A mobile workforce is a great asset to any field services company. However, managing a mobile workforce comes with its own set of challenges. Namely, it can be difficult to keep track of employees' whereabouts and to ensure that they are working when they are supposed to be. Fortunately, there is a solution: geofencing.
Here’s all you need to know about geofencing and how it can solve common problems associated with the field workforce.
What Is Geofencing?
Geofencing is a feature in modern GPS tracking apps that allows administrators to set up virtual boundaries around specific geographical areas. When an employee's GPS tracker enters (or leaves) one of these boundaries, the app sends a notification to the administrator (job status update) and the customer (ETA alerts).
This way, you can always know exactly where your field technicians are and whether or not they are at the correct service location. Not only does this help with managing employee productivity, but it can also help prevent things like time theft, buddy punching, and other timesheet fraud.
7 Common Mobile Workforce Problems and How Geofencing Solves Them
Field service businesses don’t realize how much they rely on their field service technicians until their performance affects customer satisfaction. A missed appointment here, a buddy punching there — as your field service business starts to outgrow your outdated, manual tools, and it is natural to have some of these common mobile workforce problems. Here’s how geofencing can help solve those problems and make your field service business run more smoothly.
1. Employee Productivity
One of the most common issues managers face with a mobile workforce is ensuring that employees are actually working when they are supposed to. You can set up a virtual boundary around your job sites with geofencing.
Then, when an employee's GPS tracker enters (or leaves) the job site, you will get a notification. This way, you can always know exactly where your employees are and whether or not they would clock in/out for their shift on time. Not only does this help with managing employee productivity, but it also helps to prevent things like time theft and time clock fraud.
2. Scheduling Conflicts
Coordinating the schedules of field service technicians is a considerable challenge. Geocapture and geolocation can help solve this problem by capturing the real-time location of the field workforce and displaying it in the scheduling calendar.
What’s more, approved time-off requests of field technicians will be displayed on the dispatch board. This way, you can always know exactly where your employees are, how close they are to the following service location, and whether or not they are available for work on a particular day.
3. Stacks of Paper
If your field workers still use paper timesheets, geofencing can help you move to a paperless system. With geofencing in time tracking apps like Zuper, all data (location, time on site, etc.) is collected electronically and automatically shared with stakeholders.
This means that your technicians don't have to waste time chasing down paper timesheets or traveling all the way to your office just to punch in for the day. Geofencing technology can help you save time and reduce paperwork.
4. Time Management Issues
Accurately calculating the working hours of a field service technician is hard without technology. With geofencing, you can track an employee's clock-in and clock-out hours and even capture the time when they entered and exited the virtual geofence around the geotagged service location.
Field service management (FSM) software like Zuper also allows employees to take breaks between jobs and track actual productive hours. This will help field service businesses create accurate estimates and competitive job bids.
5. Traffic Congestion
Another common issue that many field workers face is traffic congestion during their commute times. AI-powered mobile apps can help technicians avoid traffic hot spots by choosing alternative routes before starting their journey.
The route optimization feature in Zuper mobile app offers in-depth insights about congestion levels in specific areas—service technicians can pick the shortest or quickest routes accordingly and avoid wasting time sitting in traffic jams.
6. Communication Issues
It can be difficult to stay in touch with employees who are constantly on the move. Keeping everyone on the same page about a technician’s location and ETA is difficult in a manual environment. However, geofencing captures the real-time location of service technicians and displays it on the field service software map module.
Back-office staff can easily retrieve this information and keep their customers informed. Best of all, field service businesses can proactively share real-time job status updates with their customers using the geofencing feature. Geofence alerts can trigger an automated ETA alert to the customer whenever the service technician approaches or crosses a geofence.
7. Safety Concerns
The safety of their field employees is the top concern of most field service businesses. For instance, let’s take a look at one of the essential services, snow plowing. Geofencing and GPS tracking can be essential tools for ensuring the safety of snow-plowing workers.
Geofencing can help dispatchers track employees’ real-time location and quickly identify any potential problems. For example, if an employee doesn’t reach the geofence on time and their real-time location cannot be fetched, dispatchers can immediately raise the alarm and ensure that the situation is resolved safely. Even if your field service technician’s mobile battery runs out, administrators can still access their location history and determine an appropriate location.
Geofencing is a powerful tool with many applications for solving everyday problems faced by mobile workers today. It offers a lot of potential benefits for businesses with field service workers. From improving customer satisfaction with real-time location tracking to increasing accountability and reducing wasted time, geofencing offers many benefits for field service businesses.
If you're struggling with these issues, consider implementing a field service solution like Zuper. When choosing a field service management software solution for your organization, consider your specific needs and select a solution that offers the features and functionality, like geofencing that will help you take your business to the next level.