How On Time Ambulance “Instills a Culture of Safety” Using StreetEagle

How On Time Ambulance “instills a culture of safety” using StreetEagle

A longstanding customer of ours, On Time Ambulance, has just posted an informative and enthusiastic blog entry describing how they’ve created a company-wide culture of safety within their organization, in part through the driver behavior data they collect using the StreetEagle Pro software platform.

InSight is honored to have On Time as a customer, and nothing makes us more excited than when we see organizations apply the data they are gathering through the system and leverage it to create efficiencies and boost company morale. On Time is a shining example of how driver behavior monitoring technology can be used to generate positive change, and motivate drivers to maintain optimum safety standards for the good of the entire organization.

In fact, On Time has been so successful with their own, home-grown driver safety program called “Silence is Golden” (a.k.a. “Tone it Down”) that in 2016 they received the 2016 OEMS Outstanding EMS Safety Award for the state of New Jersey. We congratulate On Time for this impressive achievement, and are honored to have been able to contribute to their admirable mission to “identify, improve upon, and strive to eliminate any unsafe driving whatsoever.”

On Time’s post includes a brief video that shows StreetEagle’s audible in-cab alerts in action, notifying drivers when they are violating company standards for speeding, hard braking and aggressive cornering. It’s gratifying to have played a small part in On Time’s success in making safety a company-wide priority, but it’s even more gratifying to know that On Time’s committed EMS crews, and their customers, will be the beneficiaries of the safest and most efficient level of service possible for a long time to come.

To learn more about how On Time has used StreetEagle to achieve remarkable improvements in company-wide driver safety performance, download their success story.

The Value of Mobility for Your Service Business

The Value of Mobility for Your Service Business

“When I think of mobility, I think of concepts and themes like engagement, empowerment, transparency, insights, and value. If these words don’t come to mind, I think you are missing out on the value of what mobile can mean for your service business.”

Those words are from Aly Pinder, who’s been researching and writing about field service and technology for many years with the Aberdeen Group. Pinder recently wrote an excellent article here about how embracing mobile technology has become a necessity for organizations with mobile workforces. He writes convincingly about how mobile technology isn’t about the latest gadgets or fears over security: it’s about providing outstanding customer experiences, and giving your mobile workers the tools they need to consistently deliver on service promises. A strategic vision for choosing, deploying and utilizing mobile technology will lead to critical benefits not just for your customers, but for your employees as well.

For more of Pinder’s knowledgeable perspective on the importance of mobile technology and its impact on field service, read the full article here

The In-Ambulance Hardware Needed to Manage Performance and Risk

The In-Ambulance Hardware Needed to Manage Performance and Risk

In EMS operations, drivers’ behavior has a significant impact on the safety of patients, passengers, and crew members—as well as their company’s operating costs, potential liabilities, and overall performance.

The ability to monitor driver behavior and provide feedback in real time can help to mitigate expenses and make safety a priority during every 911 or non-emergency trip. In this article, we’ll examine how StreetEagle’s in-vehicle hardware collects granular information about a driver’s behavior as it’s happening—and what supervisors can do with this data to establish a culture of safety and high performance.

Capture Granular Behavioral Data for Individual Drivers

The standard hardware in ambulances and other medical vehicles is an automatic vehicle location (AVL) black-box with WI-FI capabilities to provide location data. This helps EMS companies keep track of their vehicles, but an integrated driver behavior monitoring platform can do much more in terms of ensuring the safety of crews and passengers.

For maximum efficacy, monitoring tools allow management to track individual drivers—not just vehicles. With the StreetEagle platform, drivers log in to their vehicles using a unique key fob, making driver identification easy and efficient. EMS supervisors can then set up a customized dashboard and monitor KPIs for driver behavior in real time. In addition to location, StreetEagle technology tracks speed, heading, acceleration, hard braking and cornering.

The platform can connect to the OBDII port for engine status, as well as to the lights and sirens—so supervisors and back-office operators know whether a vehicle is en route to an emergency site or transporting a patient to a medical facility. This information is critical because it can explain any erratic movements or speeding above the posted limit, which may be unavoidable in an emergency.

Connecting these different components gives you a complete picture of performance—both historically and in real time. The ability to monitor this type of data with granular detail provides management with a clear understanding of behavior patterns and risks for individual drivers and fleet-wide.

Actively Address Risky Behavior With Instant Alerts and Driver Feedback

When drivers engage in risky behavior, supervisors receive real-time notifications via text message or e-mail. At the same time, StreetEagle also provides in-vehicle alerts if a driver violates braking, turning, or speeding policies. This ensures the driver is aware of the infraction as it’s happening, making it less likely for the driver to repeat that behavior in the future.

Any sort of driver behavior data—specifically violations or unsafe habits—can be relayed to the individual’s supervisor via an alert or on-screen notification. This improves visibility into field operations so that EMS companies can better understand and manage their risks and liabilities.

Monitor Long-Term Trends and Conduct Targeted Training or Coaching

Using StreetEagle to analyze individual and fleet-wide trends, upper management can meet with drivers about specific behavioral problems. For example, a supervisor can see if there was a consistent issue with a driver’s cornering or braking during the previous quarter, and address that subject directly with the driver, using the data to explain the problem and develop a solution.

EMS companies can conduct specialized training for drivers based on the specific challenges they are facing, and the trends in driver behavior data enable managers to accurately assess whether and how individual drivers are improving their performance. Over time, this helps the company develop a comprehensive driver safety program.

The Bottom Line: StreetEagle Supports Improved Performance and Reduced Risk

Establishing a culture of safety throughout an EMS operation begins in the field but extends through all parts of the organization. By collecting and tracking granular driver data with StreetEagle, you can train employees more effectively, reduce the likelihood of accidents, and support sustained performance improvement.

StreetEagle is truly an all-in-one solution. Everything collected on board medical vehicles is instantaneously transmitted to other systems on the back end. For example, StreetEagle can feed crew location and status information into a computer-aided dispatch system to enable dispatchers to pinpoint the vehicle best suited to respond to a new call. Integration with billing software helps ensure total accuracy in billable miles attributed to each trip. And that’s not all. StreetEagle provides maintenance management, mobile forms capabilities, and much more.

To find out how StreetEagle can help your company improve safety and performance, contact InSight Mobile Data today.

The Three Pillars of Driver Compliance

ELD, DVIR and IFTA: The Three Pillars of Driver Compliance

Drivers in construction, trucking and other regulated industries have to comply with many state and federal mandates—and their employers are increasingly accountable for any violations. This article examines three compliance issues that will be critical in 2017: electronic logbooks, vehicle inspection reports, and the international fuel tax agreement.

The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate

The new federal mandate requires companies operating vehicles of 10,000 pounds or more to use an ELD. These devices monitor two things which were previously tracked using pen and paper:

  1. Drivers’ hours of service (HOS), and
  2. Pre- and post-trip vehicle inspections

The federal government has given companies two years to comply with this mandate, which takes effect on January 1, 2017. By that time, companies need to have some kind of solution—whether it uses a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other device—that complies with federal regulations for tracking HOS and vehicle inspection reports.

The StreetEagle platform provides businesses with a complete solution for ELD compliance that can utilize employee- or company-owned phones or tablets. StreetEagle connects to the vehicle’s black box and can generate reports as required by federal regulations.

What’s unique about the StreetEagle electronic logbook is that it provides a single interface that is very simple for drivers to learn. Companies frequently struggle with ELD deployment because the interface is difficult to use—there are too many bells and whistles and not enough focus on making the core functions easy for users. StreetEagle provides a very intuitive way for companies to transition from paper logs to electronic logs. We believe this is essential in getting drivers to adopt the technology.

Drivers’ Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR)

StreetEagle also provides a solution for electronic DVIR, which is required under the ELD mandate. With StreetEagle, if a piece of equipment fails the driver’s inspection, an alert is sent to a supervisor when the DVIR is submitted. The entire maintenance scheduling process can be automated, enabling the company to fix the problem and get the vehicle back up and running without delay.

International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) Reporting

Companies have been complying with IFTA for a long time, but now they are faced with the challenge of implementing technology to automate compliance. The StreetEagle platform tracks mileage accumulated by state—automating a process that drivers have traditionally executed manually.

By coupling mileage information with fuel data being collected through a fuel card or onsite fueling system, companies can significantly streamline the process of IFTA compliance. At the end of each quarter, StreetEagle makes it easy to accurately determine the tax owed to each state based on mileage and fuel purchase data.

Companies in construction, utilities, and natural resources can also use StreetEagle to calculate off-road miles for fuel tax rebates. The system automatically tracks whether a vehicle is on a federal or state highway and captures fuel and mileage data. In addition, StreetEagle helps companies get tax rebates for fuel that was used for non-driving activities, such as operating a pump, drill, or bucket truck.

StreetEagle: Your Comprehensive Solution for Driver Compliance

Failure to ensure that your drivers are in compliance with these mandates can be costly. Your company could be subject to a disruptive audit if one of your vehicles is pulled over and violations are discovered because the driver wasn’t logging their hours, inspection reports, or fuel mileage correctly.

Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) scores are also affected by these types of violations. Because some companies require a certain score when they contract with driving companies, a business could find its customer base wiped out overnight by serious infractions.

StreetEagle is your flexible, all-in-one solution for ELD, DVIR, and IFTA compliance—as well as other vehicle and asset tracking functions, dispatch and routing, driver behavior monitoring, maintenance management, and more. Contact InSight Mobile Data to learn more about how this powerful platform can help improve your operations on the road and in the field.

Three Critical Steps Towards Improved EMS Driver Safety

Three Critical Steps Towards Improved EMS Driver Safety

Did you know that ambulances and other emergency response vehicles are 13 times more likely to be involved in an accident compared to other vehicles?

Driver safety and vehicle performance are key pain points for those who manage EMS operations because their crews are constantly responding to emergencies—which can necessitate speeding and other hazardous behaviors. While some risks are inevitable, there are opportunities to improve driver performance using tools such as behavior monitoring, alerts, scorecards, feedback and coaching.

By making driver safety a priority, EMS organizations can significantly improve service to patients and other passengers—and reduce costs related to accidents and vehicle maintenance.

3 Key Steps to Improving Driver Safety

  1. Monitoring Overall Driver Performance—Not Just Exceptions

Monitoring driver behavior is one of the most important components of a culture of safety in the EMS industry. However, many companies still only monitor exceptions or violations, without evaluating each driver’s overall performance. As a result, it is easy to miss warning signs that occur before a driver gets into an accident.

It’s much more important to monitor the overall behavior of your drivers, rather than only examining isolated incidents of unsafe driving. Likewise, you need to be able to understand the context in which violations occur. For example: was an ambulance driver speeding because the crew was rushing to the scene of a medical emergency?

Given the nature of EMS operations, having access to granular data about driver performance is essential.

  1. Addressing Unsafe Behavior With Individualized Coaching

When you have a total solution for driver behavior monitoring, you can institute driver evaluations and personalized coaching. This type of follow up is another critical part of achieving a safety culture in an EMS organization. You need to be able to coach drivers based on their behavior—not just fleet-wide metrics.

There are two requirements for effective coaching: comprehensive monitoring and individual driver identification. It’s impossible to maintain accountability if you can’t be certain who was driving a vehicle at the time of an incident. You also need granular performance data. It isn’t enough to know that a vehicle was speeding or took a turn too fast. You need to know how much the driver was speeding compared to the posted limit, or how hard the turn was taken.

  1. Reinforcing Safety Guidelines With Real-Time Alerts and Feedback

Once you’ve established effective behavior monitoring and started coaching your drivers, you’ve laid the foundation for a culture of safety—but the work isn’t done. Changing human behavior requires ongoing reinforcement. In an EMS environment, this is best achieved by providing real-time feedback to drivers.

For example, imagine that one of your drivers is approaching an intersection too fast and has to stop suddenly. If you follow up a week later and say “you braked too harshly on May fifth at three o’ clock”—the driver probably isn’t even going to remember the incident clearly unless it was a major event (i.e., an accident or “close call”). Hearing this feedback detached from the actual behavior won’t leave much of an impression—or lead to safer decisions in the future.

You should be able to provide an immediate response to the driver, when the incident is fresh. Imagine the same situation—a driver brakes harshly—but this time immediate feedback is sent to the driver through a buzzer system in the vehicle. Alerting them on the spot ensures that the driver associates the feedback with the behavior—and the aversive stimulus of the buzzer will stick in their mind. The next time that driver is approaching a similar situation they will instinctively try to avoid hearing the buzzer by slowing down gradually.

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Using These Three Best Practices to Build a Safety Culture

Once you have these three pillars in place, your organization will be positioned to make significant improvements in driver safety and overall performance. However, there will still be a long road ahead.

In addition to providing immediate feedback to drivers through a buzzer system, management should also be alerted when serious infractions or warning signs occur. If Driver A in Vehicle 419 just took a sharp turn at high speed with no emergency-related explanation, you want a supervisor to be alerted at that precise moment in time, so he can follow up with the driver as soon as possible.

Over the long term, you’ll need some type of business intelligence software to examine the data and glean actionable information about your risks. Tools like individual driver scorecards, fleet-wide reports, and real-time dashboards help to manage that process.

Applying gamification to your safety program is also a good way to engage your drivers on these issues. Creating a friendly competition between drivers, crews, or branches can help keep safety at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Simple rewards like a free lunch—or even compensation based on performance—will give drivers extra motivation to improve their metrics and make safety a priority throughout the entire organization.

Monitor, Analyze, and Improve EMS Driver Safety With StreetEagle

With the StreetEagle platform from InSight Mobile Data, EMS companies can leverage robust driver behavior monitoring and reporting tools to support a culture of safety.

StreetEagle is sophisticated in its capabilities, yet extremely easy to use. Complex challenges like individual driver identification are accomplished through simple solutions, such as allowing drivers to automatically log in and out of vehicles with a key fob or door monitor.

This all-in-one platform offers a wide range of additional capabilities for EMS organizations, including dynamic dispatch and routing, maintenance management, in-cab Wi-Fi access, and easy integration with existing systems such as CAD, AVL, and billing.

Contact InSight Mobile Data to learn more about how StreetEagle can help your company improve accountability and overall performance in EMS operations.

The Best Tools for Monitoring and Preventing Aggressive Driving

The Best Tools for Monitoring and Preventing Aggressive Driving

Aggressive, unsafe, and wasteful driving behavior by workers operating company vehicles can be extremely costly to mobile-based businesses. These costs range from expensive vehicle repairs and maintenance to soaring insurance premiums – and even to lawsuits stemming from careless and reckless driver behavior.

InSight Mobile Data Sales Manager Lex Abbott discusses the costs and risks associated with aggressive driving—and what fleet managers can do about it.

The Most Wasteful Driving Behaviors

There are two specific driving behaviors that are especially costly for mobile-based businesses:

  • Aggressive accelerating, braking, and cornering
  • Excessive idling

These behaviors are extremely fuel-inefficient. With today’s gas prices, this cost is a major concern for many mobile-based businesses.

But wasted fuel isn’t the only way these driver behaviors cost mobile-based businesses money. Aggressive driving, including cornering, braking, and accelerating, can also lead to unnecessary wear and tear on your fleet of vehicles, which results in expensive vehicle repairs and maintenance well before they might otherwise have been necessary.

These risky driving behaviors are also potentially dangerous, and can lead to injuries (even fatalities) and higher insurance rates for your business. In a worst-case scenario, you might even be unable to obtain insurance from traditional carriers and be forced to buy very expensive coverage from high-risk insurers.

Remember that your company is legally liable for your mobile employees’ actions whenever they are driving your vehicles—not only when they are performing their jobs, but also after hours. Any damage or injuries they cause are your company’s responsibility. You could be sued if an employee’s dangerous driving leads to an accident.

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Spotting and Addressing the Problem

In order to curb aggressive and wasteful driving behaviors, you first have to be aware of them. The best way to gain that awareness is to implement a mobile resource management solution with driver behavior monitoring capability.

These solutions offer a high of level visibility into driver behavior by providing comprehensive data and allowing you to monitor driver behavior in real time. You can then easily identify aggressive and wasteful driving practices and address them with drivers proactively, rather than waiting for more serious problems to develop or accidents to occur.

Some solutions offer in-cabin, real-time alerts to drivers when they corner, brake, or accelerate too hard. With this increased accountability, many drivers will naturally self-correct, thereby reducing waste and risk. Vehicle maintenance data can also be integrated with driver monitoring to pinpoint which drivers may be putting excessive wear and tear on vehicles and contributing to unnecessary repair and maintenance expenses.

A mobile workforce management solution should also provide custom reports that enable you to drill down into the driving behavior of individual drivers and rate them according to their performance. Many mobile-based companies rank drivers according to the number and severity of their unsafe driving occurrences, and then compare scores among drivers to identify the best drivers and worst offenders. This practice allows them to set a threshold for acceptable driving behavior, and creates an incentive to improve.

Driver, Instead of Vehicle, Identification

It’s important to realize that some mobile resource management solutions only monitor the activity of your vehicles. If multiple drivers share the same vehicles, these systems do not distinguish between multiple drivers’ behavior and performance.

You should choose a mobile resource management solution with driver identification capability that can capture data as a driver switches vehicles, rather than tracking only vehicle data. A driver ID system will utilize either a key fob or door monitoring to allow your drivers to log in and out of vehicles.

When you evaluate possible mobile workforce management solutions for your company, be sure to ask whether they include driver identification and tracking. Implementing this type of solution is the best way to spot wasteful and dangerous driving behaviors such as aggressive cornering, braking and accelerating, and excessive idling—and address them with your drivers before more serious problems develop.

Construction Focus: Using Mobile Applications to Improve Asset Tracking and Utilization

Construction Focus: Using Mobile Applications to Improve Asset Tracking and Utilization

Construction projects require a large number of assets to be mobilized, deployed, and managed at the job site. This includes pickup trucks and other light vehicles, “yellow iron” assets like bulldozers, excavators, compressors, light towers—and all of the resources required to support them.

Keeping track of construction equipment and vehicles at job sites is a persistent challenge, because assets are always moving and the industry has yet to see widespread implementation of sophisticated digital tools. Paper forms and conventional “dots-on-a-map” GPS tracking solutions have always left gaps in the intelligence required to manage a construction site efficiently.

However, rapid growth in the adoption and capabilities of mobile devices is helping to close those gaps by providing an effective way to capture and analyze real-time data covering location, status, availability, and maintenance conditions for all construction assets.

Tracking Construction Equipment Is a Complex Many-to-One Relationship

At any given time, a company could have thousands of assets moving between job sites without any real-time accountability. To find out where a piece of equipment is and what it has been doing, a supervisor might have to make five phone calls or wait for a paper report to hit their desk at the end of the week—and hope that the information they’re getting is accurate.

Typical GPS tracking solutions can show where an asset is at the moment, but fail to answer critical questions about utilization and performance. If a bulldozer needs to be deployed to three separate sites on the same day, the crews waiting for the asset need more than simple location data. They need a complete picture, including:

  • Status: If the asset is still at the previous job site, is it ready to move or still in use?
  • Condition: Is it ready to perform the next job and when will it need maintenance?

Meanwhile, management needs to be able to continuously review how assets are being utilized in the field. If the equipment is sitting behind a garage most of the day or delivering sub-optimal performance due to unaddressed maintenance issues, these inefficiencies will quickly eat away at the company’s profit margin.

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Real-Time Intelligence for Job Costing and Resource Management

Construction projects generally require upfront estimation of costs so companies can submit accurate bids—and there’s never much wiggle room once the contract is signed. This means successful companies have to monitor their expenses carefully throughout the process.

On the job site, there is ample supervision: because the foreman is standing there, he can see what is happening and document it. However, he can’t capture the time a driver left a plant with a hot mix of asphalt, or track the truck’s route to the job site, or record exactly how long he waited until actually dispensing the mix into the paver. All of this detail has to be estimated and compiled later—leading to inaccuracy and inflated costs.

Mobile technology can document that information digitally, either with automated data capture or easy-to-use manual applications. This enables the organization to analyze the whole life cycle of the project and all the activities with associated costs.

Digitizing Workflows and Streamlining Operations

In the commercial marketplace, tracking time and location data for mobile resources is still a relatively young technology. InSight Mobile Data has been in the business since GPS was first introduced for commercial use in the late 90s—and we’ve experienced the development and the evolution of the technology far beyond its original capabilities.

Today it’s easy to put a dot on the map where a truck or bulldozer is located—but this doesn’t tell you everything you need to know. By tracking equipment utilization and performance data in addition to location, StreetEagle provides the complete intelligence that construction companies need to achieve efficiency and accountability at the job site.

At InSight, we understand that every successful company has its own “secret sauce”—and we don’t want to mess with the recipe. The StreetEagle platform is built on flexible applications that can be customized to mirror your company’s existing processes and paper forms. By digitizing your workflows and enhancing them with easy-to-use mobile tools, we make the transition as seamless as possible and help your organization start operating more efficiently right away.

Contact us to learn more about how StreetEagle can give you a strategic edge on your next project.

 

Vehicle Tracking Isn’t Enough: The Importance of Driver Identification

Vehicle Tracking Isn’t Enough: The Importance of Driver Identification

When an organization realizes some of their mobile employees have been engaging in reckless, wasteful driving behavior, what is their best course of action? Such behavior can lead to all kinds of problems:

  • Soaring insurance premiums
  • Expensive vehicle repairs
  • Constant vehicle maintenance

Because these companies are legally liable for employees’ actions whenever they are driving company vehicles, they can also face lawsuits stemming from careless and unsafe driver behavior. Companies are especially vulnerable if they fail to identify problem drivers ahead of time and take proactive action.

InSight Mobile Data Director of Product Development Chris Eller explains how individual driver behavior monitoring tools help fleet managers reduce costs and risks.

Real-Time Data: An Important First Step

Given the potential fallout, fleet managers must have complete visibility into the behavior and performance of their drivers when they are operating company vehicles. This visibility enables managers to identify inefficient and risky practices such as:

  • Hard braking
  • Aggressive accelerating and cornering
  • Excessive idling
  • Using company vehicles for personal reasons

A mobile resource-management solution provides your fleet managers with comprehensive, real-time data. With this level of information about driver behavior and performance, managers can identify and address wasteful and reckless practices before accidents occur.

Driver Tracking Is Critical

It’s important to realize that not all mobile resource-management solutions provide the ability to monitor the behavior of individual drivers. Some systems only monitor the activity of the vehicles, not drivers. In fact, the industry standard for mobile resource-management solutions is vehicle tracking, not driver tracking.

The problem with that approach is that multiple drivers often share the same vehicles. It’s impossible for fleet managers to monitor the behavior and performance of individual drivers with a system limited to vehicle tracking only. The following scenario illustrates why this can be a big problem:

The fleet manager for one appliance service-and-repair company has a fleet of 12 trucks and 15 drivers. He notices that the tires and brake pads on two trucks are being replaced about twice as often as those on other trucks. While the company keeps a schedule of who drives which vehicle, the drivers often trade shifts and vehicles without noting their changes on the schedule. As a result, the fleet manager cannot determine with certainty which drivers are responsible for wearing out the tires and brakes prematurely.

The problem gets worse. Soon the company receives a complaint from a woman who claims that one of their drivers harassed her on the road—first tailgating her and then passing her on the right before suddenly swerving in front of her, almost causing an accident. When the fleet manager confronts the driver assigned to the vehicle, the driver says he wasn’t driving at that time. The company is neither able to definitively identify the menacing driver nor the drivers causing premature wear and tear on its two vehicles.

Driver ID Systems Yield Positive Outcomes

The solution to this problem? Rather than tracking only vehicle data, choose a mobile resource-management solution with driver ID capabilities that follow your drivers from vehicle to vehicle.

In these systems, individual driver history is integrated with maintenance data. Fleet managers can quickly pinpoint which drivers are putting undue wear and tear on their vehicles. They can then take swift, corrective action with the specific drivers causing the problems. Should the need arise, this solution can also identify which drivers engage in illegal or harassing behavior.

How does a driver identification system enable this proactive response? The system:

  • Utilizes a key fob or door monitor, allowing drivers to automatically log in and out of vehicles
  • Serves as a convenient time clock for drivers to log in and out.
  • Provides drivers with in-cabin, real-time alerts to indicate hard braking, accelerating, and cornering
  • Empowers drivers to self-correct, transforming negative behaviors into positive ones
  • Keeps drivers accountable, allowing managers to keep your conversations with them positive
  • Reduces overall waste and the chance of accidents

Remember, most mobile resource-management solutions track data by vehicle, not by driver. When you’re ready to evaluate solutions for your company, be sure to ask whether they include driver identification and tracking. If they don’t, keep looking for one that does.

Digitize Your Paper Forms with Ease

Digitize Your Paper Forms with Ease

The use of paper forms in the mobile work environment has many disadvantages for all parties. Workers themselves must deal with the inefficiency and frustration of relying on incomplete or inaccurate data, which negatively impacts their job performance. As a result, customers have to endure longer waits or lower service quality. All of this reflects poorly on the employer—putting business relationships and revenue at risk.

Growing awareness of the advantages of electronic documents and workflows is pushing more companies toward incorporating digital forms into their standard operating procedures. The underlying technology for creating digital forms on mobile devices is now well established—providing workers in the field with accurate, efficient communication and recordkeeping tools.

However, for companies that have always done business on paper the transition to digital forms raises many questions. In this article, we’ll focus on three critical issues:

  1. How do you make it easy for workers to transition to digital forms?
  2. What’s the best way to organize and manage digital forms?
  3. How do you maximize ROI in terms of increased efficiency and accountability?

StreetEagle’s app enables workers to create, share, and manage digital forms on a wide range of mobile devices.

 

Find out why going paperless has never been easier or more affordable in this short video.

 

Make it Easy for Workers: Replicate the Forms They’re Already Using

Deploying digital forms is easy for businesses in a world of smartphones, apps, and mobile data. But the transition can still be challenging for workers if they have to adapt to new forms and processes.

The best way to make the digital rollout simple and smooth is to create exact replicas of the papers that workers are accustomed to using—including any custom forms. If the new digital forms have the same fields and layout as the old paper documents, confusion is kept to a minimum. All you have to do is train workers on any new devices, applications, or processes – but NOT on new forms.

Best Practices: Organizing Custom Digital Forms

The next major challenge is organization. While digital storage is far more secure and efficient than physical filing cabinets, it’s still easy to lose track of critical documents if you don’t have a structured system for organizing your files.

If you have five workers filling out five forms a day, you’ll have thousands of new digital forms in your system within a few months. So, once your forms are digitized, what do you do with them? How do you capture the efficiencies of digitization while ensuring that you can quickly find and access the right form when you need it?

You need a total solution for creating, storing, and managing your digital forms. Once a form is complete, you should be able to associate the document with the worker who filled it out, the location where it was completed, and any relevant vehicle, asset, job number, or work order. This enables you to efficiently search for and find specific forms even when you don’t have all the details at hand.

 

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Maximize the Benefits: Back-Office Integration and Strategic Insight

Digital forms increase the quality and speed of the data moving through your organization. Rather than waiting for a document to land on their desk, your back-office staff can react in near-real time to events happening in the field.

For example, if a maintenance worker arrives at a job site and discovers that a particular part needs to be ordered or a specialist needs to be dispatched, they can submit a pertinent request to their office on the spot. This saves time and ensures the fastest possible resolution for the customer.

With the right hardware and software tools, workers can also capture images, signatures, and time and location information. Data can even be fed directly into back-office systems like Quickbooks, Salesforce, MySQL, SharePoint and more. These capabilities help ensure accuracy and accountability in all operations.

StreetEagle: The All-in-One Solution for Creating and Managing Custom Digital Forms

The StreetEagle platform from InSight Mobile Data offers the most advanced and easy-to-use mobile forms creation tool on the market. In addition to creating exact replicas of your existing forms, StreetEagle gives you a structured way to store and search your archive of digital documents.

By eliminating inefficient and insecure paper forms and manual data entry, StreetEagle provides the efficiency and real-time accountability that you need to achieve maximum performance in the modern mobile work environment.

Contact InSight Mobile Data to learn more about this powerful all-in-one platform.

Using Technology to Increase Driver Accountability

Using Technology to Increase Driver Accountability

Without observing them firsthand, it’s hard to know what undesirable behaviors your mobile workers might be exhibiting. These could include:

  • Bad driving habits that waste fuel, accelerate wear and tear on your vehicles, or cause accidents that result in lawsuits and higher insurance premiums
  • Carelessness that results in the loss or theft of mobile equipment and assets in the field
  • Bad decision-making and poor judgment that result in unnecessary overtime and poor customer service, both of which cost your company

These risks dictate the need to keep your mobile workers accountable. You need to know whether your workers are where they’re supposed to be, when they’re supposed to be there, and doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Without being there yourself, that’s hard to do.

InSight Mobile Data Regional Sales Manager Chris Schiraldi discusses the value of real-time monitoring and accountability for mobile workers.

Using Technology to Keep Tabs

The good news is that technology solutions are making it easier for companies with a mobile workforce to monitor their mobile workers. In particular, GPS tracking and mobile resource management solutions enable companies to keep tabs on where their mobile workers are at all times, as well as whether they are actually doing the work they’re being paid to do.

Without a mobile resource management solution, you only have two options for monitoring the accountability of your mobile workers:

  1. Rely on their honesty in telling you where they are and what they’re doing, or
  2. Assign a foreman or manager to follow your workers around to make sure they are doing their jobs efficiently and not wasting time or company resources.

Both of these options have obvious limitations. While business owners and managers would like to believe that their employees are honest all of the time, most realize that this probably isn’t the case. And having high-paid managers shadow mobile workers in the field is an inefficient use of time that would be better spent managing projects or helping land new customers.

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Implementing technology to hold mobile workers accountable is clearly a better approach. A mobile resource management solution enables you to measure and monitor the specific activity of each worker in the field—not just the activity of the vehicles they’re driving.

This type of monitoring is accomplished using both hardware and software solutions. For instance, the system can tell you whether a worker got out of a vehicle at a specific location (as indicated by doors opening and closing at coordinates tracked by GPS), while time stamps record how long the vehicle remained at that location. This information makes it easier to evaluate whether an employee was working efficiently.

Finally, job accounting can be streamlined through real-time fleet activity data integration. When the amount of time that each vehicle and driver spend on a job site is automatically fed into the job accounting function, it gives companies proof of service for customers who might request it, along with an accurate picture of how much time was spent on the job site. The results are increased employee accountability and more accurate accounting and billing.

When searching for the right provider of a mobile resource management solution, it’s important to ask detailed questions about integration capability and willingness. Some providers lack the capacity to integrate their systems with their customers’ back office, while others simply aren’t willing to help their customers accomplish the integration. Still others charge extra for it.

It’s also important to choose a provider that offers a high level of technical support and proactive and responsive customer service for integration. Integration training and support are critical for ensuring that you are implementing and using your mobile resource management system’s capabilities in the most productive way.

If you are currently working with a system provider that is unable or unwilling to integrate your fleet data with your back office—or one that wants to charge you extra for this kind of support—you should start looking for another provider. Ask probing questions to determine the provider’s integration capabilities and its commitment to helping you with the back-end integration process. Picking the right provider will ensure that you maximize the benefits of your mobile resource management solution.

What About Big Brother?

One objection some companies have to using mobile workforce management solutions to monitor the accountability of their mobile workers is that employees might feel like Big Brother spying on them. The reality is that more and more mobile-based businesses today are using some kind of technology solution to keep tabs on their mobile workers. Most mobile workers today expect this kind of monitoring from their employer.

Importantly, when companies use a mobile resource management solution to enforce the accountability of their mobile workers, bad employee behavior tends to self-correct. When mobile workers know they are being monitored, they are much more likely to do what they’re supposed to do.

Choosing the Right Solution Provider

Technology to hold employees accountable is only helpful when used properly. When searching for the right provider of a mobile resource management solution, look for a provider that will be proactive in working with you to implement the technology effectively.

Be sure to ask solution providers how they are going to help you monitor the data the system provides. Only with full training, implementation and integration with your back-office systems will you be able to reduce the wide array of risks associated with a mobile workforce.