Why should you invest in automation for people who don’t sit behind a desk?
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Let's start with a fact - Almost 80% of the global workforce is deskless. These employees are on the field, difficult to reach and coordinate with, and are absolutely essential. If there's one lesson we've learnt from the pandemic, it's that these essential workers are who keep business running. But only 1% of software venture funding is going towards technology serving 80% of the world's workforce. So, why do companies not invest in the appropriate amount of technology for their frontline employees? 

You're probably thinking, "Because they don't need any tech".

"With their hands-on knowledge and experience, access to the right technology can enable frontline workers to align their efforts better with the business goals. By giving them the right tools, they can be far more productive and innovative, and companies will see it clearly reflected in happier customer experiences"

Vijay Pullur, CEO, Groupe.io 

Despite being much more critical to companies, the deskless workforce has very little technology being made available for them. The majority of the work deskless workers complete on a daily basis is repetitive, making it ripe for automation-a few manual routines automated give rise to disproportionately better ROI. 

Here are five reasons to invest in automation for the frontline

Reduced operating costs

Frontline employees deal with multiple paper forms and checklists like PTO request forms, site-safety checklists, and more, on a daily basis. Filling data in paper forms is a large part of their work, and a large part of your expenses too. According to a study by Gartner, 3% of a company's revenue is spent on paper, printing, filing and the costs to store and maintain files of information.

But imagine if you were to replace paper with digital forms and checklists. Annually, bad data costs companies almost $15 Million. Automating and digitizing forms and checklists help save on paper costs, improve the accuracy of the data collected, as well as save a lot of valuable time for frontline employees.

Higher employee productivity

Speaking of time, companies depend on their frontline staff to take care of time-consuming, routine work. Recent studies show that 90% of frontline employees want automations that help them improve productivity. And automating their routine tasks like inventory audit, purchase order placement, incident reporting, etc, can work wonders for their productivity by reducing the amount of manual effort and the errors that come with manual work. 

How? Most task management apps help assign and schedule tasks automatically to start with. They provide more clarity to workers about instructions, deadlines and priorities for each task, and help supervisors stay on top of the daily tasks too. Overall, frontline employees are spared from the need for multiple do-overs as manual errors are brought down. 

Improved workplace safety

The best part about being able to automate tasks and workflows is that companies can better handle safety compliance levels at the workplace. In its 2018 Workplace Safety Index, Liberty Mutual estimated that employers in the US paid more than $1 Billion per week for direct workers' compensation costs for disabling, non-fatal workplace injuries.

The cost involved in ensuring safety compliance is nowhere close to the amount spent on compensations and fines after a safety incident. Automating safety processes help frontline employees stay alert and comply with the processes at all times. Safety incidents also disrupt workplace productivity, so a system where compliance can be automatically tracked and implemented goes a long way in ensuring the smooth functioning of the company.  

Improved Employee Experience:

The cost of hiring an employee, training them, and having to frequently replace them is a very expensive and time-consuming affair. Recent studies show that the cost of replacing a trained employee can be double their annual salary. But helping your frontline employees work better with the right tech goes a long way in retaining employees, as well as attracting more talent-78% of deskless employees say technology is an important factor while choosing a job.

The scope for automation for frontline employees is enormous and unexplored. But one thing is certain-investing in automations for 80% of your workforce is a wise decision, anywhere, any day.

Better Data security:

Investing in technology for the frontline workforce will not only benefit them but the company as well. Apart from all the mentioned points, data security is one of the biggest concerns that companies with a large deskless workforce face.

A study by Emcap says that 56% of deskless employees use their own technology because their employer hasn't given them adequate tools. They use their own mobile phones and tablets to store and communicate corporate information.

The trend is now slowly shifting with companies providing employees with official devices. Data security apps help companies automatically revoke access to data or remotely wipe data wherever a threat is identified. This helps employees, as well as companies, work better.

In conclusion

The time has never been better to invest in technology for your deskless workforce. There are emerging options of tech that you can choose from, and we hope we've provided you with enough reasons to begin your search for the perfect frontline automation solution. 

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