GSP (global positioning system) services are some of the newest and most interesting technologies available on wireless phones today.
Among the many contractors taking advantage of the technology is C&S Drywall in Orlando, FL, which has been using two Verizon Wireless services with GPS capabilities — VZ Navigator and Field Force Manager — since the beginning of 2008. Already, Human Resources/Office Manager Ann Scott has seen the positive results.
C&S, which currently has about 35 employees, has been doing business in Florida for 18 years. The company does metal framing and drywall work in Orlando, Tampa, Tallahassee, and Melbourne.
The company has incorporated this wireless technology into several aspects of its business. For starters, every night the office staff sends each crew member a text message with all the details of the jobs they've been assigned to for the next day.
Once the employees are ready to start working, they use their Verizon Wireless phones to access VZ Navigator, a location-based service that utilizes GPS technology and real-time information feeds. The newest version, which was launched in Florida in May, provides 3-D perspective maps, audible turn-by-turn directions, access to traffic updates and detour information, gas station locations and pricing, local weather reports, and more.
Upon arriving at their work site, they "clock in" on their Verizon Wireless phones via the Field Force Manager program. Approximately 15 C&S employees currently use Field Force Manager on their phones, according to Scott. This application allows C&S employees to electronically enter their timecard information in the field, instead of having to check in at the office at the beginning and end of each day. It also provides management with the ability to export the information into the company's payroll system for seamless processing.
"Field Force Manager can help our business customers reduce operating costs, increase worker productivity, and streamline business processes so their company can operate more efficiently," said Pam Tope, Florida region president for Verizon Wireless.
The service has the capability to provide management with GPS-based location information when users clock in and out, and show where they are when they accept and complete jobs. It can also provide an automated way to manage customer service requests, dispatch field personnel, and track job progress through completion.
Scott, who has been with C&S for almost five years, said C&S employees are now only required to come to the office once a week — Friday mornings — to turn in their gas and expense reports, and stock up on materials from the warehouse.
"One of the biggest advantages is that we've really cut down on gas expenses, since our employees can go straight from their homes to their work sites," said Scott. With gas prices getting so high, he adds, "this has had a significant impact on our business."
Another way C&S uses wireless technology to its advantage is by sending text messages to reach workers when they're unable to answer a phone call. "If one of our guys is up on a ladder in the middle of a project, he may not be able to stop to answer his phone. But we can send him a text message, and it will be there waiting for him to view it whenever he's ready," she added.
Scott said she would recommend GPS-based services such as VZ Navigator and Field Force Manager to other businesses that have mobile workers.
"Would I recommend it? Hands down!" she said. "The Field Force Manager service is a big thing for us. You don't have to worry about asking when they got to a job, or when they're done. It's all taken care of for you." n
|Chuck Hamby is a public relations manager for Verizon Wireless — Florida Region.|