Enterprise Mobility expert, Jon Vass of Telogis, claims that instead of cutting back on services businesses should instead look to optimise their mobile workforces...
With the right technologies an organisation can save hundreds of thousands of pounds by simply working more efficiently. Route optimisation, improved vehicle maintenance and mobile technology can provide significant savings on the bottom line and give a competitive edge.
Pundits claim that Britain's 'Great Recession' started in the spring of 2008 and ended in the summer of 2009. Today many would argue differently, for figures show that businesses are still in slow recovery. The key factor over the last few years - and possibly the biggest - is that consumers, companies and the state are all locked in a race to straighten out their finances. Which means each of these will be trying to reduce costs.
Of course, for many businesses it is easy to reduce costs by looking at expenditure and simply cutting back, reducing staff and overheads, even moving premises. However, this is often reactionary and short term and does not allow for business growth or changes in customer demand.
For businesses with mobile workforces there is another way to reduce costs – and this involves optimisation of current resources with technology. With today’s advances in web based applications, investing in a business solution no longer means purchasing hardware, software and expensive support services. Solutions are now readily available that can be deployed in the field and accessed securely on the Internet without investing in costly infrastructure.
For a business with a mobile workforce, the costs that need close scrutiny are the driver’s time and vehicle routing and maintenance. While a professional operations manager can plan and oversee driver routes, vehicle running and maintenance, a computer can do a much better job of analysis and planning.
An example is route optimisation. A simple route from A to B can be easily planned. Add into that route several drop off points and immediately the number of routes becomes more complex. Factors such as different average speed, traffic congestion, access and roadworks and immediately fuel costs will fluctuate. Planning so many variations to optimise routes is a task that a computer programme is made to crunch through.
The average costs quoted for a driver and vehicle is £50,000 a year, a not insignificant amount
These arguments make even more sense when you quantify them with real figures. The average costs quoted for a driver and vehicle is £50,000 a year, a not insignificant amount. By utilising effective technologies to optimise route plans and eliminate unnecessary journeys a business could reduce these costs by 10-20%. This could equate to a saving of between £250k - £500k a year for a fleet of 50 vehicles or more. Definite food for thought.
Choosing the right technologies and provider
The figures easily support the case for why a business should adopt technology for its route optimisation and mobile workforce management tools – the second important decision is how to execute it.
Such has been the rapid innovations in the past few years that there are now many business applications available on the market that capture driver data, increase efficiencies and reduce costs. And many of these solutions are readily available, plug and play offerings.
Software available as a cloud based solution or software-as-a-service means that a business can benefit from the latest technologies, built-in security and the assurance that upgrades are automatically implemented. More users and increased storage capacity can be easily accommodated with no disruption to daily business and without big additional costs.
There are also two other important factors to consider. Choosing the right professional services partner is key to ensure that the technologies adopted are right for the business. This means selecting a first class provider with proven industry credentials that can provide responsive support both at start up and ongoing. A rapid start up minimises costs and ensures a fast return on the investment.
The second factor is to choose systems from one provider and on one platform. Selecting different solutions and supplier platforms can result in costly integration issues and difficulty in sharing data, reducing the ability to use important intelligence to optimise resources.
There is no doubt that the power and versatility of technologies available today, coupled with the ubiquity of fast Internet connectivity, means that organisations are now able to harness enterprise-grade solutions for managing their mobile resources. Businesses that choose to adopt these technologies can quickly reap the benefits of these developments by optimising their workforce and reducing costs.
Following a three step approach will ensure business success; by selecting a proven industry supplier, adopting a single platform for connected vehicle services and thirdly ensuring that the data is used for future planning as well as resource optimisation.