Knowing where your mobile resources are, where they had been, and where they should be to best manage the workload and improve response to customer demand is all a part of an MRM environment. Managing resources through time and space and incorporating real-time operational needs are the essential elements of MRM. MRM can be defined simply as the ability to track the progress of your mobile resources in real-time and assign the right job to the right resource with the right equipment in the right location at the right time. An easy way to remember this is to count "the five rights of MRM."

Since the defense department made its GPS signals available for commercial use in 1993, location-aware applications have flooded the market. Those have now hit the mainstream market. Most of these applications focus on real-time or near-real-time location tracking, mobile resources, as well as visually displaying a dot or series of dots on a geographic map to indicate their position. Many people in the geospatial industry define tracking as limited to location awareness. However, there is much more to it than that. Location awareness is one important element of tracking. Equally important is the ability to track progress against a given schedule, compliance to predefined business rules, and status of jobs, as well as use rule-based alarms when job assignments are at risk due to delays or other unplanned events.

Consider the following example. At the beginning of a trip, Resource crews log in remotely (wirelessly or wired) and receive their pre-assigned and pre-sorted assignments for the trip, with all the job details. Jobs can be sequenced based on location, best route or priority. By enabling remote access, field crews do not have to drive to the depot to get their daily assignments and schedules. In addition, the crew's time is optimized by basing the new assignments on jobs closest to their current location. Once all jobs have been dispatched, field supervisors are able to manage their crews more efficiently since real-time information is readily available from the field. To best mange crews, field supervisors need to be able to know:

  • the current location of field Assets (mobile resources)
  • Have the current status of the Assets.
  • Compare the real-time information to the already assigned schedules
  • Automatically send alarms when resources are falling behind schedule or when critical jobs are at risk (delay risk)
  • Manage resources in an adaptive (reactive) mode - if an urgent unplanned job comes in, supervisors have the ability to quickly assign it to the right resource with the right equipment in the right location at the right time and know the impact to the currently assigned schedule.
  • Be immediately informed when there is an emergency in the field.
  • Keep a full audit trail for playback functionality when looking for process optimization or even investigation of accidents.
MRM solutions provide functionality beyond the classic dots on maps or location information. An MRM solution allows an enterprise to best manage their field resources in time and space, adapt to real-time operational needs and provide real-time information of where their mobile resources are now, where have they had been, where they should be and how are they doing against their assigned schedules. Building an enterprise that extends its reach to the person in the field is the logical next step for an organization Technology is available to make it happen. It makes sense to use all of your assets, not just the ones within the parameters of your office.

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