MyMobileWorkers | The road to boosting business performance in the highways sector is digital
Graham Whistance, founder and MD of MyMobileWorkers, explains how software and mobile apps can help to improve the performance of businesses in the highways sector.
Between stringent regulations and competitive tendering processes, the highways sector can be a more demanding business environment to navigate than others. Businesses are being squeezed from multiple directions but are expected to continue delivering to the highest of standards at the most competitive prices.
Naturally, there are times when this means something gives and the performance, compliance or safety standards of a business can slip. But, while it may not be possible to entirely eliminate these pressures, there are tools available that can help businesses work through them more effectively.
Although the highways sector has not traditionally been the quickest to adopt new technologies – outside of the equipment needed to deliver jobs on-site – one of the solutions comes in the form of the relatively new breed of software and/or mobile apps for managing elements of a firm’s work or operations. Any business should be wary of taking on something because it is shiny and new, of course, or technology for technology’s sake, but, chosen well, digital tools do help highways businesses deliver more efficiently and to a higher standard.
In our experience
As a provider of mobile workforce management software (in short, software that allows you to enforce, track and optimise the jobs your mobile workforce carries out), MyMobileWorkers has first-hand experience of the impact that such tools can have. Among, we’ve seen time spent on admin reduced by up to 75%, invoicing time reduced by up to 10 days and paper eliminated altogether. Almost all of our clients also now report full compliance as a result of job processes being baked into our app for employees to follow when on-site.
But we wanted a broader view of the impact software and apps could have across the industry to see if platforms like ours were indeed generally worth investing in, or whether they are all tech and no trousers. Having commissioned a study to be independently carried out by 4media Group, we were surprised at not only just how significant an impact they could have, but just how low the adoption of digital technologies is in certain areas within the industry.
Adoption and problems
The research found that less than half (47%) use software for enforcing job processes, collecting and analysing data about the performance of their jobs and tracking the progress of jobs. It also found that spreadsheets and even paper-based approaches are still relatively widely used – by up to 27% and 8% of businesses, respectively, depending on for what purpose.
This lack of adoption perhaps explains some of the common problems reported by businesses in the sector. For example, only 20% of businesses say they get accurate job information back from workers all the time, only 18% say they can keep customers updated about the progress of jobs in real-time and over 80% find out about defects in their jobs two or more days after competing them, or when the customer tells them.
Info, time and updates
To give an idea of how the introduction of software can improve performance, consider that just over a quarter (26%) of highways businesses that enforce processes using software or even spreadsheets say they always receive accurate information from employees compared to 0% that don’t.
Similarly, businesses in the sector that track the progress of their jobs using software complete jobs in an average of 4.4 hours, compared to 5 hours for those that use spreadsheets or paper and 6.7 hours for those that use paper-based approaches alone. In short, having a better handle of the time it takes to complete jobs makes business better placed to reduce that time.
Just over a fifth (21%) of businesses that track the progress of their jobs using software are able to provide customer updates in real-time, almost double the number of those that don’t (11%). Those figures rise to 36% and 17%, respectively, for providing updates in real-time or within three hours.
Job faults and progress
The trend also extends to faults in jobs, with 80% of businesses that use software to enforce processes, track job progress and analyse job performance discovering any defects within 2 days, of delivering a job compared to 70% of those that are not. Meanwhile, only 17% of businesses that use software for all three areas take a week or longer to discover any defects, while that is the case for nearly a third (30%) of businesses that do not.
Finally, but still significantly, a not unreasonable 78% of highways businesses that don’t track job progress using software say they are fully confident that their customers are satisfied with the service provided. However, businesses that do track job progress using software, that figure rises to a unanimous 100%.
What is consistently shown here is both that software for managing one element or more of a highways firm’s work or operations can improve performance and that it can do in varied set of ways to an extent that can boost the bottom line across a business. Naturally, in the highways sector, government legislation and regulation play a big role in business performance, but software and app technologies give businesses an opportunity to take control of performance gain a competitive advantage.
You can download Driving Change: The Impact of Technology in the Highways Sector and find out more about the services MyMobileWorkers provides on its website.