- Features | March 11, 2014
Boost Productivity with Smartphones
Mobile devices are a key to profits for today’s businesses. We are all aware that minutes are the underlying success or failure to any business. Converting even a small amount of minutes per day per worker from lost time to productivity will increase the bottom line.
If a business has a 10-worker crew on a job and each crew member is capable of converting 15 minutes of their day from nonproductive time to productive time, the increase in profitability is immense.
The cost of this nonproduction to a business for a 10-worker crew for the lost 15 minutes (equaling a total of two and a half hours for the crew), at a cost of $32 per hour per worker, is an increase of $80 for that fifteen minutes. Being able to convert this time to production allows for an increase in profitability. The same 10-worker crew, being billed out at $60 per hour can then turn a loss of $80 for those fifteen minutes to a profit of $150. If this happens in a five-day work week, it is an increase of $750 per week; $39,000 per year for one 10-worker crew.
One of the most versatile tools that almost every business has available from the management staff to the newest apprentice is a smartphone. This device, when used properly, is able to save every person time. Smartphones can increase communication while reducing interruptions, improve accuracy of communication and documentation, and streamline the transfer of information without the loss of travel time.
Staying Out of the Office
Some of the ways businesses are able to utilize smartphones are by keeping people in the field and not in the office. Having lead people use their smartphone or tablets to get documents to the office instead of delivering paperwork by hand helps tremendously. There are several applications available for download where users can take pictures of receipts, sales orders, packing slips, material orders, timesheets, and vacation requests. These high-resolution images can then be converted to PDF files and sent either through an e-mail or to cloud storage. If something needs to be fabricated at the shop, a worker on a jobsite can draw it up, take a picture of the plans, and have them e-mailed into the office.
Every time the field staff stops by the office, not only are they losing production time for themselves and whomever is traveling with them, but also the office staff they need to speak to as well as anyone they stop to chat with along the way. The possible cost to a company by having someone come to the office versus using their smartphone to send documents is extensive. For example, having a lead worker with another person travel to the office is $120 (two man hours). Add in truck fuel of $10, 30 minutes at the office for $60, 15 minutes of administrative time for $12, and 15 minutes for conversing with others for $50 (possibly more) totals out at $252 for one document to be delivered to the office. In the same instance, if a smartphone is used instead, the time is five minutes for a total cost of $3.
Smartphones also eliminate miscommunication and interruptions by corresponding through text and/ or e-mail. Utilizing e-mail for work orders, contact information, instructions, driving directions, and even for service manuals is an important aspect all businesses should partake in.
As a person in management, there is nothing more distracting than being in the middle of a project when the phone rings. Then you have to stop what you are doing and listen to the problem while taking notes. When you finally hang up, it’s a struggle to remember what you were doing and where you were before you were interrupted. For field staff, it is even worse. They could be standing on a ladder or hanging a pipe, and the project manager could call. This would require them to stop what they are doing and get down from the ladder just to answer the phone. It also probably requires a crew of people working alongside them to