For many small and medium-sized companies in a variety of industries, cars and vans play an essential role. A fleet of even a small number of vehicles, however, changes the nature of your workflow. Specific challenges need to be overcome and jobs need to be dealt with. Without careful, attentive workflow management, these issues can quickly disrupt productivity and drain time and money.
To get a better understanding of the difficulties facing SMEs with vehicles, we recently commissioned a major survey across Europe and the US. In it, we spoke with 1350 decision makers about the major pain points they deal with when it comes to managing their field teams. And the results make interesting reading for SMEs.
It’s all about communication
When you have workers out in the field, the ability to communicate clearly and quickly is hugely important. Yet it’s an area where many of our respondents expressed concern.
When presented with the statement ‘I’m frustrated by miscommunications and inaccuracy when communicating with my team in the field’, 20% agree strongly while 35% agree slightly. Meanwhile, 44% say the inability of their field team to follow the assigned schedule is having a somewhat negative impact on their business, while 17% feel it’s having a very negative impact.
Elsewhere, 41% of respondents cite ‘Slow communication between office and field team’ as having a somewhat negative impact on business and 17% believe it is having a very negative impact.
Ensuring your drivers are staying safe
While the value of clear communication is obvious, there’s another key workflow management issue facing companies that have workers on the road: visibility. How can you be certain that the people operating your company vehicles are doing so safely and efficiently?
When presented with the statement ‘I am not certain my drivers are behaving safely on the roads’, 21% of our respondents agree strongly while 32% agree slightly. Also, 37% say a lack of visibility over their field team’s performance is having a somewhat negative impact on their business, while 18% feel it’s having a very negative impact.
The cost of running vehicles is another area of concern for our respondents. 22% agree strongly that their vehicle costs are unnecessarily high, while 34% agree slightly. A majority also feel that they could be doing more to reduce fuel costs (23% agree strongly, 43% agree slightly).
Parking and speeding fines are also cited as a common worry, with most SME decision makers that use vehicles saying they are having a negative impact on their business.
Improving workflow management through automation
So, how are our respondents dealing with these shared pain points? Well, many are turning to automated solutions.
Take, for example, communicating your daily schedule with your workers. As we saw above, this is an area where many respondents have trouble, with unclear lines of communication slowing down productivity when workers can’t follow the assigned schedule.
Implementing a digital solution that automates this element of the workflow speeds up communication and reduces the chance of human error. 27% of our respondents now use fully automated processes for communicating daily schedules, while 38% mainly automate the task. What’s more, of the respondents who handle this manually, 36% estimate that it takes at least one of their team members between 1.5 to 2 hours per day to deal with the job – a clear drain on resources when added up over the months.
Perhaps most tellingly, the vast majority of our respondents say they feel that they could be more productive if they could automate more of their workflow, with 41% agreeing strongly and 40% agreeing slightly.
Want to find out more about how decision makers at companies like yours are dealing with these and other common pain points? Then download our free eBook Digitising the Workflow. It’s full of exclusive insight that will help you tackle workflow inefficiencies and introduce more effective workflow management techniques in your company.