Want to cut business costs? Start using mobile apps

Mobile applications provide a platform for companies to motivate their employees and boost productivity. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Mobile applications provide a platform for companies to motivate their employees and boost productivity. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenyan companies can reduce their overall business costs by 31 per cent by managing staff benefits such as transport and meal allowances through mobile applications, research has found.

According to a 2016 report on the benefits of enterprise mobile apps by multinational computer software company, Adobe, such apps can deliver a competitive advantage to an organisation as they boost and simplify task performance, guarantee employees immediate access to tools and information they need to succeed in the workplace.

“Enabling employees to access benefits via mobile apps can increase productivity by 51 per cent, improve internal communications by 47 per cent and reduce overall business costs by 31 per cent as they allow for instant communication between management and employees plus they equip them with tools and information to perform tasks easily,” reported Adobe.

Mobile applications such as the M-Kula app, a digital lunch scheme for companies’ staff, can help boost productivity of companies.

The app was developed in November 2016 by Sodexo Kenya a service company that develops innovations that are essential to individual and organisational performance. The platform allows employees to order lunch at the company’s expense.

When a company signs up to the app, they are given an account in which they fill details of their employees and the amount that they are entitled to in meal allowance per day. Then they are able to go to any restaurant that accepts the M-Kula services and pay via the app.

Sodexo Kenya has partnered with over 200 food outlets such as Java, Debonairs, Nyama Mama and Jumia Food. The lunch costs between Sh80 and Sh3,000 daily.

“Technology offers companies one of the cheapest and innovative ways that balance between staff’s well-being and the company’s profitability. M- Kula provides a unique opportunity for organisations to embrace a new tax-free incentive to their staff thereby increasing employee engagement and motivation,” said Neil Ribeiro, CEO Sodexo Kenya.

The service, which is available on IOS and Android operating systems, also allows customers to request for office deliveries. Employees who enroll for the service can save up to Sh14, 000 each year attributable to tax exemptions.

So far, over 60 companies in Kenya have embraced the app including Kenpoly Manufacturers, Chandarana, GIZ, City Walk, Roche Pharmaceuticals, Tespok, Jambopay and Subati Flowers. Additionally, over 2400 employees have used it for transactions averaging Sh271 per meal.

Besides making it easy for employees to access benefits through a mobile app, it also increases work happiness, motivation and reduces absenteeism.

“When Kenpoly Manufacturers started providing lunch, productivity went up by about 12 per cent. Three months after introducing lunch for staff, Subati Flowers recorded a drop in absenteeism from nine per cent to four per cent per cent. The average number of days off also dropped from 2.8 days per sickness to 1.2 days of sick out,” said Mr Ribeiro.

Such apps are also key for companies seeking to reduce their operational costs as they enable them to track expenses, hence minimising overpayments.

For instance Mondo Ride, an e-hailing taxi application has a corporate option in which companies are able to add their employees on its dashboard enabling them to order a ride via the app and the company is billed.

The employers can choose which billing system they prefer — monthly or if it is to be paid automatically through the company credit card balance.

It also allows them to track the expenses and download invoices and reports from the Mondo Ride dashboard.African Laughter