How GPS Tracking Devices Can Improve Staff Productivity
For companies whose staff are routinely working in the field, or need to attend customers' premises, then the answer to questions such as: "How can my workforce become more effective?" can, to a degree, be answered through the productivity and efficiency gains of knowing where your people are located at any given time, and how long they have spent on site for each particular task.
This information can not only help you to react quickly to changing circumstances (e.g. who is the nearest engineer to a given location), but also provide valuable insight into the length of time a particular job is taking. Is a particular engineer on site for long enough to complete work to the required standard? Conversely, are staff completing a job effectively, but in less time than you are allocating as standard? If so, then perhaps you can update your planning assumptions, or reward individual staff who are clearly more effective than their peers.
Today, obtaining this information is no longer the preserve of the innovative business - GPS tracking devices are available for a range of applications, and the cost of a managed service is down to a few pennies per day per unit. GPS tracking is now a commodity whose benefit far outweighs the costs involved.
A secondary benefit that users are discovering is that staff who are aware that their location can be seen by their employer become more productive, and even their driving habits improve once they realise that their driving speed can be monitored as well, even if they just have a hand-held personal tracking device.
Where a GPS tracking device is fitted to a company vehicle, then as well as the efficiency benefits noted above, the presence of the tracking device can save fleet running costs in a number of ways, for example through deterring inappropriate use. A typical comment from a business owner is as follows:
It (GPS vehicle tracking) results in cost savings and deters against out'of'hours use. Our operatives are aware that we know the speeds at which they travel, affording us a significant reduction in our annual operational costs. To summarise, the types of GPS tracking device that are suitable for workforce tracking applications include;
Small personal tracking units that can be carried or worn without inconvenience. These often have a limited capability to make voice calls - generally to just a handful of pre-programmed numbers. The capability to make calls to a limited set of numbers can provide an alternative to issuing staff with mobile phones so that they can contact the office, as well as eliminating the temptation to use the a phone for personal calls. Dedicated tracking application software that can be installed onto a mobile phone with GPS capability or a similar Blackberry device which enables the phone to work with the GPS tracking service in the same way as a dedicated tracking unit.
GPS Vehicle Tracking devices that are attached to a business vehicle and can then continually update the vehicle's location.
Typically GPS location information is sent back to a central system over GPRS, and the business can access the data in a variety of ways, from simply seeing the device positions overlaid onto a map, through to having data automatically integrated with enterprise operational support systems.