of business and in many different departments.” Every construction
As you know, there’s a tremendous amount of data and information needed to build massive commercial construction projects (explains the hoards of paper necessary), but companies struggle with the capability to capture data to make more effective business decisions.
Mobile workforce management allows employees to stay connected to the office consistently throughout the day and make adjustments to their schedules and other jobsite activities as needed. This is exceptionally beneficial for optimizing efficiency because subcontractors can troubleshoot and find solutions for problems in real-time, rather than waiting until the end of a working day to report issues that can delay a construction project. Mobile-first means enabling jobsite workers to digitally capture information in real-time and enabling back-office staff to make quicker decisions based on more accurate, reliable information.
Managing Customer Expectations
As new technological advancements arise, customer expectations also increase. By using MWM, trade contractors can use its capabilities to help ensure a better experience for the client. Customers can check the progress of a project and have instant communication with supervisors on the job site regarding more extensive changes to the scope or smaller modifiers that need to be made in the present. Providing the general contractor or owner regular progress reports doesn’t need to be a monumental task to source and piece all of the information from different stakeholders on the jobsite. All of the data is centrally located in the platform driving Mobile Workforce Management.
Other Management Tools
Mobile workforce management is often confused with other similar management tools, but there is an important distinction between them. MWM typically provides the physical device (e.g., App) on which the work is done on the jobsite in addition to the web-based software platform that hosts a complex back-end database. Here are some other management tools that are often confused with MWM, but each has a specific different function:
Managed Mobility Services
Many people confuse mobile workforce management with managed mobility services, but they provide different services in terms of workforce management. Contrary to MWM, managed mobility services usually target connecting database management services with field workers to help integrate the communication between field and office. Managed mobility services can integrate with MWM, but MWM focuses explicitly on employee communication and connection from field to office.
Field Service Management
Many people will group field service management with mobile workforce management, but it is essential to understand the difference between the two. While MWM focuses on optimizing the process surrounding workers and key stakeholders, field service management focuses on optimizing the physical assets in a construction project. This can include things such as mobile maintenance management, while MWM will help in areas such as scheduling workers or receiving daily reports from the workers.
Mobile workforce management is becoming an essential part of many companies’ toolbox of data-driven advantages. The ability to manage employees working remote and provide real-time updates to project stakeholders is making MWM an appealing tool to many trade contractors and is, therefore, becoming a necessity in the construction industry. Using MWM helps facilitate real-time field-to-office communications to increase overall efficiency and accuracy on the job site.
In our increasingly connected world, your customers are expecting a transparent experience between themselves and the subcontractors working on the job site, and mobile workforce management is helping make that demand a reality. The trend of making information available in real-time is here to stay, and mobile workforce management plays a crucial role in building seamless, efficient field-to-office communication.