Mobile Procurement and the “Anywhere Service Worker”

Spend Matters welcomes another guest post from Ivy Montgomery of Vroozi. Back in January, Jason Busch challenged Vroozi to come up with fifty real-life use cases for mobile procurement. This is an ongoing series.

For field service workers, being out on the job is actually just another day at the office. With a new task in a new location almost every day, field service workers are naturally well aware of the challenges presented by this type of work. They understand the importance of travelling light and dealing with problems in the most efficient way possible – with minimal oversight.

One of these efficient “anywhere service workers” is Peter, who is employed by one of the nation’s largest and most profitable gas and electric companies. Based out of the West Coast, the company boasts about 20,000 employees who transmit and deliver energy to both businesses and residential clients throughout the nation.

Almost all of Peter’s workweek is spent on the road, where he methodically reviews gas meter readings in his given sections of town. This task seems elementary enough, but the job is not without the occasional hiccup. Yet, for an experienced field service worker like Peter, there is no need to worry.

For example, last week, Peter was out in the field doing his regular gas meter checkups when he noticed that one of the meter covers had been broken into. Upon further inspection, he could even recognize that the needles on the meter had been tampered with.

Though he realized this particular meter had just thrown a curveball his way, Peter did not panic. He had been in this situation before and knew what to do; he reached for his smartphone to use the company’s mobile procurement solution.

Working off of information from a previous purchase order and a customized catalog of pre-approved vendors, Peter created a new purchase request for the items he needed, tied it to the address of the tampered meter, and sent it off for approval.

In the past, Peter would have a made a note of the request and submitted it via email (or in person) to the procurement department the next time he found himself in the office. Of course, that could have been anywhere from several days to several weeks – costing his company a great deal of money (and the customer a great deal of headache).

With mobile procurement – a solution that gives both workers and executives the tools they need to submit, review, and approve purchase requests on the go – this process took only a matter of minutes. In no time at all, Peter had taken care of his field service duties at the address and was ready to move on to the next location. Furthermore, he had set it up so that all his manager had to do was notify the homeowner of their meter condition and approve the purchase order that Peter had swiftly assembled.

The following afternoon, Peter returned to the address and repaired the meter. The issue had been resolved and his course was back on schedule. Peter was content, his employer was satisfied, and the customer had been serviced.

In today’s modern world, people in all lines of work need to be able to rely on their mobile technology capabilities in order to be successful in their field. By keeping a smartphone with a mobile procurement platform at your fingertips, success can be just a few taps away.

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