“When we started FarEye in 2013, an interesting data point at that time was the price crash of smartphones,” says Kushal Nahata, CEO and co-founder of the global digital logistics start-up. This prompted FarEye to start looking at smartphone-based solutions for the desk-less workforce — the thousands of field agents who start the day by reporting to office to find out their task, and then are forced to return to office at end of day to give a debriefing. “While the agents were on field, there was no way for their supervisors to verify how and when they had done the work,” explains Nahata.
That’s how FarEye’s journey started. It began with a simple tracking software, but soon Nahata and his team realised that companies wanted a software that increased field force productivity.
Today, the app, which has moved into addressing many customer pain points as well, offers several solutions for workforce management. For courier companies, or delivery boys, it can provide route optimisation. As Nahata explains, experienced couriers learn to avoid certain routes at certain times, say, school dispersal time, etc, but the app, through machine learning, also figures that out and is a boon to new joinees on the field.
Consumer electronics companies can use the app to assign service engineers to a repair job in the same manner that Uber assigns drivers. As for the technicians, the app allows them to click a photo of the appliance that has been repaired and deliver the report in real time to the supervisor.
Innovative uses too
While task assigning, report filing, and other routine processes and compliances have got easy, Nahata says that, over time, many learning capabilities have also got embedded into the app, enabling companies to use it for innovative purposes. For instance, during festival season, when the load on courier agents increases, leadership teams of companies like Blue Dart can send motivational messages to their riders over the app.
Although the technicians are versed in repairs, companies can also feed in step-by-step tutorials on doing a repair job that they can refer to and help them do the job faster. There are dashboards so that employees can also track their performance against others.
There are other employee tracking apps like Roadcast’s Synco that too are solving problems faced by field force and improving their productivity. Synco’s presence monitoring systems allow companies to know where their field force is. For instance, if a police force wants to check if its constables are patrolling an area, it can just use the app. It also has route optimisation software to aid delivery agents.
As for the employees, it is easier to log in how many kilometers they have covered in a day. Says Vishal Jain, co founder of Roadcast, “Field employees can keep track of how much they have travelled for work, and claim travel expenses. They can click photos of bills and claim expenses, all through the app.”
What about privacy concerns? Jain says that employees can log out when their shift ends and it stops sending notifications. He says employees realise that the advantages outweigh issues like those. As Nahata says, FarEye’s configurable solutions make companies that rely on field agents more agile, efficient and speedier. They deliver the three Cs of convenience, compliance and costs.