Managing a Mobile Workforce

All managers and department heads will tell you the same thing, leading a workforce is hard work. Whether you’re leading a team of 20 people or heading up a specific project, there is a lot of organisation and planning involved, even before you get down to business when you have to keep a close eye on progress and those working on the campaign to make sure you get the best out of them. Management is, after all, about looking after people as well as the work.

However, managing a workforce which is working outside the main office is even more of a challenge because you have no way of keeping an eye on what they’re doing, how they’re doing it or how close they are to hitting their deadlines. That’s why so many businesses have started to incorporate modern workforce management systems into their workplace, helping managers, department heads and project managers stay on top of all tasks; and also helping mobile workers stay in touch.

By implementing this software into everyday processes, businesses can save both time and money in the long term. For instance, managers can automate and simplify the often long and drawn out tasks of scheduling and dispatching certain resources and personnel to the various tasks that are going on; as well as providing complete transparency in terms of management of the tasks, orders and timesheets that take up a large proportion of the working week when done manually.

Planning and forecasting often take up the largest amounts of a manager’s time each month. Having to sit down in meetings with other department heads and work out what to do for each client, and going through who is on holiday before allocating the month’s work, takes up time that you just don’t have, and quite often you’re guessing anyway or hoping that more work will come in. Using workforce management systems, however, you can actually forecast the demand for the month ahead so you can plan accurately using statistics rather than the “well it’s been OK for the last few months” approach.

Working out what resources you have available is always going to be difficult, especially if the paperwork you’re using is out of date. People working at the location with the equipment are in the best place to comment on whether the resource is needed or not and if it is going to be needed for longer than anticipated. Using the system, they can update their managers on how long they’re going to need the specific resource for so that they can allocate it elsewhere earlier than anticipated or if they will have to hire one because the two projects will overlap.

Scheduling is another real time consumer. Sitting down and working out what orders have come in, who is available to work, what resources are available and how long the project will take is all difficult – especially when you’re doing it using mental arithmetic on a piece of paper. Using the software, however, you can work out everything from the number of people available to start projects on certain days to how long it will take them to travel to an appointment with a customer or client.