We all know the adage, “You have to spend money to make money,” but no one ever said you have to waste money. In the modern business environment, a mishandling of resources can drive a once successful company into the ground. Waste doesn’t always come from bad investments, fraud, or negligence; more often than not, the issue is more subtle. A huge culprit of this for mobile workforces is travel expenses. While miscalculated mileage may not bankrupt a company on day one, those extra costs pile up over time. Luckily, there is a solution: mobile workforce optimization.
Mobile Workforce Optimization: An Overview
Workforce optimization is almost a perfect antonym to workplace waste; it aims to get more out of company resources. When a company operates efficiently, it doesn’t have to waste money on supplies and staff it doesn’t need. A lean, productive workforce can accomplish far more than their larger, less productive counterparts. This isn’t to say an optimized workforce sacrifices the quality of their service to save money; quite the contrary is true. An optimized workforce focuses on each employee’s individual strengths, ensuring that the person best equipped to carry out a task is the one doing so. When you can identify people’s strong suits, you can make smarter investments in your employees, and every party benefits.
The other piece of workforce optimization, and an important piece at that, is data. A retail store will typically increase its staff around the holidays and at peak shopping hours. Companies employing mobile workforce optimization use data to act in a similar way; they use the exact amount of resources they need at the time, no more and no less.
Areas of Waste With a Mobile Workforce (And How Automated Mileage Tracking Solves Them)
While few argue the benefits of workforce optimization, one area tends to get overlooked: travel expenses. An optimized company only spends what it costs to get from point A to point B. However, for some reason or another, most businesses end up paying far more. Luckily, the solution is simple. An automated mileage tracking system can calculate exactly what a company’s expenses should be, removing any inaccurate, costly guesswork.
We’ve all been in this situation: watching the minutes tick by, knowing we’re going to be late for our next activity, and frustrated beyond imagination that we didn’t take a shorter route. While there’s not much we can do about things like traffic, there are plenty of ways to prevent this type of situation. In most cases, there is more than one way to get from one place to another; the trick is finding the shortest way. To truly embody mobile workforce optimization, a company can’t waste time and money on unnecessary mileage. By handing the role of route planning over to technology, employees can rest assured that the path they take is the shortest possible way to get from point A to point B.
With SureMileage, companies can take this efficiency one step further. By organizing appointments so that employees travel the shortest total distance possible, they not only save on mileage, but are able to use their day more productively. Over time, this waste reduction can save a company thousands in gas money and countless hours in employee time.
Furthermore, route planning can also have a significant impact on a company’s carbon footprint. Beyond preventing unnecessary gas use, when a business can accurately predict how long it takes to get from place to place, it can set more precise arrival times. This means that delivery drivers, home healthcare workers, and other mobile employees don’t have to sit around between jobs; with mobile workforce optimization, they can plan their driving schedule down to the T, preventing any needless idling.
Preventing Non-Work-Related Miles
It might come as a surprise that companies don’t legally have to provide employees with mileage reimbursement; however, in most cases, it’s a good idea. Mileage reimbursement is not only a great way to attract and retain employees, but show you respect the work they do. As a bonus, these mileage reimbursements are tax-deductible – if they meet a few requirements.
First, you can only deduct reimbursements if they are business expenses, i.e., the purpose of the trip should be explicitly business-related. Second, the mileage needs to be accurately calculated and adequately documented. And last, any excess needs to be returned to the employer within a reasonable timeframe.
The problem is that not all reimbursement claims are accurate. Occasionally, a few non-work-related miles will sneak in, and unfortunately, a coffee run isn’t tax-deductible. This issue is more pervasive than one may assume. In fact, Hubspot found that 14% of workplace fraud involves expense reimbursements. What’s more, these types of inaccuracies can throw a wrench in a company’s productivity. When accountants have to use their time trying to determine the validity of a claim, the company isn’t operating as productively as it could be – it isn’t utilizing mobile workforce optimization. Luckily, this issue is all but solved with automated mileage tracking.
Data is a huge contributor to mobile workforce optimization; an efficient workplace uses data to inform virtually every business decision, and data on employee travel is no exception. With SureMileage, for instance, businesses can use data to determine the average distance an employee travels between appointments, average mileage, how long they spend at each location, and even how many assignments an employee can handle in a day.
Using a mileage tracking system also allows businesses to measure mobile employees’ travel throughout the year, enabling them to identify peak seasons. With this knowledge, businesses can better plan their workforce, ensuring they have exactly as many employees as they need at any given time.
Another area where resources get wasted is in the mileage tracking workflow, or more accurately, lack thereof. Keeping track of mileage without the help of technology is a cumbersome feat – so cumbersome that many employees will choose not to do so; they’ll pay the costs themselves over going through the ordeal of manually tracking expenses.
Instead of requiring employees to use their time calculating distances and determining routes, mobile workforce optimization suggests a better solution: automated workflows. With SureMileage, all employees have to do is check in at each location, use those points to put together a trip itinerary, and once they submit it, the software will automatically send it to the appropriate administrators for approval. The best part is, the whole process only takes a few minutes.
Optimizing Your Workforce With CompanyMileage
Mobile workforce optimization is all about working smarter, not harder. Before automated mileage tracking software, there was a tradeoff between time and money; the company either paid for unnecessary mileage or spent far too much time trying to determine costs and routes. By automating the mileage tracking process, a company can use its resources more strategically.
Thinking of optimizing your mobile workforce? Request a demo from CompanyMileage today.