While mobile solutions can potentially increase the efficiency of field workers drastically and save big money for companies across the industrial spectrum, their implementation is filled with pitfalls.
Industry veteran Mikael Nilebacke, Managing Director of Erisma Technologies gives his best advice on how to succeed.
Mobile solutions in the form of software for PDAs and smartphones have an enormous potential to improve efficiency and save big money for companies that rely on time-consuming paper-based solutions. Industries such as fire safety, security, electrical, telecom, data, energy, power, construction, logistics, and heating/ventilation/cooling have much to gain by adapting modern mobile business solutions for their work forces.
However, the transition from traditional manual or paper-based solutions to advanced mobile solutions can be difficult and can leave the company with an inadequate or non-functioning solution. Mobile business solutions expert Mikael Nilebacke, CEO of Erisma Technologies shares his top ten recommendations on the successful implementation of mobile solutions.
1. Conduct a needs analysis
A needs analysis will help the company identify the specific functions required in their mobile solutions. After prioritising the functions that are really useful, decisions have to be made on who will use the system and how much the system may cost. Skipping this step will turn the advantage over to the supplier who may create needs that do not really exist.
2. Engage and involve employees in the process
Engaging and involving the staff in the process of implementing a mobile system at an early stage helps the company utilise their competence, experience and knowledge, and will also motivate employees to implement the system/solution and understand all benefits.
3. Carefully choose a system and a supplier
A standardised system is preferable over a customised system. Given the rapid development of mobile technology, the standardised system is more future-proof and flexible than the customised system. Choose a supplier that is of ‘the right size’: not small enough to risk ending up with a system that will disappear or cease to be updated, and not too big for the supplier to lose interest after the sale is completed.
4. Contact all the references that can be found
When contacting a reference provided by the supplier, the company should try and learn from how they use the system and think about ways their organisation can benefit from this knowledge. The company should also find at least three references on their own, minimising the risk of spending time and money on the wrong system.
5. Keep the option to cancel the order
Not all suppliers have sufficient knowledge and experience to deliver and implement their systems correctly. Try to negotiate an evaluation period with the option to cancel the order should one discover that the system is not right for their organisation in terms of not being able to deliver on problem solving, or meeting the specified requirements.
6. Listen to the supplier
It is important to listen to the supplier once they are chosen. The company should convey their specific requirements for the mobile solution and get good advice and feedback from the supplier.
7. One step at a time
Avoid trying to do everything at once. Running several projects simultaneously will increase the complexity and can lead to devastating consequences. Instead, create a plan with a chain of smaller activities that can be finished one at a time before starting the next.
8. Do not cut back on the wrong things
Do not try to cut back on consultation or education - and be generous when setting a deadline. Be prepared to adjust the deadline along the way if the specifications have been changed. Always try to assign the most suitable person to a specific task.
9. Realise that a mobile system won’t solve all problems
A mobile system will in most cases, help one gain more control over the organisation and save heaps of time and money. But a mobile system is not the solution to all the problems.
10. Plan for the future
Invest in a solution that can grow along with the company. Given the fast-changing world and an unpredictable future, it may be necessary for some things to be changed within the company. This makes it crucial to choose a flexible system for the company. Avoid customised systems as much and as long as possible.