6 Ways to Make Your 2021 Enterprise Mobility Program Field Worker-Centric

Taking a worker-centric approach to Enterprise Mobility and focusing on helping people work smarter can help companies improve productivity and employee satisfaction. Rethinking how your Enterprise Mobility program supports your field workforce is critical to keeping employees highly productive and engaged while keeping them safe. Here are six ways to make that happen.

1. Start with the Right Mobile Device Platform

Failing to equip field workers with intuitive, easy-to-use, reliable technology puts companies at risk of poor execution, loss of valuable employees, and poor customer experience.

Choosing technology that mobile workers are already comfortable with on their personal mobile devices can help improve productivity and simplify training. In the US, more than 95 percent of people aged 18 – 49 own smartphones. You can take advantage of that familiarity with mobile devices and applications by equipping your field technicians and other staff with enterprise-grade devices like the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK handhelds and tablets mobile devices using the Android operating system. These purpose-built, reliable devices offer a similar user experience to personal devices with additional productivity features like integrated barcode readers and touchscreens that work in the rain or with gloves and viewable in sunlight.

2. Work Smarter with Purpose-built Mobile Apps

Statistics say that 90 percent of the time people spend on their phones is spent on apps; maybe that’s why 194 billion mobile phone apps were downloaded in 2019 alone. The upside to prolific app use for companies is that your employees are already very familiar with mobile apps. Employers can leverage their workforce’s comfort level with apps by developing and deploying purpose-built apps designed for your business.  And if you have an existing enterprise application system that now needs to be updated to work on an Android-based handheld or tablets it’s possible to repurpose it. Using our Rapid Application Development (RAD) solution platform, Panasonic can quickly develop an updated mobile version.  This removes the need for a long-term disruption in your business. And as changes occur, updates are quick to implement and deploy to your devices with our RAD solution.   

3. Beyond Mobility: Take Advantage of the Technology

A mobile workforce needs a field-centric technology strategy that takes full advantage of the computing power, speed, connectivity, and storage options these next-generation mobile devices offer. It’s an important yet often overlooked component of digital transformation. Today, you can empower your mobile workforce to do more while connecting what’s happening in the field seamlessly to back-end business processes for real-time awareness and response throughout your business.

For example, field engineers can access complete customer histories, tap into repair information – think documentation, plans, schematics, and instructional videos – or use instant messaging platforms such as Slack or WeChat to collaborate with colleagues and product experts for assistance in real-time. Leading-edge companies are using augmented reality to provide real-time remote guidance to repair technicians. With smartglasses, techs can see an interactive demonstration of a repair job right in front of their eyes.

Voice-to-text dictation and cameras can increase field productivity and broaden onsite data capture, particularly when combined with paperless forms and signature capture. Onboard storage options enable data capture in remote locations or areas like basements with limited connectivity. When executed as part of digital transformation, you can enable a seamless workflow from office to field and back again.

Real-time awareness of the status of work in the field, combined with GPS-based location monitoring and external situational data, can feed into advanced scheduling software. This enables dispatchers to optimize the allocation of field resources in the face of unknown elements such as customer unpredictability, traffic, and even weather, to keep customers informed about when service people will arrive.

4. Exceed Expectations for Connectivity and Battery Life

Unreliable network connections and battery life issues persist as the two top problems that mobile workers experience, according to the latest State of Enterprise Mobility report from Panasonic partner B2M. Here’s where you can deliver a better experience than your field employees get with their personal devices. Our rugged devices are designed for exceptional cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity, and we partner with the leading wireless carriers and technology partners to ensure faster connections and broader coverage.

When you are replacing legacy technology, one significant worker-centric consideration is battery life. There’s no worse productivity hit than a device that dies before the end of a shift. Panasonic’s high-capacity, user-replaceable batteries are designed to go the distance — up to 16 hours with some devices, even with continuous data use — and come with a standard one-year warranty or three years of coverage with our Smart Battery Warranty program.

5. Address Personal Safety in the Age of Social Distancing

Even with the promise of business re-emergence, the “new normal” will continue to include social distancing and sanitization measures to help protect field workers for some time to come. For many organizations, that can mean instituting a 1:1 device-to-worker ratio to avoid potential contamination that can occur when sharing devices. The 1:1 approach can also reduce exposure by reducing the need for field workers to start their day by picking up handhelds at a central location.

When devices are shared, it’s good to know that Panasonic TOUGHBOOK laptops, handhelds and tablets have been tested to withstand a number of common disinfectant solutions. Plus, they offer glove-touch functionality to help reduce cross-contamination.

6. Realize Benefits on Both Sides of the Equation

Investing in a well-planned, end-to-end technology policy that is worker-centric can deliver big payoffs in improved productivity in the field and worker satisfaction from using technology that is already familiar to them. It can also help organizations ramp up in 2021 by extending digital transformation from the office to the field, a smart focus for companies looking for ways to innovate, recover, and grow.