Mobile technology is consuming a large amount of attention these days with software companies developing apps for all sorts of business needs. The truth is that mobility is applicable in almost any industry with field workers that need to be managed more effectively and managers that need to keep closer control over their dispersed workforce’s activities.

Werner le Roux, MD of Flux, an award-winning specialist digital solutions provider, says mobile technology is not about doing your entire job on a mobile device, but using mobile technologies to improve productivity and control.

“Even in the welding industry, or in companies that use welders in their service offerings, mobility can make a significant difference in delivery,” says Le Roux. “Specifically, there are five areas where the benefits of mobility are measurable.”

The first is in governance and compliance. When specific jobs need to be certified and signed off by certain people, the welder can call the certifier to the site as soon as he is finished and the job can be signed-off on the mobile device. Moreover, the mobile device can contain a checklist for the certifier to ensure everything is done to specifications – a list the welder can also use to ensure the job is done correctly.

Health and safety
In the health and safety environment, mobility also makes a difference in that a mobile device can ensure that personnel are equipped with the correct safety gear. A safety officer can also do a site safety inspection on a mobile and any discrepancies can be immediately relayed to the appropriate people via cellular networks.

Production and operations
In the operations field, mobility can be used to assist welders in meeting their quotas. For example, if a welder runs out of fuel or there’s a power outage, work stops and the project falls behind schedule. With a mobile device, problems can be noted immediately and the appropriate people can take corrective action.

Asset management
Every working day starts with the welder collecting equipment. Using a mobile device, equipment marked with a barcode can easily be scanned and checked out to a specific employee. If equipment is damaged, it’s easy to see who last used it and in which situation, and send them for training if required.

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of mobility applies to management. Le Roux explains that in traditional operations, workers and supervisors fill in forms and send these back to the office to be captured, collated and then sent to management in the form of reports.

“This means that management’s view of the project is a week or more out of date. Entering all the information, as above, into a mobile device allows for real-time synchronising to head office, or a daily sync when the worker comes off shift. This means the information is available almost immediately to management who can quickly resolve any issues before long delays occur.”

Le Roux advises that replacing paper processes, especially on remote sites empowers better management response to issues, better control and maintenance of equipment and improved productivity among users.
“This has nothing to do with being trendy or modern; it’s simply a case of good business practices for improving performance and reducing costs.”