1 General Vision
With this tool, companies can create a system which guides representatives through customer and client interactions. It is also used to plan employee agendas, schedule tasks for maintenance technicians, and create an expertise management system.
The tool offers a set of parameters which allow companies to design various types of tasks, depending on the processes they wish to perform and monitor. The system is based on task creation; created tasks are later assigned to appropriate personnel, with the ability to continually track their progress and results.
The power of this configuration lies in users' ability to adjust instructions for scheduled activities in real time. This can be done through types, groups, etc.
This activity design and planning collects all the information available on mobile devices (online or offline). Devices are able to interact with end users, keeping the rest of the organization informed on task results and execution status.
Graphing representation utilities and OLAP summaries let users know, at any moment, how and where scheduled tasks are being performed. Scheduled actions can be modified at any time, effectively and responsively guiding employee activity.
The effectiveness, productivity, and efficiency of the processes designed provide different types of benefits, depending on the business area of the application.
- When applied to the sales cycle, it signifies a shorter cycle, improved ratios for sales actions, more reliable forecasts, and quicker responses to customer requests.
- In management and maintenance applications, it signifies cost reduction via real-time activity tracking, information on employee efficiency, and improved agility responding to urgent incidents.
2 Feature Summary
The effectiveness of Taskforce Automation solutions relies on the flexible configuration which the tool supports.
2.1 Design and Assignment of Activities
To achieve our objectives of organizational effectiveness, productivity and efficiency, a number of features are available. These features aim to locate appropriate personnel and guide them to carry out an instruction in a specific location.
- Design of the exact activities to be performed (detailed instructions to be sent to each employee involved in the process). Specification of the people involved (internal and external), and of where and how they should move. The design process involves the configuration of various tables which the module offers.
- Schedule and Assign staff, activities, instructions, lists, and destinations.
The first step is to define the tasks to be carried out. These tasks will be directly available to the operator from the mobile device. Examples of tasks include: package pickup and delivery, medical visits, sales visits, order picking, stock confirmation, seasonal campaigns, etc.
Companies must formulate the instructions which operators must execute. 'Instructions' are a broad concept which includes a large number of options: answering a question, taking and uploading photographs, writing comments and notes, etc.
Once the operator has performed the scheduled task, the host receives notification of execution, thus allowing real-time activity tracking.
The responses which the operator provides in the form can be processed, then sent to another external system. This process may even generate new assignments automatically, based on the responses received.
The system allows additional information to be provided to the operator. This information may be a contact number to call, the GPS location of a meeting point, or the data of the customer that will be visited.
The system contains a finite set of possibilities, which are described below.
2.1.4 List of Elements (Pickup / Delivery)
When the type of task to be performed is package pickup or delivery, the list of items which the operator must pick up or deliver can be added. The operator can also indicate items' final status. If the operator has a barcode scanner, then that system can also indicate package pickup or delivery.
2.1.5 Default Values
A set of default values can be assigned for a task. This will make task assignment and completion a speedier process on both ends.
2.1.6 Groups and Combos
The system permits the definition of groups of instructions. It is also possible to create certain validation rules and define their behavior, taking into account the execution of the instructions given.
Likewise, if a question in a task has answers associated with it, combinations of tabulated responses can be generated. This facilitates task execution for both the organization and the operator.
We define 'assignment' as 'all tasks assigned to an operator through the mobile device'.
Two types of assignments can be created:
Individual Assignments: Operators will be provided information relevant to the task on their mobile devices. This may include where to go, what to do, what items to bring, what items must be picked up, etc.
Assignment Engine: There is also the option to configure an assignment engine, using information from our ERP or other external databases. Assignments can be created automatically and scheduled periodically. Each case must be studied in a timely manner to provide the best solution.
2.2 Execution of Activities
Once the tasks have been designed, scheduled, and assigned, the operator (through complex, secure synchronization processes) will receive the assignments on their mobile device.
- Agenda: The operator's calendar will show which days have activities assigned to them. The operator may have the option to adapt their own tasks, depending on the situation.
- Place: Location of the customer whom the operator is scheduled to visit. (The device has the GPS navigation option preset to the customer's location).
- Information: Relevant information on the customer to be visited: data such as phone number, name, address, etc. Any other information focused on improving customer interaction may also be included.
- List of Activities: Activities which the operator must perform once they arrive at the task location.
- List of Instructions: Clear instructions on actions once the operator reaches their destination. The tool offers a wide range of possibilities to facilitate task execution. These may include checklists, questionnaires, forms to be filled in onsite, attachment of written notes, attachment of photos, comments, etc.
- List of Items: List of the items which the operator must pick up or deliver. (The pickup or delivery of each item may be indicated individually.)
Armed with the above information, your company's operators and representatives will be able to effectively carry out the tasks assigned to them.
- Instructions completed, and the results.
- Items picked up or delivered, and the results.
- Activity rescheduling.
Using the Taskforce Automation tool, companies are always informed on task execution status. The operator can both immediately send their own information and receive new instructions, through the two-way synchronization process. With the information provided by the operator, we can stay up to date on:
- Tasks performed and the corresponding end result (successful, unforeseen issue, etc.).
- Items picked up or delivered
- Operator's physical location
The tool also allows task rescheduling in real time.
2.3 Process Tracking
The data provided by the device will grant all necessary information about task status (both pending and completed). The TFA tool allows users to design a full series of tracking processes, which will help make decisions as we observe results.
Some of these tracking processes include:
- Georeferencing: tracks operators' real-time location.
- Activity Control: tracks which activities have been carried out and which are still pending.
- Form Response Control: shows the information provided in each task's control forms.
- Operator Activity Control: tracks the daily performance of an operator.
- Assignment Control: tracks how an operator is managing their schedule (agenda).
Obtaining Statistical Data
Similarly, the TFA tool provides important statistical data for businesses, particular to each case. This data will be used to implement improvements in all areas of the organization.
Data may include:
- Number of visits made per client.
- Speed of incident resolution and degree of customer satisfaction.
- Number of incidents/issues handled per month.
- Frequency and geographical location of promotional visits.
The tool allows mapping representation of any information which contains GPS coordinates (latitude and longitude). Furthermore, the program is able to map the route from the operator location to their task destination.
If, for example, an operator planned to visit a customer, the customer's file must have their GPS coordinates. As a result, when the operator receives the task assignment, the GPS coordinates will already be included, and the operator will save time on searching the customer's location data. The risk of visiting an incorrect address is also removed.
2.4 Information Synchronization
As already mentioned, there is a two-way data synchronization process between central systems and mobile devices. This ensures that all parties have up-to-date information.
The system is designed to work with or without an Internet connection. When working offline, the system will save all records locally on the device. As soon as the connection is restored, information will be exchanged between the main system and the device. (Please note that the main system provides the option to check whether the operator device is connected to the Internet, and if not, when it was last connected. This option is available at all times.)
Our tool allows complete configuration of the information syncing system between central servers and mobile devices. The flow of data between these systems can also be controlled.
The main syncing characteristics which can be configured are:
- Definition of the information tables to be synchronized.
- Definition of the information upload and download process between the main system and mobile devices. The systems supports operations to add, update, or delete data according to certain conditions.
- Scheduling of the synchronization process.
All of these settings can be applied to an individual user or a user group.
To sum up, we can identify three primary mechanisms in all processes:
- Configuration Download: Checks the structures, parameters and transmittal of the configuration the mobile device will use.
- Upload: Transfer of new information or updates from the mobile device database to the main server.
- Download: Transfer of new information or updates from the main server database to the mobile device.
These synchronization mechanisms can be customized to achieve a particular company's desired behavior.