Real improvement is only possible when you invest in the solution…not simply fixing the immediate problem.

When you decide to invest in mobility, your mission is to get the most out of your investment — to maximize ROI. However, companies often hinder themselves in achieving this very goal by making a common mistake: focusing too nar­rowly on a single problem and missing the bigger picture.

For example, because employees aren’t getting to as many jobs per day as you’ve bench-marked, you identify the need to implement an optimized scheduling solution. Once this solution is in place, you realize your techs are getting to more customer sites — without the tools they need to accomplish the job. After going through one invest­ment and deployment cycle, you come to learn that the positive impact the scheduling solution had on your organization is negated by the fact that you also need an inventory management solu­tion. If you’d thought about the big picture from the beginning, you may have been able to find and implement a solution that solved both needs. Here are three steps that will help you make the right investment the first time.

1 Thoroughly Examine Your Field Inefficiencies
They say the truth hurts, and that can be true. But, without taking a cold, hard look at your field processes to determine where all the inefficiencies lie, you can’t make any real improvements. Your mobile workers can help you immensely with this step. They’re on the front lines, and they’ll be able to share valuable experiences with you. Taking the time to ride around with them and truly understand what they do each day, and how, will paint a picture for you of how you can use technology to improve their productivity.

2 Take Your Time Evaluating Mobile Technology
When you’re faced with an arguably urgent prob­lem, sometimes the last thing you feel like doing is taking your time finding a solution. But that’s just what you need to do. Rushing to solve the one problem you’re focused on can prevent you from finding a solution that will positively impact other areas of need that just aren’t as glaring. For instance, you might have an inventory issue and find a good solution. If you added signature cap­ture functionality to that solution, you could also shorten your billing cycle and glean a whole other avenue of benefit. In essence, don’t get tunnel vi­sion — think big picture.

3 Learn From Your Peers
There are companies every day benefiting from mobility and making mistakes during their deploy­ment — and you can learn from them. Each month, Field Technologies covers stories of companies fighting the same good fight that you are. Pay attention to these stories, and learn from the suc­cesses and mistakes. Ask your peers for advice, references, and lessons learned — leverage the knowledge of those who have gone before you.

Sarah Howland is editor in chief of Field Technologies magazine and Field Technologies Online, the premier resources for the optimi­zation of field workers, service and asset man­agement. For more information about Field Technologies magazine, click here.