Further InSight (Blog)

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.