Article

BUSINESS 101

Working Smarter, Not Harder

BUSINESS 101

Working Smarter, Not Harder

How custom smartphone apps can help boost your profits

no matter the product, service, industry, or corporate philosophy, nearly every business is bottom line driven. And, there is no shortage of ingenuity as to how companies try to glean more profit out of existing processes. Today, there is a ubiquitous technology poised to revolutionize how business is done: the smartphone or tablet…but NOT for the reason you may think.

Companies are only now understanding the power of intra-company smartphone apps as a Mobile Process Improvement (MPI) asset that can actually drive productivity, enhance competitiveness, and maximize revenue.

Whether it be updating outdated processes or utilizing mobile technology to enhance modern systems, a custom-designed smartphone app could very well provide a simple solution that has an enormous impact on the business. With MPI, “building a better mousetrap” is only limited by imagination and inclination.

What can a business do to save money with smartphone apps? Here are four ways businesses are leveraging MPI to promote profitability:

1 ELIMINATING INEFFICIENCIES

This is one of the most popular uses of custom apps in business settings. Companies seeking a paperless business or requiring speedy document access have been quick to adopt smartphones for high-speed scanning. Documents—whether they be Rx’s or paperwork brought in by new patients or records from the lab or other suppliers—can be scanned and deposited into online repositories for easy retrieval by voice- or text-powered search engines.

Having every bit of paper an employee could need inside of their smartphone or tablet empowers and enables professionals of all sorts, saving time, boosting efficiency and efficacy, and saving the environment in the process.

2 FIELD EMPLOYEE MANAGEMENT

More than 45% of all businesses in the U.S. utilize some kind of remote employee—someone who is not at a specific work site at all hours of the day. One primary problem with field employees is limited accountability, because their whereabouts cannot be monitored at all times. Today, forward-thinking companies are tying their field forces together into a mobile grid that is supported by the employees’ own smartphones. These apps can be programmed to only allow field workers to clock in when they are at the actual job site and they allow employees to quickly access home office data on the go.

MPI ON THE MOVE

100%
how much Mobile Processing Improvement (MPI) spending will grow in the U.S. by the end of 2015

45 million
more employees in the U.S. are expected to use smartphones, priming them for MPI integration

$4 billion
the size of the MPI market by 2017, fueled by cloud services and a demand for connected anywhere-anytime enterprises

Sources: Forrester’s Forrsights Business Decision-Makers Survey; Global Industry Analysts

3 INVENTORY MANAGEMENT

Companies can track inventory on employee smartphones by “smart” use of QR codes (either the product’s existing code or ones you can create).

With MPI, employees can walk past the boxes in the back room, lab, and frame boards and scan the codes. The related app directly links to your inventory management system, resulting in faster inventory count, employee theft prevention, and improved analytics.

The back-end dashboard also allows management to see exactly how much inventory is left and automatically compare it to predicted inventory, in real time, improving visibility into the process. Back orders can also be created automatically when inventory count runs low. And, best of all, it is impossible to have miscounts.

4 BECOMING LEANER

There are many ways to customize the use of mobile technology and leveraging the power of mobile apps within your practice, lab, or shop. Processes that used to be done or tracked manually, for instance, can be automated, allowing employees to focus their attention elsewhere.

Though your specific needs in your optical setting may vary from some of those laid out here, using custom-created mobile apps can put the power of technology and automation into all of your employees’ hands, literally. The result is a faster, leaner, more precise process that can help build profits.

— Kirill Storch

Internet marketing strategist Kirill Storch is CEO of Electric Web, a leader e-commerce and mobile initiatives. He may be reached at electricwebmarketing.com.