No matter what business area you work in, the chances are that IT systems, packages or some form of software are essential to the way you do your work and are also, in many cases, the difference between success and failure.
The developments in technology in the past few years have been astonishing, with devices and services available now that could only have been dreamed of as little as ten years ago. Today many industries can’t live without them simply due to the fact that the capabilities are so immense that productivity has been increased, efficiency improved and this has helped to enhance the reputation of the business – in turn bringing in more customers and clients.
Even if you don’t think of a certain industry needing much in terms of IT resources, you’d actually be surprised just how much they rely upon them to complete a number of routine or everyday tasks. Let’s look at a few examples:
Supermarkets: barcode readers
We all know that the items we buy in the supermarkets come with barcodes on them, allowing the people on the checkout to scan them and the system to realise what it is and how much it costs, adding it to the overall bill. This technology needs to be very sophisticated, yet easy to adapt as prices change according to sell by dates, special offers and if the product is damaged, and then at the end of the sale it needs to return to the original price. The barcode readers on the checkout, therefore, need to be capable of reading and interpreting the product codes, and deciphering just what the item is and how much it costs.
Construction: document management
On a building site there is often a lot of paperwork that needs filling in by the project manager relating to the progress of the assignment and health and safety. These documents then need to be sent back to the head office which could be hundreds of miles away. With a postal system in place this could cause the whole project to grind to a halt for several days while you wait for signatures and paperwork to arrive. However, with document management software installed, workers can access files over the Internet, ticking boxes and electronically signing off each stage, meaning the project can continue and meet the deadlines put in place.
Customer Service: field service resource scheduling
When a customer rings the company to make an order, an enquiry or a complaint; they want to get the level of service that they expect. With resource scheduling software in place, the person dealing with the customer can note the location of the customer so that someone local can be sent to see them, the availability of certain staff on that day and the equipment they’re going to need to deal with the enquiry as efficiently as possible. This helps to maintain a high level of customer service, keeping customers happy and coming back in the future.
The motoring industry has benefited substantially from the use of satellite technology, in the form of tracking devices and satellite navigation. The trackers help the managers of fleets of vehicles to monitor the location of the vehicle to keep their clients happy by telling them the estimated arrival time, and also to inform the police of the location if the vehicle is stolen. Of course, satellite navigation systems help people get to and from their locations as easily as possible.
When workers arrive at an office, they probably have to check-in in some form so that the employers know who is in and out of work for their admin records and also in the event of a fire. You might also find that you need to hold a pass against a receiver to get through certain doors, and radio frequency identification, (RFID), is the method of choice for many, allowing only people with the right kind of permission to access that part of the building.