As new ways of flexible working permeate our lives, workforce management and tracking tools are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Here, we’ll discuss the relative merits of managing a sales force with mobile tracking technology. It has been reported that only 45% of staff now work from their company’s core office most of the time, the mobile tracking toolbox is evolving to reflect the 21st century workplace – wherever it may be.
Thanks to the emergence of tablets and mobile devices, providers have been able to extend core time and attendance systems to mobile sales teams. The bulk of activity has occurred in the past three years thanks to the proliferation of apps.
The GPS revolution
Many providers of mobile tracking solutions report that interest in this field has increased significantly in the past few years and looks to rise further into the future. In particular, there has been rising demand for time and attendance type features that harness the latest technology, including solutions that utilise global positioning system (GPS) devices for location information. There has further been interest for facial recognition technology for field-based sales teams and homeworkers.
According to some mobile tracking solution providers, these new technologies enable employers to reduce absenteeism, lower costs via automation, and increase productivity as a result of management having more flexibility. They also stress the benefits to employees. For instance, employees can access information easily, such as how much holiday entitlement they have left and how much overtime they have done, and they can book holidays and swap shifts with colleagues. Employees can do all this without going to line managers, HR or payroll, so it makes them feel empowered.
Such GPS-based technology is proving particularly popular with many organisations that send employees out to do a job, such as a sales force. If they issue company phones, employers can make it part of the employment contract to leave the phone on. However, there are plenty of employers who tread carefully before embarking on such mobile tracking solutions and rightly so. It’s imperative for organisations that do decide to implement this type of mobile tracking technology to apply a degree of flexibility to help the deliver services to customers and further appreciate that their employee value proposition is about trust and creating a suitable environment for wellbeing.
Striking the right balance
In light of this, it is important to highlight that organisations needs to strike the right balance when monitoring their sales teams and employees in general. While GPS mobile tracking can be a useful tool in those organisations where the emphasis is on monitoring time put in as opposed to outputs, there is always a risk it can impede the whole employer/employee relationship to a transaction.
Biometrics such as facial or fingerprint recognition help tackle such perceived issues simply because comparatively little use is actually being made of them for the sole purpose of monitoring mobile sales teams or remote workers. Fingerprint biometric technology would be more reliable and is increasingly becoming more cost-effective as technological solutions evolve.
Video conferencing, which is increasingly being used to make a visual connection with mobile sales teams and remote workers via software like FaceTime, WebEx and Skype. If mobiles prove to be too small, laptops can be used instead. Additionally, because some systems have to be booked for set periods, it can have the added advantage of preventing meetings from dragging on.
The rise of Robosapiens
A few innovative small companies are now considering using Robosapiens – a highly mobile form of video conferencing that can walk around the room with you. Such companies want to ensure that its small team, based within its corporate head office have access to instant visual contact with the company’s field based sales team, often travelling from client to client, across the various territories. These companies believe that the nature of their business requires instant feedback, and this technology can provide video conferencing at the touch of a button. They believe it’s important to actually see their sales teams, as culture is very important to a small business, and as their team grows they all need to feel integrated and empowered.
Other high-tech devices capable of assisting and monitoring flexible and mobile workers will doubtless also gain momentum in due course, such as those biometric terminals supplied and serviced by SecurAX. Up and coming technology firms expect to see a lot more activity around wearable devices, such as wristbands and smart-watches. However, these may prove double-edged instruments if used in the wrong way.
Monitoring time and attendance data for a mobile sales force and all employees across the board can have its uses (for payroll and making sure employees are safe in risky situations, for example), but the issue of trust looms large over the more intrusive tools that are currently available for organisations looking to track their remote workers. Currently, many companies are comfortable adopting biometric technology and harmonising it with GPS, into an integrated workforce management tool, such as solutions provided by SecurAX.
SecurAX supports the workforce management needs of over 250,000 employees across 8 countries. SecurAX’s suite of biometric attendance and access control systems is a rapidly deployed, SaaS-based cloud-led solution, which minimises a company’s risk and technology investment while providing advanced features for securely managing data and effectively tracking your field based sales force.
The biometric solutions and mobile tracking technologies that SecurAX offer will alleviate the worries that you may have of installing and maintaining an expensive IT infrastructure. Our extensive distribution network helps organisations use our products to reduce labour expenses and improve decision making. Give us a call today and find out how our biometric and mobile tracking solutions can help transform your business in an ever changing world.