OperationsPublished May 16, 2023

What is Field Operations and Why is it Hard to Manage?

Field Ops Playbook: An Introduction to Field Operations

What is Field Operations and Why is it Hard to Manage?

I'm Oscar, the founder of V88, a premium Glide agency. Among the 70 clients we've built Glide solutions for, a large percentage of these projects have focused on, or included an element of, data capture and communication for teams in the field.

Field operations refer to businesses that have a team performing tasks, collecting data, or providing other services outside of a central office or location. Examples of field operations include property management, construction, transportation, surveying, and healthcare.

Using Glide, I've empowered many field operations professionals to significantly increase the productivity of their teams with bespoke apps tailored to their unique processes. These apps are designed, developed, and deployed in as little as 7 days. Time is money for this type of business, with industry leaders constantly searching for the best technology to increase the speed and effectiveness of their operations.

To kick off this series, I'd like to highlight five core challenges faced by field ops professionals that I've identified while creating solutions for them over the past three years.

1. Communication

"We can't find a centralized solution to communicate with our field workers in real-time." -SG Survey Team Member

Communication breakdowns often occur when field workers are offsite and unable to report vital information back to headquarters in real-time. This usually leads to delays, miscommunication, and sub-optimal service provision.

2. Data Collection

"The way we collect data is slow and inefficient. It takes far too long to see where the bottlenecks are." - Jackie Doone, Seribus Compliance

Manual, paper-based data collection methods can be slow and inefficient. In order to use important information, it must first be transcribed into another platform. This adds significant time to the overall process and increases the potential for user error. It may not be immediately obvious how to improve this process.

3. Mobile Interfaces

"Our field operators use shared spreadsheets which are hard to navigate through on mobile or tablet and over-complex." -Remote Drone Pilot, SkySpecs

The ubiquitous spreadsheet was never designed with field operators or mobile devices in mind! Without a clear and simple interface for field workers to submit data, inconsistencies arise and key information can easily be omitted.

4. Generic Tool Over-Complication

"We used an app recommended by another company, but it doesn't fit our specific process, and our field workers can't use it." -CEO, Amirez Developments

Generic tools attempt to cater to every business, and as a result, they tend to be over-complicated. They invariably fail to accommodate the unique way in which a business operates. As a result, many features remain unused, while those that are key to your business may be poorly implemented. This leads to poor uptake from field operators, especially if they are not technically inclined.

5. Administrative Reporting

"Without a centralized dashboard, it's difficult to see where we're doing well and where we need improvement." - CEO, Amirez Developments

Managers struggle to identify trends without accurate, validated, real-time information. For example, which team members are the most productive, which clients have the most issues, and which issues take the longest to address.

Time is money! The key pain point with many of these challenges is time, or lack of it. Reducing the time it takes to carry out tasks such as data collection, service provision, or reporting is essential to professionals in the field.

Field Operations businesses constantly struggle with team collaboration, inefficient processes, and inaccurate reporting. This leads to low productivity and poor customer satisfaction. A bespoke solution can solve these issues quickly and effectively, with fantastic team adoption. However, historically the limiting factors have been time and cost. This is where Glide comes in. Glide empowers professionals to build robust, custom applications at speed, thanks to a combination of simple user interfaces and rapid data collection capabilities.

In this series, we'll explore how Field Operations professionals can use Glide to supercharge their operations quickly and cost-effectively. It's process nirvana.

Book a chat with Oscar to explore if Glide can supercharge your Field Ops.

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