Top apps for mobile workers
Analyst Ashley Freeman reviews apps for keeping track of field workers
App developers have come up with all sorts of software to help construction workers in the field - from dispatching and invoicing, to GPS tracking and scheduling jobs. Not all apps are as useful as others, though.
With this in mind, US-based Software Advice has evaluated hundreds of apps to identify the most useful Android and Apple iOS options available for field service industry workers and the companies looking to keep track of where contracts, facilities or delivery staff are. Its market analyst, Ashley Furness, presents her guide to the most useful products in the market after comparing ratings, reviews, social shares, downloads and functionality. She eliminated any applications with fewer than three stars (or no ratings at all), those that were too industry- or geographically-specific.
Her run-down of some of the best apps in the marketplace starts here.
1. eWO Plus! Work Order Generator
Ratings: 4 stars with 3 ratings (Android)
eWO Plus! Work Order produces professional work slips for HVAC, telecom, aviation inspection and other field service workers. We liked the ease of use and instant export to PDF function. Instead of waiting until the technician is back at the office, your field worker can use this app to instantly send a PDF of their work slip to the customer.
Users can easily customize work slips with their own logos, addresses and contact information. Also, a signature tool allows the client to sign a slip right on the phone or tablet screen.
2. DispatchTrack Field Operations
Ratings: 5 stars, with 39 ratings.
This easy-to-use mobile tool feeds work status updates into the software so it can be managed and tracked from the office. Instead of manually plotting routes, the dispatcher uses a GPS-enabled drag and drop map to deliver optimal driving directions based on the technician’s location.
DispatchTrack also comes with a credit card swiper and two survey options. Plus, users can capture positive feedback in a widget that can be promoted on the company's website, Facebook or another Internet channel.
Ratings: 4.5 stars with 19 ratings (Android) and 3 stars with 11 ratings (iOS)
The web-based vWorkApp (available for Android and iOS) software syncs instantly with a technician's mobile apps for streamlined dispatching and work tracking.
We liked the GPS tracker that helps dispatchers assign jobs based on a technician's location. Each smartphone or tablet that downloads the mobile app shows up on the Web software map as a blue dot that moves in real-time with the worker’s location.
The dispatcher can then drag and drop jobs from a “not assigned” list onto the schedule. Instantly, the corresponding technician receives an alert to their mobile app that they have a new job. Once the worker hits the “accept” button, the job will change status in the Web software.
The mobile app also records the time and location stamp as the technician moves through the different job milestones: accept job, arrived at customer location, rendered service, payment received.
Ratings: 4 stars with 14 ratings (Android), 3.5 of 20 (iOS)
GeoOP (Available for Android and iOS) is perfect for smaller dispatchers with two to 100 workers in the field. The GeoOP mobile application works in concert with the company's cloud software for managing jobs, quoting, tracking time and materials, invoicing and inventory control. We liked how the home screen mimics the Facebook mobile app, providing immediately familiar navigation.
The technician can scroll through jobs by location, or by recently-viewed or completed jobs. The user can also hit “all” and scan through all their activities - similar to the Facebook news feed.
Users can add notes to each job in a variety of formats, including audio, photos, texts and attached files. The data is instantly backed up to the software and can be compiled in reports and exported.
5. FieldOne Mobile
Ratings: 3.5 stars with 16 ratings (Android), 3 stars with 9 ratings (iOS), 5 stars with 7 Software Advice ratings
This mobile application (available for Android and iOS) can accommodate hundreds of field workers and includes all of the standard service functions such as work order management, invoicing and schedules.
The welcome screen for the app looks and feels like common smartphone homescreens, so usability is highly intuitive. We particularly liked the integrated time clock feature. Workers can “punch” in and out from their mobile phones, so you can better track hourly-paid workers.
Technicians can also search part inventory and record materials for better inventory management. Each technician only sees the information that is relevant to the job, including step-by-step prompts for completing the work.
Ratings: 4 stars with 3 ratings
We liked Synchroteam’s (Available for Android or iOS) clean user interface. Mobile app users can easily scan through the day’s activities at a glance with jobs distinguished by colour code and simple text indicators.
Once the technician clicks on a job, they are taken to another easily scannable screen with address, description and contact information. The app is backed by Web-based software that dispatches, schedules, maps and compiles reports from job notes collected in the field.
7. TeleNav Track
Rating: 3.7 stars with 112 ratings (Android), 3.5 with 80 (iOS)
TeleNav (Available for Android or iOS) marries dispatch and mobile workforce management with cost-saving features. For example, the mobile GPS function not only monitors location, but also driving behaviour.
Users can monitor whether the employee speeds, idles excessively or follows an inefficient route. This information helps dispatchers to identify waste, correct the problem and reduce fuel costs. The worker also sees their driving behavior from the mobile app.
The route summary shows their average speed by street and identifies possible delays.
We liked the clean navigation screen that flags new activities with red indicators, so an employee immediately sees jobs that require immediate action.
8. MobileBiz Pro
Ratings: 4.7 stars of 317 ratings.
MobileBiz Pro doesn’t require a subscription to any other software. The application boasts an impressive 4.7 rating and has a large number of social shares relative to the number of downloads.
The company describes the application as a feature-rich sales and billing “must-have” for any small business that invoices in the field. It supports local taxes, currency and date formats. It also tracks customer balances, invoice cost and profit. It comes with built-in reporting, customisable templates and receipts.
Users complemented the professional-looking invoices and quotes. It’s an affordable alternative for field services companies that don’t require complex scheduling or dispatching.
Software Advice provides comparisons of other types of field software on its website. For more information, click here.
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