09.20
2019

How to Reduce Your Fleet’s Carbon Emissions

What do you think is the most important issue facing fleet operators today? According to a recent study, 88 percent of fleet industry experts believe that cutting emissions ought to be a top priority. This should come as no surprise since nowadays there is a strong emphasis on all things environmental. Any way companies can cut carbon emissions is seen as a win, both from a green standpoint, but also many times from a financial standpoint, because it typically means decisions are being made to proactive cut down on wasted resources.

But how do you go about making such a big change? You’ll be hard-pressed to find any business owner that is willingly throwing money out the window and encouraging the waste of resources. So why then is it such a huge issue and what can be done about it?

Depending on your budget, you could make the switch to an all-electric fleet, as we’ve discussed in the past. This is the most straightforward solution when it comes to virtually eliminating carbon emissions created by your vehicles. In fact, retail giant Amazon is so committed to the idea, it recently announced a multi-billion dollar deal in which it will purchase 100,000 electric delivery trucks that will eventually be responsible for dispersing billions of items to their customers around the world. It’s a game-changing move that is expected to be fully implemented by 2030.

Of course, the move to an electric fleet is not exactly feasible for many companies. Not right now, anyway. Very few have Amazon-rich resources to draw from — not to mention, even for such a giant, it will take more than a decade to bring full circle — so the solution for most has to be a little more practical.

That’s where we come into the picture. Using our affordable software, fleet managers can easily establish close monitoring of their fleet vehicles and, using metrics pulled via our easy-to-customize reporting tool, make better-informed decisions that can positively impact fuel consumption. You’ll be able to track driver routes to ensure that the most efficient roads are taken, direct drivers away from dense traffic conditions, monitor how long vehicles are being left needlessly idling, and even receive alerts if drivers are habitually hard accelerating each time they move forward.

All of these behaviors contribute to the excessive, wasteful burning of fuel, but they’re also easy to remedy … if you know about them. Once you have a foolproof way to coach drivers into taking on smarter driving practices, you’ll start to notice an increase to your bottom line and you’ll be doing your part to reduce your company’s carbon emission output. That’s more money in your pocket and fresher air to breathe, with almost no effort on your part.

And this just barely scratches the surface of what Encore can do for your business. If waste reduction is high up on your priority list, we’d love to set up a time to speak with you and show you all that we can do to maximize your potential.

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09.19
2019

Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports Go Wireless

Since the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), fleets have had to be diligent if not vigilant about logging in their hours of service information as well as reporting problems with their vehicles. The act requires a daily audit by the driver on vehicle parts and systems that affect maintenance and operation, which include:

  • Emergency equipment
  • Parking brake
  • Coupling devices
  • Wheels and rims
  • Steering mechanism
  • Service brakes, including trailer brake connections
  • Lighting devices and reflectors
  • Tires
  • Windshield wipers
  • Rear vision mirrors
  • Horn

Part of the fleet owners’ responsibilities involves ensuring the safety of their vehicles by maintaining their equipment and addressing problems, including anything a driver may note in a report.

As the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) advises, “Prior to requiring or permitting a driver to operate a vehicle, every motor carrier or its agent shall repair any defect or deficiency listed on the driver vehicle inspection report which would be likely to affect the safety of operation of the vehicle.”

The accuracy of these reports is crucial, but manual reporting can cause mistakes, which may lead to big problems down the road.

We have developed reliable and accurate FMCSA-compliant fleet solutions that will automatically keep track of inspections and defects. This is a huge weight lifted from fleet owners and drivers. Managers can ensure that their fleet is staying in compliance with the law, and drivers can stay focused on driving, safety, delivery, and so many other important responsibilities throughout the day. With Actsoft’s premier mobile solution, you can simply complete your Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) with the information from your mobile device, and it will be available in the cloud in near real-time.

In addition to DVIRs, Actsoft’s solutions, including vehicle tracking devices, have a wide variety of features you are sure to find useful, from driver scorecards (Is your driver going dangerously fast and making liabilities a probability?) to idling reports (Could you be wasting hundreds of dollars on idling fuel and not even know it?). Capturing speed, driver location, and even whether a car door is open can make all the difference in optimizing your business over the long haul.

Still have questions? FMCSA has you covered. Take a look at these frequently asked questions and you’ll be an expert in no time.

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09.18
2019

Five Supported Types of Integration with Actsoft

The versatility that our solutions provide is a powerful resource for companies with mobile workforces. By having compatibility with many third-party systems, our Encore solution makes it simple for your team to stay adaptable during daily operations and sync data collected by it* with many of the existing software types your business already uses. Integration between our solution and outside ones is possible with five kinds of API data:

Orders

Historical records of instructions you dispatched to your workforce can be accessed from your Actsoft solution’s API and synced with some third-party systems. Review and integrate past directives issued to your team for quality control, proof of service, and checklist verification purposes.

Client and User Lists

Keep better track of customer totals with user list integrations. Your clientele is essential to successful operations; use API integration to retain detailed logs of all users involved with your company.

GPS Positions

Past locations of employees, assets, and fleet vehicles can all be called up whenever you need them by accessing the Actsoft API. Sync GPS data with anything from weather maps to Esri GIS systems to better understand your workforce’s resiliency, spatial analytics, and historical dispersion.

Form Data

Using our Encore solution to create custom digital versions of all your company’s documents provides your company with a cleaner, faster, and more cost-effective way to process its information. You can then integrate this data with many alternative software types for simpler, more consolidated storage.

Timesheet Data

QuickBooks and Kronos are a couple examples of solutions that are compatible with Encore’s Timekeeping feature. When your remote employees clock in or out from their mobile devices while in the field, their timesheet information is stored within the Actsoft API, making it easy to be synced. Save time and money by eliminating manual entry entirely while trying to merge payroll or accounting systems with data from Encore.

*API integration is only supported on the Ultimate tier of our Encore solution.

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09.13
2019

Construction-Site Safety 101

It’s no secret that construction sites can be hazardous places to work. Typically, there is a lot going on and a ton of moving parts, all working together toward one end goal: a successfully executed project. Amid the seeming calamity, however, it’s important to keep a few tips in mind so that your crew is staying as safe as possible. Here, we lay out a few essential safety tips, as provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Provide easy access to first aid and medical care.
As we mentioned, construction sites tend to be risky territory where injuries are not all that uncommon. Help to mitigate the seriousness of any accidents by providing proper first aid on-site. If your site is not within reasonable proximity to a medical facility, be sure to have at least one person with valid first-aid training on-site at all times.

Supply all employees with protective gear.
If they need protective gear to do the job, it’s your responsibility to provide it. This includes helmets, gloves, goggles, breathing apparatus … anything an employee might require for the task at hand.

Maintain all fire protection equipment.
This might seem like basic knowledge, but one misstep can be the difference between a mishap and a disaster. Keep fire extinguishers full and abundant, and establish a fire preparedness program so your team knows what to do in the case of an incident.

Regularly remove debris.
Of course, it’s a construction site, so there are bound to be regular buildups of rubbish as work progresses. But it’s important to keep worksites clean and, when it comes to combustible debris, a safe means for regular removal must be provided.

Make sure scaffolding can bear the weight.
Don’t take any risks when it comes to scaffolding. This construction staple should be able to hold at least four times the maximum amount you intend for it to hold at any given time.

Implement a workflow tool.
It may not seem like it, but having the right workflow tool can be essential to operating a safer construction site. For example, using our Wireless Forms, which come with an optional Form Workflows feature, can help to make sure your team is staying on task as they take on various projects. With the ability to share forms between colleagues, you can mandate that workers have the proper signoff on each leg of any given project before moving on to the next step. This helps to prevent careless accidents from occurring due to mistakenly skipped steps along the way.

For even more helpful advice (as well as regulations), just head over to OSHA’s website. With the right tools in place — plus a little common sense — you can help make sure your construction site is as safe as possible.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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09.10
2019

The Benefits of Encore Vault’s EVV Solution

We’ve already discussed the upcoming Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) mandates that mobile healthcare companies must eventually have an answer for, but aside from just simple compliance, what are some of the extra benefits that an EVV system can provide your workforce with?

From a perspective of running the most efficient mobile healthcare operation possible, taking advantage of an EVV solution’s feature set is nearly as essential as remaining in regulatory compliance. After all, if you’re paying for an EVV solution, it’s wise to use it for the most possible enhancements to your business, while it helps your team stay in line at the same time. Our EVV solution, offered through Encore Vault, is designed to provide your organization with a treasure trove of features and valuable benefits for upgraded operations, including:

Verification of delivered services

It’s within the acronym, and it’s perhaps the most important aspect of our EVV solution: Verification. An ability to document and save data about patient visits made by your mobile medical staff is crucial for success, and in addition to helping track service quality, it can offer your team greater protection, as well as a dynamic new way to submit information.

Redirecting mobile nurses with ease

For mobile healthcare teams that must make multiple trips to different clients daily, the ability to schedule and reroute staff members on the fly can make things infinitely easier. Encore Vault EVV helps your business save fuel, reach patients quicker during emergency situations, and see the near real-time GPS positions of its personnel during working hours.

Helping eliminate insurance fraud and reducing overbilling

Recorded histories of patient visitations with accompanying location markers can help enhance the quality of your healthcare company’s reputation amongst its clientele by fostering consistency. With our application’s ability to notate precise start and stop times for delivered services, you can also help eliminate falsified claims and boost the accuracy of submitted logs.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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09.06
2019

How to Best Manage Your ELD Woes

If you’re running a fleet business that involves long-haul driving, then you’re well familiar with the rules and regulations that came about with the federal mandate requiring electronic logging devices (ELD) to automate the tracking of hours of service (HoS) in order to prevent drivers from exceeding too many hours logged within any given day. While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has indicated that the number of violations is steadily decreasing thanks to the new mandate, a couple of unexpected trends are beginning to pick up.

Increase in drivers speeding.
Because the length of time is what is mandated, but business owners tend to be more concerned with getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible, some drivers can feel pressured to increase their speed, taking them across the threshold into unsafe driving territory. This can be especially true if, say, they find themselves caught amid rush-hour traffic and subsequently feel the pressure to make up for lost time.

With our software, dispatchers can better help drivers plan out their trips to avoid traffic delays, alleviating them from some of that stress. But it’s also on management to be watchful of drivers’ speed. Our solution monitors driver speeds and alerts can be sent whenever a violation occurs. While driving a little over the speed limit may help your driver get to their destination faster, according to the American Trucking Associations, speed is the contributing factor to 18 percent of fatal crashes where a truck driver is found at fault. Lives can’t be replaced and the cost to replace equipment (plus the potential legal fees) far outweigh the cost of drivers showing up later than expected.

Searching for safe parking.
Long-haul drivers can’t just pull over anywhere they want. When it comes time to rest up, they need to find a safe spot where they can set up shop. This can push drivers to the limit as they try to find the ideal location while also attempting to maximize their hours, and could result in a violation of HoS since there is little room for flexibility. It’s important to plan out routes as efficiently as possible to make sure they are able to pull over in a location they’d feel safe camping out for an extended period of time.

While there are those who are proponents of loosening the rigidity of HoS for certain circumstances, the fact of the matter is that right now, there is no room for flexibility. So why not turn to our suite of tools, which includes an ELD solution, to help make sure you aren’t left paying hefty penalties? Together, with some strategic planning, we can maximize your drivers’ routes and keep your business from getting fined. Your bank account will thank you.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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09.05
2019

Why Data Encryption Matters

In today’s digital age, data is increasingly valuable. With that, however, comes an even greater necessity to protect it. Hefty fines can be leveled against organizations that fail to adhere to federal regulations on certain data types like Personal Health Information (PHI). Any kind of financial information that becomes compromised can also subject the firm in charge of it to massive data breach payouts.

The answer why is simple: Data is crucial to personal security. The potential damage that leaks or hacks can wreak on anything from privacy to financial health can be devastating to both the customer and the company storing it.

So, if your organization is in charge of keeping data heavily secure, what are some of its options? One of the most cost-effective but secure ones lies with our Encore Vault solution. Along with being backed by mandatory and thorough compliance training for our employees on a routine basis, our application is equipped with a slew of security levels to help you truly lock down client information, including:

  • TLS 1.2 data encryption
  • FIPS 140-2 compliance
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Advanced Data Security (ADS)
  • Microsoft Azure Web Application Firewall (WAF)
  • Support of HIPAA compliance for sensitive medical information

Encore Vault’s proficiencies aren’t strictly limited to efficient data collection and highly secure storage, however. The solution provides tools for you to coordinate all aspects of your mobile workforce on a platform that’s even more safeguarded. Powerful features like Job Dispatching, Intra-Company Messaging, and GPS Tracking still allow you to monitor points of interest regarding your workforce in the field and adjust workflows in near real-time. Encore Vault is designed to give companies in finance, healthcare, the public sector, and more all the functionality they’ve come to expect from a top-tier workforce management solution, but with the uncompromising levels of encryption they require.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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09.04
2019

Trucking Troubles: Two Major Fleet Hurdles and How to Handle Them

Every year, the trucking industry faces the same problems which can pose huge threats to business if they’re not tackled properly. From ever-changing regulations to unpredictable fuel prices, there are a wide variety of factors fleet owners must deal with on a day-to-day basis, leaving less time to grow business.

First, let’s take a look at the most common stumbling blocks for fleets today:

  1. Fuel price volatility
  2. Driver safety

Fuel Price Volatility
According to The Gazette, America’s 2.2 million freight trucks get about six miles per gallon on average hauling cargo, which can amount to $500 per day or more. Depending on the driver’s speeding habits, that cost can rise significantly.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that total world consumption of marketed energy is expected to increase by 44 percent from 2006 to 2030. Because of decreases in spare oil production capacity, there’s no way to make up for sudden supply gaps or more demand, which drives the price up. This situation is further complicated when you factor in the problems of political instability in oil-rich countries.

Because fleet owners have no control over the cost of fuel, they must rely on other means to save money on fuel, such as driver behavior, route optimization, idling reports, and GPS tracking.

The average long-haul truck travels 4,000 miles a week, so even small reductions in fuel consumption can amount to a lot of cash saved by year’s end. By changing driving habits, like slowing speeds down by 10mph, will boost fuel mileage by a mile per gallon or more. This is a huge gain in savings for trucks that are getting six miles per gallon hauling heavy cargo.

Idling is another gas hog, as it uses about a gallon of diesel per hour. If your driver is letting the truck run while he drinks coffee and reads the paper versus turning it off to go inside a restaurant for that time, fleet owners are looking at an expensive cup of coffee.

Saving fuel (and money) is as easy as using basic devices and software that can monitor driver behavior, such as speed, idling, and even where they’re at in near real-time. These reports are emailed immediately, or as often as a manager chooses, so businesses can have a clear picture of how much money is going out during the course of a day and where savings can be had.

Driver Safety
In 2016, there were approximately 475,000 large truck and bus crashes. Of those, 3,864 were fatalities while 104,000 ended in injuries, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA). The estimated cost of all truck and bus crashes is estimated at about $100 billion per year.

  • The average cost of a large truck crash involving a fatality is $3.6 million per crash
  • A crash with injuries costs almost $335,000 per crash
  • The average cost of all large truck crashes is about $148,000 per crash

Not only are crashes devastating to victims, but they make enormous dents in a company’s bottom line. The worst part is, the majority of crashes are preventable. The majority of fatal crashes involving large trucks are attributed to speeding and driver fatigue. Thankfully, there are incredibly effective solutions to monitor and curb this behavior, giving fleet managers more control over what’s happening on the road.

Our easy-to-install tracking devices record driver speeds so you can make sure each employee is adhering to your standards. And ELDs monitor drivers’ hours, helping to assure that they don’t go over their legal time limit, thereby reducing ability for fatigue to factor in Both are crucial pieces of information in understanding how drivers are performing, and experts agree that making drivers accountable is an easy and powerful way to get better results on the road so there are fewer crashes, less costly citations, and reduced liability. By encouraging good driver behavior, there can even be a reduction in vehicular insurance, which is an easy way to cut costs and fatten up your earnings.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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08.30
2019

Your Severe Weather Checklist

If you live in the south, as we do here at Actsoft, then you know hurricane season is here, and we’re currently faced with the first major storm of the season. Hurricane Dorian is wending its way through the Atlantic, currently along a trajectory that is expected to lead it right into the heart of Florida. The storm continues to increase in strength, with the potential to grow into a powerful Category 4 storm before reaching land. With such ferocity barreling its way here, there’s no time to waste in making preparations.

We’ve written before about the ways to prepare for a storm from a business standpoint. But you and your team also have loved ones to think about, particularly if your home is within a storm’s projected path. Whether it’s Hurricane Dorian or another future tempest, we wanted to share a few tips that can help you weather the storm as comfortably as possible.

  1. Stock up with at least seven days’ worth of supplies. This includes one gallon of water per person, per day, and non-perishable foods.
  2. If you have a grill, stock up on extra fuel — gas, propane, charcoal, etc. — in the event that you lose power.
  3. If you have a back-up generator, keep extra fuel readily available.
  4. Top off your car’s gas tank.
  5. Have an evacuation plan in place if necessary, including a reliable route to safety.
  6. Secure all critical documents — birth certificates, passports, life insurance papers, etc. — in a waterproof safe.
  7. Keep a stocked first-aid kit, and make sure you have a supply of any prescription medications.
  8. Have extra cash on hand in the event ATMs become inoperable.
  9. Other important supplies to keep handy: flashlights/lanterns, battery-powered radio, portable chargers for cell phones/essential devices, and batteries.

For even more tips to help you out during this, or any other, storm, check out the Red Cross’s website. Stay safe and dry this weekend!

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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08.28
2019

Herbie and KITT: What Personality Does Your Car Have?

These days, the color of your car and extras like leather, tinted windows, and sunroofs are not the only things that give your car its personality — your new car’s operating system may also inform your decision on whether you call it Tina, Thomas, or Turbo. With a whole host of flashy connectivity options that are designed to make your ride easier, safer, and more entertaining, there’s a strange feeling that the car is now a … friend, pal, buddy? After all, she has our best interests at heart … or heart-drive. She is courteous and kind; she never shouts. She patiently notifies us when we’re about to hit a curb or make a wrong turn. We’ve come a long way from the talking cars of yore.

Remember 60’s icon Herbie the Lovebug? He was cute, naturally, but definitely had a mind of his own. Some might even say he was a little too independent. So much for German engineering. Fast forward a couple decades and Knight Rider’s KITT arrives on the scene. KITT was protagonist Michael’s trusty co-pilot/car, whom he could count on for sage advice in a pinch.

We may not be quite to the level as the two aforementioned examples, but with incredible mobile applications like Actsoft’s Encore, it’s easy for cars to monitor driving habits and securely transmit them back to home base. Depending on the driver, this could mean reward or reprimand. Either way, telematics-enabled cars are fast becoming the rule and not the exception. Along with sending driver reports, mobile solutions like this can also send vehicle maintenance alerts, cutting down on potentially costly car damage and liability.

So, what’s next? A car that can do our taxes? Give us financial advice? Help us get out of dinner with the in-laws? Whatever this new model is, let’s hope it’s more KITT and less Herbie.

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