By Mike Koebel, Mentor Engineering

In the construction industry, having any advantage over your competitors can make all the difference. A Mobile Workforce Management (MWM) solution features rugged in-vehicle computers that allow real-time communication between office staff and field workers. In the office, construction-specific software integrated with the in-vehicle computers allow jobs to be automatically distributed to the closest appropriate vehicle, facilitates real-time job updates, and electronically collects all relevant job information from the field worker.

A best-in-class MWM solution can set you apart from your competition by dramatically increasing efficiencies and thereby improving your bottom line. Here’s how:

1 – Complete More Jobs Each Day

A MWM solution streamlines dispatching and automates data collection to significantly increase the number of jobs completed per day without adding additional staff. Field workers can instantly receive job details and changes on their in-vehicle computers without the need to physically drive to a central office, radio dispatch or play telephone tag.  Job updates are instantly sent to the most appropriate vehicle because office staff can see the exact location of all the vehicles on real-time maps, speeding job completion.

Instead of relying on field workers to enter job codes properly on paper forms and then drive or mail these forms to the office, workers simply enter all job details into their mobile computer and this information is automatically sent to head office. The mobile computer then tells the field worker when to move to a different job site. Field workers can easily find that new job site using their computer’s turn-by-turn GPS navigation.

Keystone Excavating Inc. implemented a MWM solution four years ago. Compared to their manual processes, Keystone says the technology saves them more than 20 minutes per piece of equipment per day due to better time management. According to Holly Goulard, Keystone’s Controller, “The money we invested in this technology was expected to be returned in three years, and it has been returned in one. That isn’t even accounting for the overtime hours we’re saving.”

2 – Eliminate Inefficiencies

Best-in-class MWM solutions include a comprehensive set of reports which allow owners and managers to effectively pinpoint areas of inefficiency. Additionally, managers are granted a completely transparent view into the daily operations of the fleet to better optimize equipment usage. They can see which pieces of equipment were in use at certain times, and identify which vehicles were idling unnecessarily. This allows managers to quickly verify timesheets for billing and address the improper use of vehicles to reduce fuel consumption or reward top performers.

GPS tracking of all remote, unmanned assets, such as equipment or trailers, reduces the chances that they will be forgotten, lost, stolen or damaged.

3 – Dramatically Reduce the Length of Billing Cycles

With a MWM solution, in-vehicle computers are integrated with office software. When the driver electronically enters the job start and end time, as well as equipment codes and job details into their mobile computer, this information is instantly sent to the office. Payroll and billing is made easier and more accurate without the need for data entry personnel to decipher paper forms submitted by field workers. It also minimizes the chances that information essential to payroll and billing will be lost or misinterpreted.

At Keystone Excavating Ltd., Goulard says: “We cost timesheets by the equipment used, so the operator enters the equipment code…when they start a different job. The completed work is electronically captured for faster, more accurate billing.”

4 – Minimize Staffing Requirements

With a MWM solution, much of the work previously done in the office can now be done in the field. For example, without the technology, schedulers at the office would receive calls from the field worker to verify jobs details and locations. Now field managers, and even the workers themselves, can handle most of that work remotely with in-vehicle navigation and the job manifests available on the in-vehicle computer. Plus, because payroll and billing data is automatically captured, companies can either downsize or reassign their payroll and data entry workers.

Field workers spend less time entering data and talking to dispatch and more time completing their jobs. Instead of helping driv­ers find their way or trying to locate the next job site, dispatchers have more time to focus on their other du­ties. These efficiencies mean that staffing requirements can be minimized.

“When I started at Keystone, one timesheet was handled 11 times before being filed,” says Goulard. “We’ve gone from having two people whose full-time job was reviewing job codes and hours worked, to this being only one part of one person’s job.”

Keystone has also been able to remove four full-time scheduler jobs since implementing this technology.

5 – Improve Field Worker Safety

Best-in-class solutions offer a work-alone safety option that allows easy compliance with lone worker legislation and safety policies by automating the check-in process. A MWM solution ensures field operators are connected to the office at all times, and provides visual and audio cues to the office staff when a check-in is missed. With vehicle tracking, the office staff can always see where equipment and trucks are, and can send help to a worker’s precise location if necessary. This all provides an extra level of security to field workers operating in remote areas or late at night.

With a MWM solution, information on vehicle speed thresh­olds are automatically collected and sent to the office. Managers can generate driver report cards that show aggressive driving behaviors such as hard breaking, speeding and swerving. They can then coach drivers on safer practices to reduce the risk of accidents, and minimize liability and insurance costs.

 Conclusion

The benefits of a MWM solution are endless. From more jobs completed per day and increased efficiency, to reducing administrative tasks, this technology can revolutionize your business.  There are a wide variety of MWM solutions available in the market, ranging from basic vehicle tracking systems to complete construction-specific solutions. Selecting a solution can be a complex endeavor, but the extensive return on investment and significant improvements to customer service means that MWM solutions are quickly becoming essential in today’s competitive marketplace.

About Mentor Engineering

Mentor Engineering has over 25 years of experience helping hundreds of fleet-based organizations increase efficiency, reduce operating costs, complete additional jobs each day, and improve customer service. Mentor provides a wide range of MWM solutions to meet every fleet’s needs and budget, from sophisticated software and in-vehicle computers, to low cost vehicle tracking.

Mentor’s MWM solution includes Mentor Fleet®, a complete vehicle tracking, field ticketing, and telematics solution that improves the efficiency of fleet-based business. Mentor Fleet delivers Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL)/GPS, driver behavior monitoring, work alone, elogs, reporting and maintenance capabilities. Deployed in the cloud, Fleet can be implemented quickly and tailored to fit every fleet’s need and budget.

Mentor Fleet can be integrated with Viewpoint Construction Software to provide a powerful end-to-end solution that addresses the unique needs of construction professionals.

Click here to learn more about Mentor Engineering’s MWM Solution for construction companies.

Click here to learn more about Viewpoint Construction Software.

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