How Companies Use Mobile Apps to Track Labor Costs

By katie simpson on May 9, 2014

Whether you have two or two hundred employees, your business relies on their work for success. Passionate, motivated team players can be the difference between a company surviving and a company that’s thriving. With remote or mobile workers, it can be difficult to know which employees are carrying their weight and which ones aren’t. Mobile apps can help you track your labor costs in a few important ways. 

Photo credit: Marcin Wichary via photopin cc 

Time Cards

For oil and gas, manufacturing, as well as construction industries, time cards are crucial for tracking not only employee time worked but also labor costs for projects. For decades, the most effective way to track these was with time cards. Ensuring accurate time cards, however, can be incredibly difficult. If someone arrives late to a worksite, for instance, site managers have to retrieve the paper form from their truck or office, note the employee’s arrival time, and return the paper form. 

The need to note a late employee’s arrival cuts into the workflow of the day. For many managers, it’s easier to estimate when someone arrived on site than it is to report in real time on paper. 

Estimates can also lead to further problems with employees. Some may complain that they aren’t being paid enough and should be paid more. Suddenly, you have to double check hours worked before sending checks. While time cards try to make tracking labor easy, they actually create extra hurdles for businesses.

Mobile apps make time cards easy. Open the mobile app on your smartphone or tablet. The app can have the time automatically entered. Even better, the company gets the information in real time, submitted to the office. This accuracy leads to fewer issues over checks. Mobile time cards help businesses with hourly workers spend less on tracking employees and more on their actual work. 

Tracking Sales Meetings

Many companies have salespeople who are on the road for days or weeks at a time, meeting with potential customers. You may have a few of these folks in your business, or you may have hundreds of them all across the United States, or the world. Tracking these meetings, and understanding how they go, along with other related details, is vital to success.

On paper, this process is a huge time suck and hassle. The information can take days or weeks to return to regional or national offices. Even with this information, companies rely on sales employees to provide proof of the meetings. Often it comes down to an employee’s word that they met with a potential customer at all.

Tracking sales meetings via paper can work if you’re able to follow up each day with a couple employees but why not track meetings more accurately?

With mobile apps, it’s much easier to track these types of sales efforts. Salespeople can easily type in the information they wrote down previously, but also include validation. Time and date stamps can be automatically included every time the mobile app is opened.

In addition, the salespeople can record their location not by writing the address, but with a GPS location capture. Not only does this make it easier for your salespeople, but also gives your office extra validation on these forms. These fields cannot be manipulated by the salespeople.

Whether in Milwaukee or Melbourne, when these forms are collected on smartphones and tablets you get the information not in days, but in real time. Once the form is submitted, it’s immediately available in the cloud. Going mobile has made gathering sales meeting information easier, consolidated to one database, and also more reliable for tracking and reporting. 

Understanding Work Orders, Understanding Productivity

For field workers in the service industry, productive employees generate more revenue for a business. Tracking how many jobs each employee does in a week can be cumbersome and time consuming with paper work orders. They can also be hard to read, inconsistently returned to the office, and impossible to get in real time. For an HVAC business owner, paper forms make it time consuming to know which employees are productive and which ones aren’t.

Mobile work orders create a system that’s reliable, accurate, and accessible in real time. HVAC companies use time and date stamps to show an accurate timing of when the job occurred. Some will also ask for a GPS location to prove that the technician was at the site.

Another feature helping field workers is a light dispatch. The office can send technicians the information on their appointments for the day as pre-populated work orders. So Joe will get a notification on his phone showing a pre-populated work order. It will give him the address, the time he needs to be there, as well as the issue the customer has. With pop-up notifications, the office can be sure he gets the information, unlike a voicemail or email.

On top of clearer communication, this dispatch can also track the progress of Joe’s work. It can show when he opened the dispatch, started filling out the work order, and when it was completed. Now the office can be sure that Joe gets the information, and know when the job is done, all in real time.

Mobile apps enable this kind of data to be stored in the cloud, eliminating the need for manual data entry (and errors associated with this) and filing cabinets to store old paper forms. In addition, the office accesses these forms in real time. Thus, employers can know how productive technicians are that day, rather than a week or two weeks after the fact. 

Ensuring Quality Inspections

Photo credit: pasukaru76 via photopin cc

One large organization working with GoCanvas does quality control inspections across the United States. Depending on the site, inspections must occur on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. With paper forms, some employees filled out the forms without visiting the sites. This organization needed a system to assure that these sites were inspected and kept safe.

Mobile apps allow this company to ensure quality inspections throughout the country. They use time and date stamps as well as GPS location to validate that inspections occurred at the appropriate site as well as correct time and date. This organization also uses photo capture to report any issues. Not only do photos help with communicating problems, but also give visual proof of any issues.

Creating a system of accountability doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive. Mobile apps help companies in a variety of industries do this while streamlining their current processes. This helps companies hold their employees accountable, while also saving time and money.

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