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: