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How Can Digital Solutions Drive Productivity in the Construction Industry?

  Though there is an urgent need to improve infrastructure and the need for new construction remains red hot, research has shown that in some sectors of the construction industry, labor productivity has declined relative to overall economic productivity. Add this to the fact that large scale projects typically take 20 percent longer to finish and tend to run 80 percent over budget, it’s clear that it’s getting harder for those in the construction industry to consistently drive a profit. To address this challenge, many of the top players in the construction industry have looked for solutions in the digital realm. Here are several examples of how these companies are undergoing a digital transformation, becoming more productive and profitable in the process. Mobility Imagine not waiting for updated blueprints to arrive, or not having to shuffle through the previous week’s progress reports to get an idea of a project's current status. From equipment logs to procurement reports, much of the construction industry still relies on paper. If you stop to think about what it takes to manage the many parts of that paper trail, it’s no wonder projects go over budget and experience schedule delays. One of the biggest shifts in construction is moving to online communication and sharing processes that give real-time updates on information and data. Technology such as Building information Modeling (BIM) allows everyone involved with the project to have access to the same information wherever there is an internet connection. Simply put, digitization is a more effective and efficient way to collaborate on projects that have many loose parts and many different players. The Internet of Things In its 2017 industry trends report, Construction Dive foresees that the Internet of Things has the potential to revolutionize the job site. For instance, like the “check engine light” in your car, sensors that monitor and give information about when equipment needs to be serviced could go a long way toward preventing equipment failure and delays. Another aspect of this is labor tracking technology that monitors how much time is being spent on a project to manage labor inefficiencies, which directly correlates with the bottom line. Advanced analytics With all of this data generated from devices, the next question is how to manage the data and maximize digitized processes. The ultimate goal is to make the data accessible and formatted in a way that allows people to understand the various aspects of the job site or construction process with ease. This has spawned a whole industry in itself, with companies like Autodesk developing programs that help managers analyze data and helps contractors identify risks on the job site. Some companies use apps to train employees, monitor concrete delivery and the use of cranes. Other companies develop apps that allow crews to update progress on sites, giving managers a real-time snapshot of progress and cost. Driven by data and efficient processes, construction companies and managers are finding increasingly creative and sophisticated ways to leverage digital technology to become more competitive and more profitable.

50 Ways to Leave Your App Developer

  It's time to build apps yourself. Do you work at a business where there are inefficient forms being filled out with pen and paper? Or people have to come back to their desktop to fill in information? Or you don't have information that you want at your fingertips? You know the answer. A mobile app would really help you get more efficient and drive your business forward. Yet you fear all the horror stories with app development! Here's a lyrical encouragement to rid yourself of the pain, burden, cost, aggravation, and futility of hiring application developers and instead build those apps yourself. That's what the no-code platform revolution is all about. With a salute to Paul Simon (enjoy his music video at the end of the post), here goes... "The problem is all inside your head, she said to me The answer is easy if you take it logically I'd like to help you in your struggle to be free There must be 50 ways to leave your app developer" Maybe you hired an app development firm and they suggested it would take $50,000 to build an app and you negotiated that down to $30,000. But then it took many months and they produced this half-baked app that ran slowly and didn't do what you want. And when you wanted changes, they asked for money. And now you're stuck with your sunk cost and your half-complete app. "She said it's really not my habit to intrude Furthermore I hope my meaning won't be lost or misconstrued So I repeat myself, at the risk of being cruel There must be 50 ways to leave your app developer" Well, alright, how do you go about it? You know the apps you want. They connect to your existing business data, they run on your phone, they work offline, they allow you to make changes and collaborate with others on your team. Of course, you've been told that you need to hire an app developer, right? Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!  "Just slip out the back, Jack, make a new plan, Stan Don't need to be coy, Roy, just listen to me Hop on the bus, Gus, don't need to discuss much Just drop off the key, Lee, and get yourself free" You can build apps yourself. It will be faster (you'll be done in days), simpler (you'll do it yourself), cheaper (yes!), better for your business (it'll have the features you want), you'll live longer (far less aggravation) and you'll have fun (wait and see). "She said it grieves me so to see you in such pain I wish there was something I could do to make you smile again I said, I appreciate that, then would you please explain about the 50 ways" Use a no-code app platform. They are meant for people like you—and there are millions of people like you. Smart, motivated, know what your business needs, and with great ideas. A no-code platfom helps you translate those ideas into mobile apps. As the name suggests—you don't write code. You don't "program". You don't need to because these platforms help you describe your app and they generate the app from your description. "She said, why don't we both just sleep on it tonight And I believe, in the morning you'll begin to see the light And then she showed me AppSheet and I realized she probably was right " Yes, indeed I can recommend the best no-code platform around. It's called AppSheet and it's got more than 50 app features you can use. Give it a try today. 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover

5 Mobile Apps for Operation Managers

Well into the digital age, operations managers have come to see the value in leveraging the power of mobile technology by equipping workers in the field or those working remotely with custom-designed apps. These apps allow them to easily input data that can be used to better streamline operations. For a better look at how this is done, here is a look at how some of these apps can make workers more efficient, and in turn, lead to better business processes. Apps for capturing incidents The convenience of having an app that can record data, store photos and document workplace-related injuries, hazards or even near misses can go a long way to ensuring safety concerns are addressed. What’s more, such an app would have the convenience of storing all incidents in one location, thus making it easier to analyze trends and pinpoint reoccurring problems, which ultimately could lead to a safer workplace. Apps for teams in the field In the construction business, field workers can benefit from an app that allows simple data capture. This would allow you to track the progress on jobs, confirm deliveries through inputting signatures and receive real-time photo updates. Alternately, survey teams could use an app to collect field notes, such as GPS location, date and time, and accompany this information with photographs. Apps for delivery drivers Whether you do B2B, B2C or a combination of the two, keeping track of deliverables and services rendered is vital to maintaining strong relationships with your clients. A full-service app to track and assist in deliverables would include a convenient color coding system that lets you quickly know the status of an order (en route, delivered, etc.). A map function would provide directions to the driver and mark which locations have or have not received deliveries. It would also have a signature capture function to further streamline the process. Apps for managing workflow Anyone with experience overseeing projects that involve employees working in different locations knows how important it is to keep track of the workflow. Putting an app in everyone’s hands that allows them to update their assigned task and record information can help give a quick, detailed overview of where you are in the work process. Apps for production lines Production lines could also benefit from a specific type of workflow app. In this case, workers could clock in when they begin a task and out when they finish for the day (or go on lunch). This can give a real-time picture of how much time is going into particular projects and tasks, allowing you to more accurately forecast budgets. These are just a few examples of how operation managers could deploy mobile apps to better carry out the organization’s goals.

Key App Features Guaranteed to Attract Shoppers & Increase Your Sales

Do you know which app features are the most compelling for attracting shoppers and boosting sales? As retailers strive to be more compelling in an increasingly competitive market, they must rely on a number key app features that are drawing in shoppers left and right—and making the biggest impact on sales. Read through just a few of the most essential elements. Augmented reality:   Two good examples of the use of augmented reality features in mobile apps are Wayfair and Sephora. Wayfair rolled out an AR feature that allows shoppers to envision what their new furniture will look like in their home. WayfairView, the company’s first-party smartphone augmented reality application, available in Google Play. Developed by Wayfair Next, the company’s in-house research and development team, using Google’s technology, WayfairView allows shoppers to visualize furniture and décor in their homes at full-scale before they make a purchase.     “Wayfair Next is laying the groundwork for new innovations that will change the face of retail – all with first-party technology,” noted Steve Conine, co-chairman and co-founder, Wayfair. “By digitizing our vast catalog through 3-D scanning, we will dramatically improve the visualization of products to create the best possible shopping experience for our customers. With smartphone augmented reality, we can take this a step further. Built using Google’s robust Tango technology, WayfairView will allow shoppers to visualize furniture and décor in their homes by virtually placing real products from Wayfair’s extensive catalog in any room at full-scale.” Sephora allows user to apply filters to envision what their makeup will look like on their faces. The use of augmented reality in fashion helps provide a more seamless, cross-channel experience for customers who shop in-store and online. In the first eight weeks following the launch, 1.6 million customers have visited Sephora’s App and 45 million used Try-ons in the same period. The Virtual Artist mobile app allows customers to virtually test and purchase cosmetic items via their smartphone. The app allows users to “try on” lipstick shades or eyelash treatments using the front-facing camera on their mobile device.  When shoppers see a look they like, they can simply “add to basket” and purchase the items they have been modeling.     Gamification: As a society, we love gaming, and retailers who can incorporate gamification into their mobile apps are winning over customers who are addicted to the trend. Starbucks is a real winner when it comes to rewarding its customers via this technique. Starbucks rewards customers for purchasing drinks, offering discounted products for members who accumulate a certain number of points—keeping customers coming back for more. By collecting stars for each new purchase, customers can build points for free food and drinks, and unlock new rewards levels.   Beacons: In-store beacons detect when app users are nearby, alerting customers of in-store sales and offers. Beacon technology helps retailers boost in-store traffic with digital features. One successful example of beacon use is Levi’s, which has been using this feature for a while, but with mobile shopping on the rise, it has some big potential for the 2017.     “When properly used, beacon technology can be very effective, as it enables brands to capitalize on granular location data,” said Karen Pattani-Hason, director of agency relations at Urban Airship, New York. “Levi's can gather this data on their customers for use both in-store and for future campaigns. “Knowing where in-store their customers browse can provide invaluable insights on product preferences that can be used at a later date. This data could also be used to drive future traffic to stores, with relevant offers based on items the consumer has considered, based on Beacons location data.” Inventory visibility: One important use of mobile apps is to help shoppers know whether or not their desired items are in-stock or available for shipping when they want them, so inventory visibility features are crucial to keeping customers happy. AppSheet’s Store Inventory app can help small businesses to keep track of inventory items where the list is usually kept in spreadsheets with greater mobility to manage inventory and run inventory via mobile devices. The app also automatically enters dates and uses the phone/tablet camera as a bar code reader. Target and Walmart are pioneers of this feature, allowing shoppers to view the status of stock at specific locations. Having insight to this information can make or break a trip to the store for consumers. Target’s service was implemented by Washington-based tech company Point Inside, allows customers to see what’s in stock and where to find those items in the store. Shoppers can start their list using a type-head function that includes brand named items, and the app notifies customers where the product may be found in store and if it is in stock.     Walmart’s Search My Store feature also allows customers to search a particular store for specific items on their list, from electronics to groceries and more.  “Search My Store is a great example of how we are using core online capabilities, such as search, to address key pain points of our Walmart store customers,” a Walmart blog post explained. App Testing Helps Determine Success "Consumers spend more time shopping on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, than they do on desktops. To make matters more complicated, they access retail apps in a variety of different circumstances —while connected to spotty Wi-Fi, juggling between multiple devices, simultaneously running other power-hungry apps, and more. It’s hard to maintain a quality app experience through all of those variables. But through extensive app testing, companies can perfect the digital experience of their brand and stay up to speed in the competitive retail market,” explained Eran Kinsbruner, mobile technical evangelist at Perfecto. In order to ensure digital quality, apps and platforms need to undergo comprehensive pre and post-production testing across all of the unique popular devices in each retail industry. The first step is testing the functionality of the app, to make sure features and transactions are working properly and to proactively identify availability and other app issues.  Next, Kinsbruner says, developers need to “stress test the app, increasing server load in the testing environment to mimic heavy user traffic, as companies monitor for alerts in how the app handles it. These steps allow companies to detect issues with their app in real end-user conditions, before they become a problem—and lose a  customer.” “Brands that invest in a rigorous testing program can confidently bring their app to market with new features and functionality that are proven to provide a quality experience for their target audience. ….Without testing, there’s no guarantee apps will work properly for the high volume of users expected during [peak]seasons," concluded Kinsbruner. AppSheet offers a range of possibilities for retailers who are interested in making the most of their mobile retail apps.  See how AppSheet can help you integrate these key mobile app features to capitalize on sales.

With 80% Of Purchases Now Influenced By Mobile, Your Business Needs To Meet Demands

Increasingly, your customers, employees and service users expect a fast and intuitive mobile experience. Eighty percent of purchases are now influenced by mobile. If you fail to meet these expectations, users will quickly turn away. Meeting expanding customer expectations Research demonstrates that 62 percent of consumers expect a mobile friendly website, while 42 percent expect a mobile app, and 23 percent expect a location specific contextual experience.  Further, 86 percent favor mobile apps over mobile websites, and with 80 percent of purchases now influenced by the mobile channel for a projected $689 billion influence on sales, your business cannot afford to be left behind when it comes to mobile. A 2015 AppDynamics report An App Is Not Enough  found that consumer expectations of retail websites and mobile apps are evolving in response to the growth of mobile and emerging technologies, with 70 percent of consumers stating that the performance of a mobile app impacts their perception of the retailer. Further, two thirds of consumers said they would reconsider shopping with a retailer if they had a negative experience with its app. That places greater pressure on brands to deliver flawless app performance to keep their customers happy. “As the lines between work and personal, digital and physical, continue to blur, retailers must ensure their apps function at all times across multiple platforms in order to retain and nurture always-on consumers,” said Jyoti Bansal, founder and CEO of AppDynamics. “Technology has transformed the retail landscape significantly over the past decade, and now more than ever, software defines business success – with revenue and reputation often hinging on customer interactions with apps.” Providing seamless cross-channel experiences “Today’s consumers expect a seamless shopping experience across online and offline channels, with minimal friction points,” said Paul Hobbs, head of e-commerce at Shop Direct. “This puts increased pressure on retailers to innovate, using the latest technologies to improve and augment the online e-commerce journey so it delivers the thrill of visiting the high street in a more convenient way. As an example, Very.com has recently introduced image recognition technology that allows shoppers to take photos of clothes they like and search for similar styles across the brand’s product range.” “At the same time, mobile continues to play an integral role in increasing online sales – allowing consumers to shop when they want, how they want, and on any device,” Hobbs continued. “With retailers using a combination of technologies to deliver a competitive and flawless experience to shoppers, ensuring the performance of these applications is mission-critical.” Tips For Creating A Top Mobile Experience There were 2.1 billion mobile phones and tablets sold around the world in 2014, and by 2020 there will be a projected 200 billion connected devices. Here are some tips to help create a successful mobile experience that is fast, intuitive, and satisfies the demands of your customers. Start with a clear mobile strategy that aligns all internal stakeholders. Identify the user journey, defining the phases of their experiences from beginning to end to understand their context. Build personals and clearly identify your audience. Clearly define business goals that you are trying to achieve via the app. Is it boosting loyalty, sales conversions or recommendations? Identify the analytics to track and drive feature prioritization to ensure you are meeting your established business goals. Set a feature roadmap. This helps create the optimal user experience. Build with iterative development that connects all internal and external data points. Once your app is complete, don’t forget to use analytics to track and improve your app continually to ensure continued user satisfaction and cohesion to business goals. From beginning to end, the process of bringing your mobile app to life should be thoughtful, calculated, and specific,  tailored to your audience and  your business’ goals. AppSheet can help your business create simple, user-friendly mobile apps that are customized to meet your specific goals.

These Apps Could Improve Productivity at your Nonprofit

Managing a nonprofit often means operating on a shoestring. There’s not always the budget to streamline processes or outsource tasks to specialists. You have to make do with what you’ve got and be creative about finding solutions. That means everyone has to pitch in to get things done.  Often it’s the small or seemingly insignificant tasks that end up taking the longest. You can spend hours every week updating social media or sending emails late at night to keep your team updated.  With a few simple apps, you could potentially clear hours in your week to focus on the big picture strategy and really making a difference. Spread the Word Managing social media can be a time sucker, but it’s absolutely essential for nonprofits to keep communication channels open. An active social media presence means you are continually building awareness and encouraging word of mouth promotion of your cause.  And of course, social sharing is key to successful fundraising these days.  There are numerous tools to help you manage all your social feeds, but one of the most highly featured and reputable is Hootsuite. Hootsuite has the advantage of mobile and tablet apps which mean you can manage your social media strategy wherever you are.  With Hootsuite you can compose and schedule posts on 35 social networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google and Instagram right from your phone. You can engage with direct messages and shares, track performance, and get performance reports, all under the free option.  There are many other social media tools like Buffer which is great for scheduling and broadcasting messages across multiple platforms, and Sprout Social, which has an intuitive interface but no free option. This great analysis gives you a rundown of all the pros and cons of these and other social media management tools. Create Beautiful Images It can be tough for nonprofits to present a professional visual front without a big graphic design budget. These days if you don’t have in-house design skills, you can fill the gap very nicely with an app that does the job for you. Canva is one such app that lets you create gorgeous graphics and documents without any design experience.  Available as an iPad app, you can use simple drag and drop features and standard layouts to whip up a presentation, invitation, poster or collage in minutes. With templates for Facebook, Instagram, Google and Twitter, it’s easy to make a big impact on social media. PicMonkey is another app that nonprofits can use to turn any photo into a beautiful shareable collage, quote or promotion for maximum impact.  With PicMonkey on your phone you can snap an image, add filters and text, and update your social media feeds in moments. Connect Your Teams With so much to do, it’s important for nonprofits to keep staff engaged and excited. A big part of this is to make sure team members feel like they’re part of a united community with a common, important goal.  This is especially relevant if the team is distributed geographically rather than sitting together in the same office every day.  Slack is a desktop, tablet and smartphone platform that can keep people connected and get the conversation flowing.  It’s a messaging and communications app for teams with a free option that would work for most nonprofits, and only a few dollars a month for advanced features and unlimited storage. You can set up a channel for each team, project or office location and share documents and files that you want to discuss. One of the great things about Slack is that you can carry on conversations across multiple devices.  You can share a file at home using your laptop and get feedback later when you’re out with your smartphone. Manage Tasks and Calendars If you’re using Slack at your nonprofit to keep communication channels open, a great option is to add a productivity app like Kyber directly into Slack. Kyber lets you set up to-do lists, assign tasks, create appointments and manage projects right within Slack.  If you have fairly simple workflows and tasks to manage, then this could be your free, one-stop productivity tool. Another good option is Trello which uses lists, cards and checklists to help you manage projects collaboratively. It’s accessible across all devices and lets your team collaborate effectively to deliver even the most complex projects. There’s a free option that may do everything you need or for $10 a month you get advanced features and deep integration with other tools like Mailchimp and Salesforce. Streamline Productivity Even with all these great apps, every nonprofit has unique situations that they need to manage. Perhaps you oversee a team of volunteer drivers that pick up donations around town, or you need to schedule home visits and keep track of client health or support needs.  Most of the time you’d be lucky to find an existing app to meet your specific needs and no doubt you’ve come up with paper systems or spreadsheets that do an OK job.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could convert these systems to simple apps that streamline workflows and make your teams more efficient?  At AppSheet we provide a platform that lets you turn spreadsheets into simple apps within hours, with no programming experience.   By standardising processes you can ensure no-one is re-inventing the wheel each time a task comes up again. An app can help you document what works best and direct everyone through the process.  The right app can help everyone on the team gain access to the information they need and be crystal clear about what has to be done.  We’ve created a number of standard apps to show you what’s possible. Could your non-profit benefit from an app that simplifies these tasks: Schedule drivers to pick up or drop off Items Enter locations and pick up details so that drivers can quickly check in and see what’s been assigned to them. A great way to replace printed or emailed delivery lists or ad-hoc job scheduling on the fly. See the Driver Dispatch Sample App. Capture details of orders, sales or donations Enable staff and volunteers at multiple locations to enter details of orders, sales or donations into a single app. You can see at a glance how you’re tracking against target and use the data to make on the fly decisions to manage resourcing and stock levels. See the Order Capture Sample App. All of these apps can be downloaded and customised, or you could get started with your favourite spreadsheeting platforming and create your own. You may even have an existing spreadsheet that you’d love to convert to an app. Check out the amazing benefits of converting your spreadsheet to an app.   Track staff and volunteer hours Instead of juggling timesheets or updating a spreadsheet manually once a week, staff and volunteers can enter their own hours into this simple timesheet app each day. You’ll have all the data at your fingertips without the hours of administration.  See the Time Sheet Sample App. Train team members and new starters How many hours do you spend running through systems and procedures with new staff or volunteers?  A simple training app could consolidate all that valuable knowledge and information in one, easy to update location. Trainers could use the app to coach new teams on site, or team members could simply access the app to learn at their own pace. See the Employee Training Sample App. Share a Contact Directory Do your teams have lists of useful contact numbers on printed pages at their desks, or on sticky notes around their monitors? How often do you have to refer to an old email or document to find the number you’re looking for?  What if you could consolidate all of these numbers in a central contacts app that everyone can access? See the Contact Directory Sample App Using apps to streamline processes can make a huge difference to productivity at your nonprofit. Apps like Hootsuite, Canva and Slack can simplify processes and help you and your team get things done in less time. Add to this a suite of custom apps to meet your nonprofit’s specific and unique needs, and you’ll unearth hours of additional time every week to devote to making a real difference in people’s lives.    

Tips for Creating a Successful E-Commerce App

According to Entrepreneur.com, “In 2016, 2017 and 2018, sources say the total projected U.S. retail ecommerce sales will come in around $392.5, $440.4, and $491.5 billion, respectively.” While technology is making the global marketplace smaller and increasingly accessible, it is also making competition extremely fierce. To create a successful e-commerce business, it takes more than a great product to attract and keep customers. Mobile app development can help you to run both the front and back end of your business to ensure that your customers are having a great user experience and that you are running your business efficiently. A/B Testing With the many website creators available online, it can be tempting to throw one together in a day and post it live. However, if your product needs some adjustments, the price points are too high or the website isn’t appealing, you’ll actually be losing customers instead of building a faithful clientele. Creating a mobile app and organizing the different parts of your business can aid in establishing a strong voice and appeal to your potential customers. As Wikipedia explains, “on an e-commerce website the purchase funnel is typically a good candidate for A/B testing, as even marginal improvements in drop-off rates can represent a significant gain in sales. Significant improvements can sometimes be seen through testing elements like copy text, layouts, images and colors.” From there you can take notes on your app to determine what was most appealing, what could use more brainstorming and which areas you should work on to stand out in the crowd. Asking your customers what’s important to them and testing different incentives or products will give you valuable insight that most certainly will surprise you. These one-on-one conversations and personal interactions may just change the way you present your business and increase your chances for success! Mobile Storefront Innovation is only limited by imagination, and it’s truly mind boggling to consider the plethora of apps available. Some recent ones that are gaining in popularity are e-commerce storefronts that run from downloadable apps. Many boutique-like businesses are popping up displaying specially curated outfits, handmade accessories, or a collection of the most popular electronics that can be purchased from just one site. These mobile catalogs have Instagram-like images, succinct descriptions, and click-to-pay options that make shopping fast, convenient, and increasingly popular. (PracticaleCommerce.com has some great examples to gather ideas from as you build your mobile storefront.) Don’t Stop Evolving Regardless of your product or service, there are countless ideas that probably cross your path on a daily basis. With an app creator, you can input and sort your ideas on the go and access them when you are ready to work on a specific project. For example, if you own an online women’s boutique and you’re perusing the mall, you could take pictures of the latest trends, styling ideas or inspiring ways to photograph your products. You may want to note prices, special offers, and incentives that are bringing in the customers. When you are ready to make your next purchase order or have a photo shoot scheduled for the upcoming season, you can scan through your app to get fresh ideas and to brainstorm new possibilities. “Successful entrepreneurs never stop learning. You always have to think of different ways to spark your creativity. Sometimes going outside of your own industry will help you develop an idea. Consumer behavior and tastes change often and you need to stay ahead of the trends to ensure business survival,” explains Jose Costa in The Huffington Post. Being an e-commerce entrepreneur is wrought with challenges, but the rewards are only limited by one’s ability to learn, adapt and adjust. E-commerce apps are allowing daring business people to connect with larger audiences and manage their company from anywhere in the world. With such powerful tools available, we are undoubtedly at the beginning stages of mobile commerce.

4 Ways Restaurants are Using Mobile Apps

  Running a restaurant has to be one of the most difficult enterprises to run. Not only is the competition fierce and the workday incredibly long, but unlike many businesses in commerce, the product has a short, distinct shelf life. In addition, you are required to be a business genius along with having the superpower of accommodating hundreds of personalities between your staff and your customers. App creators can be a lifeline to help with the plethora of responsibilities that come with running a restaurant. Here are a few ways to incorporate them into your daily operations. 1. Shopping Lists  The New York Times reports that, “a third of all the food produced in the world is never consumed, and the total cost of that food waste could be as high as $400 billion a year. Reducing food waste from 20 to 50 percent globally could save $120 billion to $300 billion a year by 2030.” Many restaurants also find themselves in the same predicament. A spreadsheet app can help you to determine your most popular dishes and those not-so-popular ones so that you can generate an accurate shopping list to eliminate wasted food and dollars. Moreover, as you shop farmer’s markets or connect with vendors boasting of fresh produce, you can create your menu and send it to your chef to start brainstorming and perfecting the day’s recipes. 2. Vendor Lists  LocalHarvest.org sites that the average commute for fruit and vegetables in the United States is 1500 miles. This obviously compromises the quality and freshness of the product. Buzzwords that are becoming more and more popular are “organic” and “local”. They are equated with high quality, better health, supporting the surrounding economy, and being environmentally responsible. Not only are these traits intrinsically admirable, but are great for your restaurant’s marketing strategy. A contact list app can help you to connect with your local farmers and suppliers to get the ingredients that are freshest and in season. When they have an abundance of ingredients, you also get the most competitive prices. You can arrange pick-up or drop-off times, visit the sites to confirm product quality, or meet onsite to request specific orders (beyond produce, consider local  bakers to make specialized rolls for your sandwiches, brewers to put unique beers on tap, or patisseries for elegant desserts).   3. Employee Scheduling We’ve all been to restaurants when they have been short-staffed. Even if the food is great, poor service can leave a bad taste in the customer’s mouth. Ensure that every experience is great in your restaurant, including both the front and the back of the house. Timesheet apps can show who is working, when they have checked in, and supply an area for notes to possibly help the next shift. If you are off site, you can be aware of what is going on in the restaurant to give you peace of mind or to call other staff members to fill in the gaps. 4. Catering Options When you are meeting with a potential catering customer, you want to put your best foot forward by showing them the variety of your menu and the stellar presentations of your courses. With a customized app, you can show pictures of past catering events, take notes on dietary restrictions or requests, calculate an invoice, process a credit card down payment, and have a signature capture option for your client to sign a contractual agreement. Regardless if you meet with the guest at the event location or in the front of house, you can have all the information and tools with you wherever your meeting takes place.       Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s, once said, “It all comes back to the basics. Serve customers the best-tasting food at a good value in a clean, comfortable restaurant, and they'll keep coming back.” A spreadsheet-based app can make something that sounds that simple but is incredibly hard to do become attainable. Creating apps specific to your restaurant’s needs will allow you to better manage the innumerable tasks of running a restaurant while helping you to make your dream a success.  

Quick Adoption of Mobile Apps and Solutions in Manufacturing is Essential

Many manufacturing environments are dealing with outdated equipment, regulations, aging workforce, lack of innovation, along with many other barriers. These environments often pose several challenges and hazardous situations, where mobile innovation could potentially change the course of workflows and processes.  Mobile in manufacturing Per Business Solutions magazine, a VDC Research survey has found that the amount of mobile connections at global factories will double within the next year. This research also shows that companies are beginning to automate processes in hazardous manufacturing environments, and mobile apps have the potential to significantly improve safety and productivity. The survey cites that companies are are using the following criteria for selection of apps: quality/reliability (44 percent); price (30 percent); security features (27 percent); operating system (27 percent); battery life (25 percent); and ruggedness/drop protection (16 percent). Innovation and Opportunity There is tons of opportunity and room for growth for both technology vendors and manufacturing companies as well. Mobile not only has the potential to connect employees, but also provides the reliability and offline access that many manufacturing companies need every day. However, the key to success is moving quickly, as those who do not innovate will get left behind as companies quickly adopt solutions that solve their challenges. Read Business Solutions' full article here: Overcoming Technology and Market Barriers To Use Mobile Apps.