BLOG 3 Ways Paper is Drastically Driving Up Labor Costs that Mobile Forms Solve

3 Ways Paper is Drastically Driving Up Labor Costs That Mobile Forms Fix
By: Shannon Corgan, WorkMax Marketing Director

 

You already know the Top 10 Paper Forms Challenges because you live and breathe them every day and you know that you’re sacrificing the accuracy that you want with paper forms, but have you sat down to think about how Paper is affecting your labor costs? Here are three ways you're driving up your labor costs by continuing to use paper forms instead of mobile forms: 

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Wasted Time Distributing Paper Forms – When you get a paper form back in the office, more than one employee needs access to the information. This requires additional work to get the right forms and documentation to the right people in your company. This involves scanning the paper form into a digital format and naming the file. Your office staff has to set up a good way of organizing the forms by the employee that submitted the form, by form name, by the client name, or by job location. When you’re saving these digital forms, you really only have one way to organize and find them. Additionally, if there were any photos, sketches, or videos taken that support the paper form, all of those have to be saved and carefully named to hope you can find them if you ever need them in the future.  Once your office employee has the digital form with all of the supporting documentation, he/she has to remember which project managers, safety officers, accounting employees, and management staff he/she needs to email the information. If you have 40 service workers that complete 8 work orders per day, it would take your office worker about 3 minutes to scan the paper form, save it, name all the files, and email it with all of the supporting photos, videos, and sketches. If your office worker’s hourly rate is $15 per hour, this manual process is costing you $62,500 per year. WorkMax mobile FORMS, you can capture and embed all the photos, videos, and sketches in your mobile form. There are no separate photos or video files to save and name. As soon as the mobile form is completed and synced, it can be set up in advance to send particular forms to all the right people inside and outside of your company automatically. If you ever need to find a form at a later date to send, it is easy to find the form based on any of the fields that are on the form. You can find it by the employee that completed it, the date they completed it, the project name or location, or the form name using all of the criteria to find it instantly. The possibilities are endless.  All the photos, videos, or sketches are embedded in the mobile form, so you have everything you need and to easily distribute completed forms today or 10 years from today.

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Time Delays – Managing a mobile workforce and collecting all of the critical business information to run your business can be quite a challenge. First, you have to make sure you have enough paper copies of the forms at all of your remote work locations to ensure that the employees are providing you what you need. If you don’t have a job trailer at each job location with a printer, that means that someone has to deliver all the forms to all of the job locations. In addition, once the forms are completed, one of your supervisors has to collect all the forms and return them to the home office or each of the employees are adding time to their time cards driving the forms to the home office. It’s surprising how quickly the cost could add up. If you had each of your 40 mobile employees going out of their way to drive paper forms to the home office with an extra 30 minutes of labor time once a week at an hourly rate of $20 per hour, you’re driving up your labor costs by $20,800 annually with paper. Imagine if you had your employees driving to your office every day to pick up their work orders rather than driving directly to the customer’s location when it’s closer to their home. By using paper for your daily progress reports, you could also be driving up your labor costs. If daily progress reports aren’t getting back to the home office until late in the day, you could be paying premiums to add additional labor to the job for the next day to keep your project on schedule. WorkMax mobile FORMS eliminates any time delays getting information back to the office. The mobile forms are submitted in real time from any mobile device from anywhere and at any time. Your mobile forms have the most up-to-date fields to collect all the data on the forms. This means you no longer have employees delivering paper forms to the job locations. The supervisors and employees don’t need to drive to the office to turn in their completed forms or pick up their work orders.

3 Grey green whiteExtra Labor Hours Documenting Photos, Photo Markups, and Videos - When you have your mobile employees documenting the status of their projects, it’s always helpful to capture photos with the ability to mark them up or videos to show the work that they’ve done. When you’re completing progress reports or work orders, your employees fill out the paper form and take pictures and videos. They can't mark up the photos without printing them out, marking them up and scanning the photo with markups into a digital file. At times file sizes of the photos or videos can be too large to email or send via text messaging. When this occurs, the employee has to go to the office and connect their camera or mobile smartphone to a computer to download the images.The pictures and videos have to then be organized by each project, name them and date them. If they are using cameras in the field, they have to download the photos onto a computer and manually send them to the office with descriptions. All of these steps to provide the best documentation to your customers, but all these manual steps add more labor hours to your budget. The paper forms and photos are separate files and to see what’s really going on in the field, you have to open each individual file. If your employees don’t stay on top of organizing this data in a timely manner, you could have missing photos and videos or photos and videos saved to the wrong projects. It’s a lot of extra time for your field staff and your office staff to manage the process. If you paid an office employee $15/hour and she spent two hours a week organizing all the photos and videos and associating them with the right projects from all the forms and photos sent from the field, it may only cost you $1,560 per year. But when you look at the one hour per week that your 40 field employees with an hourly rate of $20 could be spending either in the office downloading the images and photos and videos because they couldn’t email them, you are wasting $41,600 in labor costs. This doesn’t even include the labor hours for the time these employees have to commute to the office to download the photos or videos. This $41,600 labor cost could be eliminated with mobile forms and allow your employees to be doing more billable work. With WorkMax mobile FORMS, there is no need for all of these extra steps. WorkMax mobile FORMS embed the photos with markups and videos as part of the work order or daily progress report forms to automatically organize everything for you. You can see all of the work orders with all the detailed photos with markup and video documentation you need to easily find what you need. WorkMax mobile FORMS allows you to find all of your forms by form type, project name or number, by location, or work order type. If the fields are in your forms, you can do a global search by any criteria to find what you need quickly to reduce your labor hours.

To learn more about WorkMax mobile FORMS, view our video or see a demo-on-demand video now!

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BLOG Top 3 Paper Form Accuracy Issues Solved with Mobile Forms

Top 3 Paper Form Accuracy Issues Solved with Mobile Forms

By: Shannon Corgan, Director of Marketing 


For businesses with a mobile workforce, most struggle with getting accurate documentation from the field. Since most businesses started with good old paper forms, they continue to use them without stopping to take a look at what it is costing their business in terms of accuracy. Sometimes business owners take for granted the labor hours that are expended processing these paper forms and the additional labor hours that are spent because of the problems associated with paper forms. Getting accurate information from the field to the office is critical to keep your business compliant, to expedite billing and invoicing, and optimize your efficiency. Here are top three accuracy issues related to paper forms:

 

Missing Data

Missing Information on Forms –There are a few reasons why it happens. Unfortunately, when you’re relying on humans, there’s always human error. You may have an employee that’s not detail-oriented, but they’re great at their job. Out in the field, it’s more likely that your employee is going to get distracted and overlook a field on your paper forms. It could also be that they don’t understand what you’re looking for, so they would rather leave it blank than put in the wrong information. Getting accurate information is important when it comes to completing work orders and safety forms. The longer it takes to get all of the right information to bill or invoice your clients, the longer it takes to get payment from them. When it comes to safety, you want to make sure you have all the fields on the safety forms filled out to be compliant with OSHA reporting timeframes. All of these issues with paper forms can be solved with a mobile forms solution. With WorkMax mobile FORMS, you can make fields required on a mobile form to make sure you get all the right information on a form to be compliant, ensure the accuracy of work orders to expedite billing, and save your office staff time. They no longer have to waste their time on phone calls, texts, and emails to field employees to get the missing information on the forms.


No Control

Can’t Control the Data Format – One of the biggest issues with paper forms is that you can’t control how employees enter the information on the paper form. When employees misunderstand the information you’re asking for, they write in what they think is the correct response. The end result is that you’re STILL not getting accurate information. With paper forms, you’re always trying to fit your forms on one page to save on paper costs and increase your chances that your employees fill out the whole form. It also makes it difficult to do any reporting on the information on the form because the data that employee enters isn’t in a standardized format. Also, doesn’t it seem that as soon as you print a form, it is out of date? Don’t you feel like you’re constantly having to print and redistribute forms because you frequently have to update them? With WorkMax mobile FORMS, you can instantly update pick list options or fields on a form, so that your employees are filling out the most current form and you get the data you need. With WorkMax mobile FORMS, you can use many types of different field types to control how employees enter information into a form to improve data accuracy. WorkMax mobile FORMS lets you set up pick lists, multiple choice pick lists, and formula fields for accurate calculations to provide you with the most accurate information.

 

Illegible Handwriting Signature

 

 Illegible Handwriting – Everyone hates filling out forms, because it takes too long, right? This causes people to rush when they’re filling out forms and their handwriting becomes unreadable. They also rush because they also feel like they have higher value job duties that are related to their productivity to perform. They want to get back to what they deem is their work for the day. Very similar to the missing information on forms, if you can’t read it, then it’s just as bad as having no information at all. With Workmax mobile FORMS, the only handwriting you have on a form is their signature, and it doesn’t matter if you can’t read that. WorkMax mobile FORMS takes care of all of the problems of illegible handwriting on paper forms because all of the text fields are typed in, so there’s no messy handwriting.

 

 

   

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UPDATE ON REGULATIONS 2

Federal Overtime Rule from 2016, Is It Dead for Hourly Employee Time Tracking?

By: Shannon Corgan, WorkMax Marketing Director 


Have you been wondering what’s going on with the 2016 Department of Labor (DOL) overtime rule that was supposed to go into effect December 1, 2016?

The current minimum salary an employee can be exempt from overtime pay is $23,660 a year and the new overtime rule would have made the salary minimum $47,476 a year. This means that 4.2 million workers between $23,660 and $47,476 annual salary could begin earning overtime pay when they worked more than 40 hours in a week. Currently, the 4.2 million workers between the current minimum salary threshold and the newly proposed minimum annual salary threshold of  $47,476 are currently exempt from receiving overtime pay.

Within hours of the new overtime rules effective date of December 1, 2016, a federal court injunction was issued. Finally, the DOL decided in June 2017 to stop fighting the federal court injunction for the new overtime rule. Most of the pushback to the new overtime rule came from businesses. If the new overtime rule was put into effect, businesses were concerned about the financial impact of paying overtime for the first time to employees that were previously exempt from overtime pay.   

On July 26th, 2017 the DOL issued a Request for Information (RFI) to ask employers and employees to offer feedback regarding the new overtime rule proposed in 2016. Comments were accepted until September 25, 2017, but you can still read the comments that were posted. In reviewing several hundred of the over 140,000 comments, many of the comments posted on the RFI overwhelmingly favoring an increase in the salary threshold to $47,476. Here's one of the most common posts to the RFI:  

"Back in 1975, President Gerald Fords Labor Department set the salary level for overtime exemption at the equivalent of about $58,000 in today's dollars high enough to cover more than 50 percent of full-time salaried workers. The Obama-era rule set it at $47,476 high enough to cover about 34 percent of full-time salaried employees but lower than the level that it was in the 1970s. That's why the salary threshold should be at least $47,476; and without indexing, the overtime pay rule will continue to erode and not keep pace with inflation.

When fully implemented, this updated rule extends overtime eligibility to 4.9 million more working people and makes it harder for employers to deny overtime to another 7.6 million working people who are already eligible.

I urge the Department of Labor to implement the new overtime rule, keep the salary threshold at least $47,476 and keep the indexing to protect the rights and wages of working people. The whole point of having national standards is to ensure decent basic standards for all workers. The updated overtime standard is already linked to the lowest-wage Census region. Workers rights and wages should not be undercut even further by weakening the salary threshold."


With the DOL no longer fighting the federal court injunction of the new overtime rule and their Request for Information regarding the overtime rule, where are we now and what can we expect? It’s most likely that the DOL will go back to the drawing board and propose an increase in the salary threshold above the current minimum of $23,660, but it’s doubtful that they will raise the minimum salary threshold to $47,476. Additionally, they will also give employers more time to comply with the new overtime rules compared to 2016. During Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta’s Senate confirmation hearing in March, he thought the correct threshold might be around $33,000 and stated the expansion of the 2016 federal overtime rules went too far and exceeded its authority. Based on the Labor Secretary's statement in his Senate confirmation hearings and looking at the comments from the RFI, we should all expect to see some changes coming in the near future, so you should start your planning now. 

 

To learn how to simplify your overtime calculations and automate employee time tracking, view a demo or watch a video. 

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