A mobile workflow is a digitized business process which team members can access via mobile form apps on their phones or tablets.
A workflow is the process a piece of work goes through to get from start to finish, such as a parts order that must travel from being housed in the warehouse to being installed and inspected on the site. You can automate these processes by choosing a mobile workflow solution, saving your company time and money.
The drawbacks of paper-based workflows
Before the rise of mobile workflow applications, business processes were paper-based. Workers would fill and submit paperwork, which would later be processed and entered into back-office systems or filing cabinets.
Consider a team of maintenance staff that uses paper-based workflows. During inspections, some workers might write down data they deem notable. Others might take mental notes to write later. Either way, the approach is far from fool-proof, and that's before the paperwork gets to the office to be filed by hand.
At the very least, there will be differences in what each worker considers to be noteworthy and in the ways they document data. Accounting for these differences adds an unnecessary layer of challenges when filing data into a back-office system. What's more, in addition to printing and delivering forms, workers would have to call the office regularly to check current inventory and pricing, wasting time at both ends, and leading to errors in the field that affect customer satisfaction and, ultimately, the bottom line.
The benefits of mobile workflows
Going mobile eradicates the problems that come with paper-based systems, revolutionizing worker interaction with workflows. Technicians simply fill in the blanks on formatted task sheets, using the mobile device of their choosing or one owned by the company. They can make changes in real time while accessing up-to-date information, and by employing required questions, administrators can be sure there is consistency in data collection.
Submitting a single form can automatically dispatch new work orders, trigger SMS notifications to supervisors, and file data to back-office systems and cloud services. Custom documents can be sent instantly, in any popular format, anywhere they're needed, automatically tailored to suit the audience: you wouldn't want your customers seeing your safety inspections, after all, and your safety manager doesn't need to see your customer's invoice.
Going mobile also unlocks a wealth of new capabilities. Smart mobile forms can adapt to user input. Users can capture photos, sketches, GPS locations and timestamps, and automatically fill with pre-existing back-office data — even offline.
Companies can also opt for analytics capabilities. This lets them track and analyze gathered data, identifying issues that can be corrected. And because mobile workflows keep data input consistent, analytics systems are even better at telling you what's happening in your business.
In short, mobile workflows let companies improve productivity, quality of service, and customer satisfaction while saving time and money in the process.