Every so often, a new technology emerges that radically changes the productivity landscape.
The assembly line, telephone, fax machine and the Internet all played their part. The smartphone is the latest and the applications for business are only just getting started.
While businesses use smartphones for communication, the trend is what’s American bizgeeks call Mobile Process Improvement (MPI).
Research shows MPI spending in the U.S. will double by 2015 and reach $4 billion in 2017. Here are some ways businesses are leveraging MPI:
1. Field Employee Management
Over 45% of businesses in the U.S. have some remote employees—those not at a specific work site at all hours of the day. One challenge is limited accountability since their whereabouts can’t be monitored at all times. Tardiness, time theft, and a general lack of information as to where employees are can be an enormous and debilitating business issue. The solution is tying field forces together into a huge mobile grid supported by the employees’ own smartphones. Apps can be programmed to only allow field workers to clock in when they are at the actual job site.
2. Inspection Improvement
A security company in Boston found that too much of its resources were being wasted busting teenagers and troublemakers who were just skateboarding in front of one of their buildings. These people posed no real harm to the company, so they built an App that allowed the camera to differentiate between harmless intruders and malicious ones, saving the company the need to react with extreme force to relatively benign situations—in this case a single guard needing to respond rather than the whole cavalry. Over the course of 3 years, the company saved over $20 million.
3. Inventory Management
Companies with inventory can now QR codes directly onto the boxes on their shelves and track inventory on employee smartphones. With MPI, employees can simply walk down the warehouse aisles and scan items. Best of all, it is impossible to have miscounts, whether they are based on human error or a thieving employee trying to cover their tracks!
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