Managing In the Moment – Your Profitability Depends On It

(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is sponsored by Kronos, a company focused on helping organizations across a variety of industries manage their most valuable, and expensive, strategic asset — their workforce. Many of us know Kronos for their time and attendance systems. They’ve got some really cool stuff going on right now. I’m delighted to share with you their news. Enjoy the post.)

During this week’s KronosWorks12 conference, Yvette Cameron, vice president and principal analyst with Constellation Research, offered attendees a startling overview of the trends in mobile:

  • By 2015, 183 billion mobile apps will be downloaded annually. And this will increase to 287 billion in the following year (2016).
  • 4 out of 5 people sleep with their mobile device in their bedroom. 68% confess that they sleep with their mobile device next to their bed.

I knew that mobile was popular, I didn’t realize just how popular it was.

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Aron Ain, chief executive officer for Kronos Incorporated, shared with us the future of mobile and workforce management with the unveiling of their iPad app called Workforce Tablet. Now before you say to yourself…”so what, everybody has an app these days”…I gotta tell you this one isn’t your run of the mill application.

Workforce Tablet is a real-time application that allows supervisors to manage in the moment. Supervisors are able to see where employees have clocked in for their shifts using a location pin (similar to Google maps). It also gives supervisors the ability to view schedules over a span of time.

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But the two features that really caught my attention were the rescheduling feature and the analytics. First the rescheduling feature – let’s say you have an employee call in sick. They call early in the morning on the manager’s cell, before the manager has left for work. This is good – the manager knows they need to find someone to cover the shift. But back in the day, they’d have to wait until they got into their office to find someone.

And let’s face it, when that happens managers can get grumpy because they have to go into work early to find someone to cover the shift. They also usually end up covering the work themselves until someone comes in. Not a good situation.

Now with Workforce Tablet, a supervisor can look at the schedule and see who might be available. All from the convenience of their iPad. On a side note, because the iPad is considered to be very intuitive, the ramp up time for a supervisor to learn how to use Workforce Tablet is minimal. Kronos incorporated many of the features we are all accustomed to – like drag and drop – into the app functionality.

Even better is the scheduling protocol option that can be loaded into the application. This gives the company the ability to identify how available employees should be notified and selected for extra shifts. Not that this has ever happened to you guys, but I’ve seen contacting employees for extra shifts turn into popularity contests which can create friction among employees. With this scheduling protocol, supervisors are working from a consistent procedure. Very helpful!

The second feature of Workforce Tablet that impressed me was the analytics. The app allows users to pull real-time reporting data such as sales per hour and actual-versus-forecasted labor costs. I can see this data playing a huge role in managing the daily operation.

How much of a huge role you ask?

Well, during one of the sessions a company shared that automating their scheduling function saved them 7.5% in payroll costs while increasing sales productivity 10%. Just imagine what adding the bonus of a tablet application could have brought to the equation. This isn’t chump change.

Businesses are looking at tablets as a workplace productivity tool (not an Angry Birds Star Wars toy.)We hear lots of talk about the popularity of tablets but this is one of the few examples of the ways tablets can really transform business. ChangeWave Research indicates more than one-in-five companies said they will buy tablets for their management teams this year, with 84% of those purchases to be iPads. What better way to use mobile technology than as a tool to manage time and attendance in the moment.

If you want to check out the new Kronos Workforce Tablet, a demo is available in the iTunes App Store. You can also read more about it on the Kronos website or by following Kronos on Twitter.