July 2013 | Sponsored | Knowledge Base

Mobility Solutions That Improve Field Productivity

Tags: Logistics I.T.

Keith Hendrickson is Managing Principal, Mobility, HP Enterprise Services, 800-566-9337

The freight and logistics industry is truly a mobile world. People, products, and packages are constantly on the move from one location to another, and employees are increasingly using smartphones in their daily lives—with all the benefits of continuous, high-bandwidth connectivity, stronger device capabilities, and more targeted applications.

So how can the industry take advantage of mobility trends and enhance field use opportunities within the mobility market? By implementing a business-to-employee (B2E) model that improves employee productivity through the use of mobile technology and applications. Freight and logistics operations stand to benefit from employees' broader use of mobility by creating new opportunities for increased business efficiencies and greater customer satisfaction.

Resource Management and Scheduling

Mobile workers can benefit greatly from enhanced employee productivity applications that facilitate two-way data transmissions to systems and applications at headquarters, turning raw data into timely, actionable information. Drivers need applications with high functionality and exceptional performance. The right mobility solutions can also combine several data inputs to communicate situations workers find in the field, enabling supervisors to make smarter decisions on how to address those situations.

Further, with reliable connectivity, companies can better manage resource availability and usage, accurately track employee timecards, update worker task lists to accommodate changing circumstances, make dynamic updates to dispatch schedules, and reroute vehicles and shipments as business conditions dictate. By optimizing the use of employee time, freight and logistics companies can dramatically transform the way they deliver services.

Enhanced Location-based Services

As the industry begins to widely employ value-added mobile sensor technologies, workers can be quickly redirected, capture better data when they arrive at their destinations, and receive up-to-the-minute guidance. Mobility can be used to provide vehicle identification data and geographic information system (GIS) coordinates, enabling field workers to immediately transmit data back to supervisors and specialists. Adding bar-code scanning and radio frequency identification (RFID) readers to devices provides even greater data accuracy.

Enterprise mobility application solutions can improve employee productivity by identifying the location of each truck (and even individual packages on those trucks). For example, this technology can locate assets in real time and immediately dispatch drivers to and from locations, identify drivers who can quickly and cost-effectively transport inventory, and provide turn-by-turn package delivery guidance. As a result, companies can expedite inventory transport with real-time location updates as new requests are received from customers.

Mobile Security

The rapid advancement in mobile technology enables freight and logistics companies to equip their workforces with a broad range of devices, such as notebooks, tablets, smartphones, and rugged terminals. Because these devices could be lost or stolen, companies need to create a security plan for applications that access sensitive enterprise, customer, or vehicle data.

Some companies are implementing bring your own device (BYOD) policies, finding it less disruptive to employees and less costly to enable secure access to corporate applications and resources from employees' devices of choice. Such BYOD policies must include measures to protect corporate data and checks to verify that information leaks and damage are controlled.

Other security measures involve geo-blocking and velocity-blocking technologies, which can block access to and prevent users from viewing Web sites and downloading applications and media based on such data as location or speed. This helps reduce injuries and liability associated with workers using mobile technology while driving. Geo-fencing, in turn, is the practice of limiting mobile employees to a specific geographic location by tracking their whereabouts via GPS technology to make sure employees who drive company vehicles don't break from their routes.

Develop a Comprehensive Mobility Business Strategy

Enabling enterprise mobility depends on delivering applications, content, and services in a scalable, secure, and reliable way. Successful implementation of enterprise mobility requires an end-to-end strategy that's equal to the task. HP defines a three-step approach to enabling enterprise mobility:

  1. Review, establish, and refine foundational policies
  2. Define the collaboration infrastructure for the organization
  3. Establish the architecture to support enterprise-class mobile applications

HP has extensive experience helping the freight and logistics industry implement mobility solutions that increase operational efficiency and employee productivity. To learn more about HP's freight and logistics solutions, visit www.hp.com/go/freightandlogistics.