Technology is key to successful mobile workforce management

Date: 09th Feb 2018

The government is gearing up to launch a £12bn tender for cleaning and FM services at schools, hospitals and in other public buildings, in the wake of Carillion's collapse, and as part of their aim to give a third of public sector workers to SMEs by 2020. SMEs within the FM sector will hugely benefit from using remote workforce management software when it comes to tendering to win more of these public sector contracts.

Delivering a site-based facilities contract is costly and managing hundreds of remote workers on multiple sites can be a huge challenge. Mobile workforce management technology has been largely embraced by the UK FM sector as an essential aspect of business processes. Administration tasks such as payroll, budgeting, staff scheduling and analytics are all made less cumbersome by understanding where staff are, and for how long they are there. Inevitable client questions about the timing of their cleanings can be easily answered as clients benefit from real-time analytics which provides vital contract compliance verification.

The digital work world that we live in has meant that the facilities management environment has become highly competitive. With decreasing margins, FM service providers have had to adapt their proposition to deliver enhanced efficiencies as clients seek suppliers that offer better value for money, digital innovations and accurate management information and analytics. The evolving demands of customers continue to motivate FM providers to evaluate, adapt and improve their proposition to meet new procurement criteria which has become a more complex model centred around ‘value’.

Progression in technology is the driver of innovation that is facilitating a shift for contractors. The prevalence of new, cloud-based technologies such as workforce management software has made it significantly easier for FM service providers to manage teams of staff across multiple sites remotely whilst providing cost savings and adding to the bottom line. Smartphone and mobile technology are delivering added value and more and more in-app communication tools are becoming available for mobile workforces to log completed tasks. This means that contract compliance checks can happen in real-time, remotely. Knowledge is power.

The bigger FM providers employ large numbers of site-based workers – sometimes thousands of remote working staff. Nowadays they have a need to provide proof of service provision to their own clients. There is a need for attendance verification and actual evidence of time spent at a client’s premises providing contracted services. The sector is also under increasing pressure to provide accountability for,and safeguard remote workers. This, coupled with tighter service level agreements, means that ensuring that staff are on-site, as planned, is critical. Modern time and attendance technology enable operations managers to verify attendance, and eliminates the need for paper timesheets thereby streamlining payroll reporting. A massive reduction in the administrative burden of paper timesheets can result in substantial savings in payroll processing including the elimination of time sheet fraud, reduction in payroll overpayments, discrepancies, disputes and time spent on supervision.

Exciting IoT (Internet of Things) technological innovations, from smartwatches and other wearable technology to GPS-enabled shoes, will allow the concept of ‘Smart Facilities Management’ to become the standard. FM service providers using this workforce management technology will drive the sector forward by streamlining processes, encouraging higher levels of productivity and boosting long-term profitability in a way that most aggressive lowest bid/cost-cutting strategies simply can’t match.

Having full, real-time visibility of staff attendance and punctuality is key. Time and attendance data can be captured using either a landline/mobile telephone or another workforce monitoring device. The data is then sent in real-time, so Managers can get a clear picture of what staff are where, and when, receive immediate alerts for late arrivals, no-shows and early leavers and act fast to minimise service disruption.

Remote worker technology helps with many health and safety and compliance issues; Working Time Directive compliance, ensuring remote workers are kept safe and evidence that Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are being met.

An integrated Workforce Management System will include scheduling, payroll and invoice reporting so that employees can be allocated, pay rates assigned and payroll extracts can be produced. Seamless integration with existing rostering and payroll systems means that tailored reports can be created quickly and easily. The technology significantly reduces the potential for fraud and time-keeping disputes as it enables Payroll Managers to compare actual hours worked against planned hours, therefore significantly reducing the chance of over-payments.

The cleaning and FM environment has become highly competitive. Decreasing margins has meant that service providers have had to adapt their proposition to deliver enhanced efficiencies as clients seek cleaning contractors that offer better value for money, innovative technology developments and accurate management information and analytics. The evolving demands of customers continue to motivate cleaning providers to evaluate, adapt and improve their proposition to meet new procurement criteria.

Ezitracker has an unrivalled track record in helping FM companies cut costs, improve operational efficiency, increase tender bid success rate, accurately measure contract profitability, and deliver a real competitive advantage. For more information on how to remotely transform the management of your workforce and demonstrate real quantifiable results for winning public sector contracts, visit www.ezitracker.com

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