High-performing teams are leveraging mobile technology to maximise efficiency and productivity

Zebra Technologies recently surveyed leading field operations teams to find out how their organisations are adopting mobile technology to respond to market and technological trends.

Sixty per cent of survey participants agreed that their field operations strategies are ‘mobile-first,’ an indication that they are aware of how adopting mobile technology can improve their teams’ performance. This ‘mobile-first’ group is transforming field operations in three ways

1.Scaling mobile technology and support technologies enterprise-wide

Mobile-first organisations recognise the efficiencies mobile technology can offer their teams. Take ruggedised tablets for example.

As the majority of utility work happens outside of the office, often forcing technicians to complete time-critical workflows while on foot or amidst extreme working conditions, critical data and real-time communications must be accessible at all times to minimise asset downtime and maximise productivity. Zebra’s new L10 series XPAD rugged tablets are designed specifically to meet these challenging environmental conditions.

The XPAD rugged tablets feature a large screen, making it easy to visualise multiple datasets at the same time. The devices are also extremely rugged – from the inside out – and are built to endure drops to concrete, water and dirt. Furthermore, XPAD rugged tablets support both Android and Windows operating systems.

They are also ATEX certified as an ‘Intrinsically Safe’ device for use in hazardous environments. Rugged tablets make it easy to read detailed equipment schematics, delivery orders or task checklists and keep workflows moving in a wide range of environmental work conditions, giving utility teams a performance edge to power through tasks.

These mobile devices help individual workers perform at a higher level, providing opportunities to achieve economies of scale. Businesses are now scaling mobile technology enterprise-wide and boosting both efficiency and the accuracy of inventory, repair and maintenance procedures, merchandising and last-mile delivery.

2. Evaluating the total cost of ownership (TCO) of mobile technology as a standard practice

A key driver of productivity, efficiency and cost-savings in field operations is ensuring ruggedised enterprise devices replace traditional consumer ones. Overall, field operations decision makers believe in the value of conducting a TCO analysis of enterprise devices. Nearly 80 per cent of respondents usually or always conduct a TCO analysis of business devices prior to making a capital expenditure.

One of the key considerations mobile-first teams consider when evaluating the TCO of mobile technology is device breakage/repair. The harsh working environments in the utility sector creates significant potential for device damage: there is a greater risk that something could fall or spill on the mobile device, that the device could be dropped during handling or that it will be exposed to outdoor hazards, such as rain or snow.

Additionally, rugged tablets are proven to be more reliable than non-rugged devices in field environments and can reduce disruptions to routine operations in the field. These factors should all be considered when choosing the right enterprise devices for your business, which is achieved by performing a TCO analysis.

3. Utilising emerging field operations technologies

Some organisations are also early adopters of emerging field operations technologies such as augmented reality that can enhance the efficiency of detailed workflows. Other technologies that remain popular include RFID and blockchain to boost efficiency and data granularity in tracking goods and their chains of custody.

Moreover, in just a few years, 5G wireless technology will enable concurrent high-speed Big Data processing in the cloud and edge computing in the Internet of Things. Greater computational capability will power machine learning algorithms in applications developed to drive the creation of more specialised high-performance workflows that save time and money.

Integrating mobility and emerging technologies can be transformative

In this connected world, organisations will have endless possibilities for transforming field operations with new mobility and edge tech driven workflows. Achieving better field operations performance is simply a matter of selecting the best combinations of mobile technology and software applications.

Discover how you can enable your front-line field teams to raise their performance and meet the challenges of today’s on-demand economy. Download Zebra’s new vision study here.

This partner content was brought to you by Zebra. For more information visit www.zebra.com

Siobhan Day is the Assistant Editor of Utility magazine and Pump Industry magazine, and has been part of the team since early 2019. With a background in management in the non-profit sector, Siobhan has extensive experience in communications, professional writing and client management. She holds a Bachelor of Business and Communications and is currently completing a postgraduate degree.

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