A generation ago, the Global Position System, or GPS, sounded like something out of a sci-fi movie—a network of satellites orbiting the earth that tracks the movement of persons, vehicles, and shipments with high accuracy and reports these movements to receivers on earth. But now GPS is everywhere, with GPS-enabled smartphones exponentially increasing the reach of this technology.
Originally designed for the military and intelligence communities at the height of the Cold War, GPS is now utilized by virtually every industry to track vehicles and optimize routes. Airlines, shipping companies, and companies with drivers all utilize GPS systems. But the greatest expansion of GPS has come via the everyday consumer. Need to take a trip? Need to find the closest coffee shop? Need to find an ATM? Use Google Maps or Apple Maps or any number of GPS-driven apps on your phone. Need a ride? Lyft wouldn’t function without GPS.
Lets face it, GPS is here to stay. The question is, how will you leverage GPS to boost your business? If you have employees that carry smartphones and drive as part of their job, fully utilizing GPS technology can be simple, straightforward, and rewarding. Here are three ways to do it:
- Tap into Free GPS Productivity Apps
GPS chips are embedded in virtually all new mobile phones. These modern smart phones have made it easy to leverage GPS technology by integrating the apps that utilize location services for mapping and directions. On top of ubiquitous apps like Google Maps and Apple Maps, there are many personal productivity apps that can assist your mobile employees. One of the most popular productivity apps is Waze. Waze is a free app that provides directions, traffic reports, and even cheaper gas that is on your route. Other helpful free apps include YourMechanic (for quickly finding a good auto repair shop while on the road) and GasBuddy (if you just want an app for comparing gas prices).
- Use GPS for Mileage Capture
Historically, mobile employees have had problems with reporting mileage for driving either a personal vehicle or a company car. It was a manual process that was extremely time consuming. Time that could be used toward revenue generating activities was being spent counting miles. Mobile GPS apps have paved the way for automated, accurate, and easy mileage capture that could be used to streamline reimbursement policies and personal-use chargeback policies for company cars. The days of logging trips, then calculating mileage and finally reporting mileage are gone, GPS mileage capture is the 21st century mileage log.
- Use GPS to Support CRM
Customer relations management, or CRM, is an important part of any business, and mobile employees often represent the primary point of contact for a business’s customers. But these employees often find keeping track of appointments, client information, outcomes, and other important data to be laborious, leading to insufficient use of CRM tools. However, with the widespread use of smartphones, apps now exist that can leverage GPS for a combination of navigation, mileage capture, tracking of business activity, scheduling, client information, and more.
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