Mobile Technologies are the New Foundations to Build On

Technology has made some drastic changes to the world that we live in over the last decade. Mobile devices have transformed our lives, giving us the power of information right at our fingertips.

Suzie Holycross

When you’re on vacation with your family and you’re lost. Are you more inclined to walk around and ask for directions or pull up Google maps on your phone?

When the air conditioning in your family’s home cuts off, do you pull out your phone book and look for an HVAC service to call or reach over to the coffee table, grab your tablet and ask for a recommendation on social media? 

Technology has made some drastic changes to the world that we live in over the last decade. Mobile devices have transformed our lives, giving us the power of information right at our fingertips.

In this same way, however, it has completely shaken up the way business is conducted. Not only has the internet empowered the consumer, but it has also given new powers to vendors. Equipped with smartphones, tablets and an arsenal of applications and software to interpret loads of data, business processes are becoming more and more tech savvy every day.

The Heavy Building Materials (HBM) industry is one of the largest industries in the world. Despite the room for growth, many organizations are struggling. Some of the contributing factors are a shortage of skilled workers, weak productivity growth and material wastes.

Technology enthusiasts have pointed out that a lack of automation and resistance to the adoption of new technology are two primary reasons for the industry’s poor performance. HBM is one of the least digitized industries worldwide, failing to significantly increase worker productivity for decades.

It's time to break away from outdated practices in the industry. Contractors, suppliers, haulers and producers of concrete, asphalt, cement, aggregate and other heavy building materials can benefit greatly by automating business processes with supply chain trading partners.

The “mobile era” is in full swing, but how can mobile processes be a game changer for HBM organizations? Here are a few things to consider:

Let’s compare the power of mobile solutions to a household name that most of us probably know and love – Amazon. Just like how goods can be ordered through Amazon, mobile applications allow orders to be placed electronically, providing the consumer with information on pricing before pickup is scheduled. Another benefit of the Amazon Effect is the option of free 2-day shipping and updated tracking information on the order. Mobile technology provides real-time visibility in to the status of orders, giving consumers a peace of mind and instilling a sense of trust in the supplier. In an industry where timing can be detrimental to a job, it’s important to have transparency in delivery. Gone are the days of playing guessing games when it comes to the status of an order.

An opportunity to increase revenue and customer satisfaction is providing electronic proof of delivery. A solution like this provides real-time visibility of driver and materials location, proof of delivery data and operational updates. Having updated information allows you to proactively manage issues in the field. For example, if a driver has an accident, protocols can be automatically and immediately triggered, improving outcomes related to employee safety, insurance reporting and legal notifications.

Paper forms are time-consuming to fill out, leading to inconsistencies in the data captured by individual drivers as well as readability of their handwriting. They also do not provide a means to enforce the collection of mandatory data. Housing information electronically in one place, where it can easily be accessed makes it much easier to view order information and access historical data.

Fleet Telematics creates electronic timecards for drivers to better monitor hours of service (HoS), manage driver behavior, GPS fleet tracking, remote diagnostics, idle monitoring and ELD compliance. Operators can take advantage of these system capabilities to change driver behavior, improve productivity and better understand real-time vehicle performance. Robust functionality for electronic driver logs and reporting on HoS compliance increases workforce productivity and reduces or eliminates excess paperwork and processing times.

Something more to consider when implementing mobile technology – easy integration. One reservation that companies have when adopting new technology is the inconvenience that comes with integration. Mobile applications can be easily integrated with many systems that your organization currently uses for payroll, accounting and supply chain management.

An increasingly mobile workforce needs to adopt mobile solutions to boost productivity and avoid the risk of losing competitive ground. The losses associated with wasted hours, misplaced assets or the time spent manually entering time cards can become virtually nonexistent. For many companies, the difference between success and failure comes down to rightly managing a mobile workforce and the assets needed to complete the job at hand.