RIS News Survey - Mobile WFM Comes of Age
August 24, 2010
If you’re using your Smartphone to handle more of your e-mails and other daily communications, welcome to a growing community. Mobile technology is becoming a driving force of change in managing today’s – and tomorrow’s – workforce.
A RIS News survey, Infor recently sponsored, illuminates just how dramatically mobile tech will revolutionize operations and processes affecting retail employees. Survey respondents say mobile devices will be used by key retail staff members and aimed at locations that will produce clearly measurable, hard-performance results.
For example, the survey found that 84 percent of store managers are expected to use mobile devices as a tool, along with 61 percent of sales-floor personnel and regional managers. The devices will be used for a myriad of workforce functions such as scheduling, training, communicating payroll exceptions like overtime, and even filling an open slot.
Elements of Task Management were determined to be the most strategic uses of mobile devices in workforce management, with two of the top three responses focused on task management related functions. Nearly two thirds of respondents see mobile devices serving to instantly connect a mobile Web portal for communications and information.
The survey found that store associates will use mobile devices to check the status of inventory (87%), to get product specs and data (74%) and to check other stores for merchandise (71%). All of which will ultimately help fuel store sales. A large number of respondents also see store associates using their mobile devices to schedule time off or a performance review, as well as to bid for shifts.
Retailers still voice uncertainties about the benefits of using mobile devices to manage the workforce. Obstacles cited include devices getting lost, stolen or broken (73%) and security concerns (67%). To a lesser extent, many think the benefits don’t justify the cost, the devices detract from other work and they aren’t a core necessity. Still, 43 percent of those surveyed believe workforce management benefits will emerge over time with 27 percent expecting hard, measurable benefits; 23 percent anticipating soft, hard-to-measure benefits; and only 6.7 percent not seeing real benefits emerging at all.
As the capabilities of mobile devices continue to improve and adoption rates increase, new usage patterns will emerge. What is clear is that retailers see the advantages of associates at every level returning to the shop floor and performing historically back-office functions whilst remaining visible and productive. It’s our charge to ensure applications are extensible to cover all these new WFM use cases.
Posted By Owen Brangwyn, WFM Product Manager