Four Ways Mobile Forms Benefit Small Businesses

With a customizable mobile forms solution, businesses are able to generate more accurate data from the field while also making it possible for technicians to provide better service to more customer per shift. If your own field service technicians are still shuffling paper, digital forms can make your operation more competitive and profitable.

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FOUR WAYS MOBILE FORMS BENEFIT SMALL BUSINESSES 2THINK WIRELESS • 1-855-998-4465 • • Digital transformation is a popular buzzword these days – companies are increasingly turning manual processes into digital activities in an effort to capture more data about their businesses, while saving time and money. For field technicians, the shift from manual, paper-based processes to digital form and workflows can have a tremendous impact on efficiency and labor costs. Paperwork is a productivity killer that can bog down the entire field service process. Using paper work orders and forms makes technicians less efficient, because they have to spend valuable time filling out forms, keeping them organized, and returning them to the depot or home office. Paper also makes back-end work order completion, inventory, and billing processes much slower, which affects customer service and cash cycles. Key entering hand written data requires hours of unnecessary labor and can introduce errors in the data. Storing physical documents is expensive, and retrieving those documents later if a customer or manager needs to review the files is labor intensive and time consuming. By transitioning to a mobile forms solution that converts existing documents into digital ones, field service organizations can save money and improve efficiency. The benefits of mobile forms are realized in four critical areas of service operations. FOUR CRITICAL AREAS OF SERVICE OPERATIONS 3THINK WIRELESS • 1-855-998-4465 • • STREAMLINE PROCESSES Using mobile computers and digital forms creates a connected work environment for field technicians that makes communication faster and easier, and eliminates non-value-added administrative activities from their work day. By removing paper, field technicians are more efficient. Their work vehicles aren’t cluttered with stacks of work orders, invoices, and requisition orders. The technicians don’t have to manually keep track of the paperwork, and there is less risk of an important document being lost. In some field service organizations, it can take several days to as long as a week for paperwork to make its way from a job site to the depot or main office. Companies with large, widely dispersed field operation may not see technicians every day. They may be dispatched directly from their homes, and only report in to the office once a week or a few times a month. Paper forms are either hand delivered, or have to sent via mail or courier. Using digital forms not only eliminates the need for technicians to manage physical documents (mailing them, or making special trips to the office just to drop them off), but also gets the information from the work order into the back-office systems much faster. Without the need to key enter the data on the forms, companies can also eliminate several hours of administrative labor per week. Instead, they can fill out all the required documents right on a rugged mobile tablet, and submit information in real time. They can also accept customer signatures on the device, accept payments, and quickly set up new client accounts or generate quotes for additional services. For example, Zebra offers a number of rugged tablets that are ideal for mobile form applications and provide real-time connectivity to enterprise software solutions. The Zebra ET55 offers LTE wireless capability in an IP65-rated design that can withstand the rigors of field use. The XSLATE R12 provides a larger display and a Bluetooth-connected keyboard for more applications that have more intensive data entry requirements. 4THINK WIRELESS • 1-855-998-4465 • • REDUCE ERRORS AND DOUBLE ENTRY In a paper-based environment, companies have to maintain a labor-intensive data entry operation. As documents arrive from the field, staff have to manually ken enter the information into accounting, work order management, and other business systems – in some cases, multiple times. By having technicians fill out digital forms in the field, the data can be sent directly into the back-office systems with no double entry, and with a greater degree of accuracy. Mobile forms include features like checkboxes, drop-down menus, geo-stamped locations, calculations, date/ time prefilled fields, and signature capture to help reduce errors. Mobile tablets include bar code scanners, which can further eliminate data entry. Technicians can even append photos, videos and notations to the documents. The mobile forms can also be designed to restrict response options using drop-down menus, and can eliminate missed fields by requiring responses and guiding technicians through the workflow. Using digital forms also eliminates potential errors generated by damaged paperwork or sloppy handwriting. The reduction in errors can be significant – paper forms are 50% more likely to contain errors than electronic ones. Consider the potential ramifications of those errors on your customer service and billing accuracy. In addition, digital workflows can be created so that completed documents are automatically distributed to all the correct recipients and business systems at once. This further helps eliminate document processing errors. 5THINK WIRELESS • 1-855-998-4465 • • INCREASED PROFITABILITY Digital documents can help field service organizations accelerate their billing cycles. Mobile forms can be integrated with most back-end accounting and business systems, providing full automation for work order management and billing processes. Invoices can be processed with fewer errors and issued to customers more quickly than is possible with paper-based processes (which can take days or weeks to complete). That means cash flow can be accelerated as well. Using digital forms also makes it easier to create reports and analytics – the data is immediately available. With real-time data, field service organizations can more quickly identify and respond to service issues, identify customer trends, and spot potential business opportunities. Digital forms are also easier to distribute, which eliminates human error that can result in lost invoices or other documents. The Paperless Project estimated that large organizations lose a document every 12 seconds; for a small or mid-sized field service companies, a lost or misfiled invoice can have a big affect on cash flow. With digital documents, it’s easy to verify that customers and managers have received their documents. SAVE MONEY U.S. businesses waste as much as $8 billion annually managing paper, and according to some estimates it costs an average of $20 to file a document, $120 to find a misplaced document, and $220 to reproduce a lost document. Digital forms can eliminate these expenses, along with the cost of printing and purchasing paper documents, distributing them to the field, and having them returned. Paper documents also have to be stored, in some cases for several years for tax purposes or because of regulatory compliance requirements. Those files eat up valuable space in company offices, or can result in the use of costly, off-site document storage facilities. The paper documents are susceptible to damage (if a basement storage facility is flooded, for example), and can easily be lost or mis-filed. Digital documents eliminate physical storage, further reducing cost and clearing space in the office that can repurposed for more value- added activities. ABOUT ZEBRA TECHNOLOGIES With the unparalleled visibility Zebra provides, enterprises become as smart and connected as the world we live in. Real-time information – gleaned from visionary solutions including hardware, software and services – gives organizations the competitive edge they need to simplify operations, know more about their businesses and customers, and empower their mobile workers to succeed in today’s data-centric world. For more information, visit CONCLUSION Reliance on paper documents can hamper field service productivity, introduce errors into business data, and create unnecessary administrative costs through duplicate data entry. Using mobile forms on a rugged tablet device can help field service organizations improve technician efficiency (by eliminating paper-handling processes), improve accuracy, eliminate administrative costs in the back office, and speed up the billing cycle. With a customizable mobile forms solution, businesses are able to generate more accurate data from the field while also making it possible for technicians to provide better service to more customer per shift. If your own field service technicians are still shuffling paper, digital forms can make your operation more competitive and profitable. FRESH THINKING! At Think Wireless Solutions we don’t sell one specific solution. We offer a variety of solutions because we understand every business is unique, and business has unique needs. Custom builds are our favorite type of solution. They are tailored to your requirements and are generally not able to be completely fulfilled by one provider. With great client service and building a solution that makes our clients’ businesses better, gives our clients two important reasons to maintain long lasting loyal business relationships with us. As a licensed reseller of many different providers, Think Wireless Solutions is able to be as diverse as we need to be, while not limited to the providers we are partnered with. Our team has more than 68 years of combined experience in the cellular industry. None of our clients are under contract. Our goal is to win your business by leveraging our knowledge and experience. Our commitment is to keep your business with exceptional service and unmatched value.
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