Some inspirational ideas to improve your business with apps

By Tobin Harris, October 9, 2019

Managing Director at Pocketworks, app development specialists.

Building Effective Apps 

More and more businesses are using apps to improve their customer service and drive operational efficiency. Many are going through a “digital transformation” and making technology part of their DNA. Above all, they are using digital to be more competitive and offer a better customer experience. 

Based on what we’ve seen over the last few years, we thought it would be useful to show some ideas for what you could be doing in your business. Enjoy! 

Manufacturers making their physical products smarter 

If you’re a manufacturer, you can add digital “smarts” to your products in order to simplify their operation and add new capabilities. 

Examples of apps for IoT and manufacturers 

  • A Yorkshire based traditional plastic warehouse barrier manufacturer adding IoT sensors into their barriers. The barriers are then linked to a mobile app to give collision alerts and historical reporting. The “impact” data becomes a heat-map for danger hotspots. Therefore, the barrier becomes much more than a simple safety device. They become smart tools that can reduce accidents, damage and costs in the manufacturing warehouse.
  • A London based underground survey camera manufacturer linking their cameras to an app in order to improve the user experience. User can view live video, control camera direction and lights. By putting the brains and user interface of the device into a phone, the size of the product can shrink significantly. This makes it more versatile, portable and cost-efficient over time. 
  • A global label manufacturer is developing smart labels that can communicate via near field communication (NFC) with a mobile app. It uses the app to read and write what appears on the eInk label. This is being tested to streamline how clinical trials of new drugs are done in Pharma. 

Fleet operators streamlining how jobs are completed 

If you operate a fleet, you can optimise how mobile workers complete jobs, reduce unnecessary trips and speed up how information flows from the field back to base. 

Examples of apps for fleet operators 

  • A Yorkshire based plant hire company is using apps to reduce errors in workflows around inspection, job completion and drop off. This greatly reduces the admin work needed back at base, saving time and money. 
  • A Leeds based cable installer is using apps to conduct ground surveys. Surveyors can annotate CS maps and instantly share those with the back-office reducing time needed to perform the job by 40%. 

Self-service tools for employees to reduce the burden on HR teams 

Growing businesses with a lot of employees are using apps to provide self-service tools which give employees more transparency and up to date information. This reduces the burden on HR by automating processes. 

Examples of apps for employees

  • A national taxi fleet is creating a driver portal enabling drivers to see earnings and get paid. This reducing the burden on the head office and making the drivers feel more informed and empowered.
  • A large home builder is using apps to enable workforce holiday booking and view payslips. This is the foundation of a new suite of app services that enables this growing business to manage their work without increasing the burden on HR. 

Marketing teams digitising brochure and worksheet distribution 

A key driver for businesses adopting a digital-first approach is the sustainability kudos and green credentials which comes from reducing paper usage. Not only is it good for brand perception, but it’s also good for the environment. 

Examples of apps for marketeers

  • A Pharma company has replaced paper brochures used in face-to-face sales calls with iPads. The content hub allows them to distribute brochures, videos and images to people in the field. This means everyone is working from the most up-to-date information. This also speeds up distribution times, reduces print costs, and reduces the risk of expensive compliance claims due to inaccurate information being shown to customers.
  • A marine vehicle and components manufacturer is using iPads to distribute content to over 100 exhibitions around the world. This reduces the logistical nightmare of sending paper brochures and also reducing costs related to printing, postage and storage. 
  • A dental product manufacturer is using iPads to distribute training materials to external trainers around the world. Using a content hub they can ensure that trainers have the latest information at any time. 

Things to consider 

Digitise your paper forms and distribute them on a mobile device. This reduces the need for someone to do double-entry, reduces errors in data input and speeds up how information flows across your business. 

Consider building workflow apps to make the handling of those forms more intelligent. Information can then start to flow to the right people at the right time. With less need for human intervention, this saves time and cost. 

If you have a large number of employees, give them tools to self-service on things like holiday booking, viewing payslips and reporting sickness. This reduces the burden on HR. 

In manufacturing, consider adding sensors to your traditional products. This enables them to become valuable data sources that supplement their core capabilities. 

Shrink your electronics products significantly by moving the “brains” into an app and the cloud. 

In summary, digital-first will soon be the norm. Digital functions enable information to be input, stored and shared more efficiently and accurately, not just locally but globally. Digital products can help drive efficiency, and reduce paperwork burdens on teams across organisations. By adopting self-service portals, employees will often feel more empowered and responsible. This reduces the workload on other teams. Furthermore, it encourages accurate working practices across organisations, saving time and money.  

To find out about Pocketworks’ apps, and how we can help build products to suit your business, drop us a call on 0113 466 0302.