What business functions can be performed by using handhelds alone? How have other companies utilised handhelds A business process is a logically related set of activities that define how specific business tasks are performed. Business processes are the ways in which organizations coordinate and organize work activities, information, and knowledge to produce their valuable products or services. How well a business performs depends on how well its business processes are designed and coordinated. Well-designed business processes can be a source of competitive strength for a company if it can use the processes to innovate or perform better than its rivals.
Conversely, poorly designed or executed business processes can be a liability if they are based on outdated ways of working and impede responsiveness or efficiency. For instance, as handheld computers have proliferated, their business applications have made them nearly indispensable in the workplace. By putting computing power at employees’ fingertips, these devices increase efficiency and accuracy while also making work more convenient for busy workers. Technology advances have lowered the price of handheld computers to a point that even small-business owners can equip employees with the latest handheld gadgets.
Handheld devices should reflect or improve on what already exists on paper forms. For example, if a user is filling out a maintenance or inspection activity form including specific information, the handheld should provide the exact same functionality. As with paper forms, a user can pick from a list of possible choices and/or write or type in information, according to the organization’s preferences. An added benefit of using handheld devices in conjunction with software is that data is automatically transferred from the handheld device to your database without the need for further data entry or reformulation of the data. There are many additional benefits of using handheld devices, in contrast with manual or paper based processes.
The handheld device can include validations that allow or disallow data entry. It can provide the user with historical information pertaining to previous work orders or particular pieces of equipment. Furthermore, by using barcodes and scanners attached to the handheld devices, quick identification of devices and equipment improves efficiency and minimizes human errors. Handheld applications should also be designed to minimize unnecessary data entry and keystrokes by incorporating a variety of techniques, starting from pick lists, to check boxes, to lookup lists. Finally, handheld software should be able to run on multiple hardware platforms, providing flexibility and utilization of future technology without unnecessary software upgrades. To maximize utilisation, handheld applications should not be stand-alone.
They should be designed from the outset to collect information, display and manipulate information, and transfer information to and from a desktop or server database and back to the handheld seamlessly. The means of data transfer can be through a standard cradle, wired modem, or wireless. The desktop/server application should include management functions such as scheduler, equipment tracker, work order manager, customer call manager, and analysis capabilities.The combination of software and handheld devices should deliver functionalities to improve service activities: • Plan and schedule inspection and maintenance activities.
• Record details about your activities.
• Track and better utilise your tools, equipment, and assets.
• Retrieve and analyse information.
• Set up automatic alerts that notify you of upcoming or missed activities.
• Provide inspectors, technicians, and maintenance personnel with “smart” handheld devices, enabling better and more efficient execution of work while eliminating paperwork.
• Utilise barcodes to improve data collection and to minimize human errors.
• Utilise time-saving mechanisms that allow your staff to shift their focus from administrative tasks to improving processes and customer service. (For example: create service templates for specific equipment so that service orders can be added automatically as new equipment is added to the system).
• Automate re-occurring tasks; once they are completed, new tasks are automatically created in the future.