Here are some productivity enhancing solutions that will take advantage of and expand the capabilities of your mobile devices.

Field iD is a safety compliance solution, based in the cloud, that uses a combination of software, smartphones, tablets, rugged handheld devices and the Internet to automate safety compliance inspection and secure asset identification. It features preformatted checklist templates and the ability to create a customized template using the integrated checklist wizard. 

A user-friendly interface facilitates inspections and audits on the touch screen of most any mobile device (laptop, iPad, iPhone, Android based smartphones and tablets). If the device is offline, the data will sync to the subscriber's online account seamlessly upon reconnection online.

The system, which permits access to safety data in real time, 24/7, also allows safety professionals to use RFID tags and barcodes to simplify and speed up identification and automate safety inspections. (Field iD is also fully compatible with traditional serial numbers.)

Users can set up one time or recurring inspection and audit schedules, as well as custom inspection and audit schedules based on the type of asset and for whom the inspection or audit is being performed. Each unique serial number can be read automatically and all collected data is stored within a secured hosting infrastructure, with daily data backups. According to the software developer, records are always available for review by safety managers, compliance officers and inspectors.

The solution supports both pass/fail inspections and scored inspections with slide scales and customizable criteria.

Field iD includes GPS capabilities that enable visibility as to where an inspection or audit was performed. The software also has the ability to set up custom e-mail distribution lists to alert customers and/or team members of upcoming or overdue inspections or audits. It also features various types of customizable reports and asset management capabilities, including full check-in/check-out functionality from a tool crib or general store. Users can assign an asset to a location or to a person.

Recommendations and deficiencies are identifiable during inspections and can be prioritized for corrective or preventive action. Digital checklists are available at the click of a button. 

Two mobile office apps

With the fast expanding range of available business task-specific apps, "have smartphone" is, increasingly, the first item on many a contractor's pack-in-pocket checklist before leaving home in the morning. Here are two apps for smartphones that can give customers and others the appearance you are in the office when you aren't — and you the functionality you'd have if you really were.

eVoice is a small business phone service that can be used with any phone, mobile or landline. eFax is an online fax service that can be used with any mobile phone. Both are subscriber based and carry sliding monthly fees.

eVoice allows you to choose your own phone number or any number from a wide selection of local or toll-free business phone numbers and routes calls to any mobile phone, home phone or desk phone. Features of eVoice include call screening, call routing, and transcription of voice mails. Clients and vendors are greeted by a professionally recorded custom greeting message and customized menu options. The auto attendant creates the appearance of multiple departments and employees. Call screening requiring the caller to state his or her name can help in prioritizing calls, with high priority calls earmarked for answering "live" and low-priority calls sent to voicemail. After a voicemail message is left, the message is transcribed to text and delivered via e-mail and/or text (making it easy to review, forward to others to act on, or file for future reference), along with the original audio file.

You can set up employee extensions and create departments, such as sales, marketing, and accounting, and can forward calls to multiple phones simultaneously or in a specific order. There are also options to set up a dial-by-name directory and to maintain a speed dial list online in your account that also syncs with the mobile app.

eFax provides contractors with local or toll-free fax numbers. Faxes are sent and received by e-mail, online, or via mobile app without the need for a physical-world fax machine. The faxes are sent as e-mail attachments directly to the recipient's e-mail, enabling viewing, forwarding, replying, and signing (with a digitized signature) from any mobile device (smartphone, tablet or notebook). 

All sent and received faxes are stored online, searchable by date or content, and are printable. eFax features include fax archiving and large file sharing. eFax users, using a mobile phone camera, can also take a picture of paperwork that is generated at ajobsite and use the eFax mobile app for iOS and Android to fax it on the spot, speeding the process of a change order or invoice.

Bill and Patti Feldman write articles and web content for trade magazines and manufacturers of building products. They can be reached at