One can improve the quality and consistency of a business process by documenting and automating the exact way the business process should be completed. In a mobile software application on a handheld device, a company has the ability to ensure the appropriate business processes are done in the appropriate order. This is accomplished through a variety of means including:
- Requiring specific information to be captured before moving to the next data field or page
- Automating GPS location capture whenever a work order is completed
- Requiring a digital signature from a customer to close out a work order
- Requiring a digital photo of the work performed (before and after)
- Automatically capturing time and date stamps for work
- Automatically checking inventory levels before dispatching a service technician to replace a part
- Routing the field worker to a different set of questions, based upon answers (e.g. if equipment is broken automatically ask question #6, if equipment is repaired automatically proceed to question #3)
- If work completed, close service order – if work incomplete answer question #2 about rescheduling work, etc.
There are an infinite number of ways you can develop and automate business processes. These business processes, as IBM explained, can help you ensure that work is completed in a systematic and quality manner. You are in effect building “best practices” in your mobile application.
It is very helpful, since much of the work completed on handheld computers is done remotely, to have automated business processes and instructions such as help messages and training pointers built into the mobile application. Let’s consider the following scenario – a new technician inspects a used vehicle and identifies damage to the front bumper. He correctly inputs this information into the automobile inspection software on his handheld computer. Based on the identified damage to the front bumper, the inspection software brings up an additional set of questions:
- Location of damage on the bumper
- Type of damage (dent, scrape, bent, etc)
- Severity of damage
- Type of bumper (metal, plastic, rubber strip etc)
- Color of bumper
For each of these questions an icon is available to “click-on” for more detailed instructions on how to answer each question. This is a great training tool and helps standardize all answers to ensure the most accurate job estimates possible.
Again, this is a simple example of how a mobile software application can be designed to automate business processes and help the user know what information is required, how to answer the questions correctly and consistently without missing data or forgetting important considerations.