08.07
2019

What the Cluck? What 37,000 Pounds of Frozen Chickens Can Teach Us

On September 27th, 2014, an Idaho trucking company was missing a truck filled with 37,000 pounds of frozen chickens. The company’s 42-year-old driver, Christopher L. Hall, allegedly abandoned the truck after being refused more money from his employer. Unfortunately, by the time they located the truck at a Montana truck stop, the chicken had already gone south — rotting and oozing liquids.

The chicken: worth $80,000.

The lesson: priceless.

What could the trucking company have done to prevent this loss? One option would have been to give the driver more money and have a potential criminal on their payroll — not to mention someone with little respect for frozen chicken.

The other, wiser option would have been to secure their assets — including both the cargo and the truck. With a simple tracking solution, this chicken situation could have gone a very different way. We provide a robust tracking solution used by thousands of trucks across the country, which would have prevented this loss with simple alerts and reporting tools that cost pennies a day.

For example, management can set perimeters for drivers so that there’s no risk of them taking vehicles out of designated areas. And if they do, an alert is sent to the main office and the GPS-enabled solution will let you know exactly where the truck is. Likewise, if you need to locate a truck, simply pull it up on the map and you can see its location in near real-time.

Another smart option when transporting expensive cargo is Asset Tracking. A discreet GPS-enabled device can easily be hidden anywhere in the shipment, so if it’s lost or stolen you can see where it’s at immediately.

This sort of protection is imperative when you’re dealing with costly equipment and shipments. Not only do you run the risk of losing big money, but you can also damage relationships and ruin a reputation you’ve worked long and hard to establish.

If you’re ready to see what options there are to meet your needs, give us a call today. We’re waiting for you!

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07.23
2019

What Great Leaders Know: Understanding Weakness Leads to Success

From legendary coaches to the best teachers, the strategy is always the same: Understand the team’s weaknesses. It’s easy to identify star players and focus on the moments of glory, but without assessing the big picture, your team will only perform at a fraction of its potential. This is especially true for companies who are dealing with many moving parts, including fleet-based operations who have dozens of drivers spread out across the city, state, or country.

Understanding what seems like minutiae — such as driver behavior, gas usage, and time management — may seem like an impossible undertaking; how can you possibly track all of these activities every day? And the more important question: Is it worth it? The answers are surprisingly simple. With hardware and software solutions from Actsoft, your tracking is automated and reports are automatically compiled and sent to you as often as you need them. And the value is in the numbers. Most companies save thousands each month by monitoring fuel usage and route efficiency.

Actsoft, the maker of a suite of tools for remote management, puts all of the fleet information together on one platform to give our customers the power and knowledge to be able to make key strategic decisions.

With high-performance GPS-tracking devices and software like Encore, you can find the strengths and weaknesses of your entire driving team. Now you can accurately fine-tune performance, cut down on waste, and reduce liability.

Some of the key features include understanding driver behavior. By monitoring various aspects of driving habits — everything from speeding to fast braking — you can get a clear picture of your company’s health in that area. If you have several drivers who are in the habit of speeding and braking late, not only does your accident risk spike but so does your fuel costs and vehicle maintenance.

Likewise, if you have drivers who stay within the pre-set perimeters, stay within speed limits, and don’t idle, you can count that aspect of your business as healthy and a model for other areas. This allows you to re-focus your energy on departments that aren’t functioning as well.

Moreover, a workplace that rewards great performance is one that usually has less turnover and overall better ratings in employee satisfaction.

By using a mobile solution like Encore, which can be accessed on any smart device, you’re taking charge of what happens outside of your office walls. With a wide variety of additional features, you can choose from allowing mobile timekeeping and dispatching, giving you an upper hand on the competition. All this amounts to a healthy fleet that is driving responsibly, generating more revenue, and saving the company big bucks every year.

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07.19
2019

Heat Waves and Bad-Weather Management

It sure looks like it’s gonna be another hot one out there, eh?

Ah, weather. That go-to, default topic reserved especially for workplace conversations when, well, frankly you aren’t sure what else to talk about in a given situation. (Think: when you’re waiting for the elevator to finish its slow crawl to your floor so you can finally be on your way.)

Well, that’s typically the case anyway. But if you’ve been paying attention to the news in recent days (or years, really), then you know the weather is actually a hot-button topic. Right now, Europe is not-so-eagerly awaiting its second bout of record-breaking temperatures expected to hit next week. This comes just three weeks after the first heat wave of the year, which saw an all-time high temperature in France.

Stateside, the Midwest and East Coast are both bracing for impact, so to speak, as temperatures are expected to soar into the 90s and 100s over the weekend, with the possibility of surpassing even 110 degrees in some areas, and there is little expected relief to look forward to even after the sun dips below the horizon. (It’s so bad, New York City actually canceled its much-anticipated triathlon this weekend, the first time its ever had to do this.)

Of course, this is on par with an apparent influx in severe weather many have been experiencing in recent years, whether it’s storms hitting harder and more frequently than they ever have before, or sparse amounts of regular rainfall helping fuel rampant wildfires.

Depending on your business, weather can have a severe impact on your day-to-day operations. If you’re flying blind, so to speak, you might find yourself at a bit of a loss when chaos throws your plans into disarray. But you’ll find yourself in a much better position if you have a management system in place that helps you easily oversee your employees’ activities throughout the day.

For example, should the weather result in one or more emergencies warranting immediate attention, you can use GPS Tracking to determine which team member(s) are best positioned to handle the situation. Then use our Job Dispatching feature to send the new work order(s) and reprioritize so your workers can change course.

If severe weather is impacting your company’s ability to do its job due to safety concerns, you can quickly disperse a secure, team-wide message to the masses, giving them important updates — such as telling them to pack up and seek shelter — that help to make sure everyone receives the same message across the board.

Timekeeping will help you keep track of all those odd hours your workers might be pulling due to weather-related shifts in duties. The GPS stamp on each time punch verifies their locations while on the clock, and you can run ad hoc reports to keep on top of overtime to help make sure it’s evenly dispersed, if necessary.

Next time you find yourself at a loss for original conversation, at least you now know that weather can actually be the jumping-off point for bigger, business-related conversation. And hopefully, that conversation eventually leads to further discussion about a solution — our solution — to your weather-related business conundrums.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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07.16
2019

Managing a Construction Worksite with Encore

In any construction operation, it’s critical for the office to know what’s happening at its project locations in near real-time. However, managing workforce safety, asset security, and employee accountability all at once can prove to be a difficult task for supervisors to maintain if the right solutions aren’t being used. Actsoft’s flagship application Encore enables construction companies to get the most out of their operations by helping them better protect their equipment, stay in OSHA compliance, and remain on track with building project timelines. Here are just a few of the useful features Encore can provide to companies looking to enhance the ways they manage their construction worksites:

Intra-Company Messaging

Build stronger communication channels between your managers and construction workers in the field by using Intra-Company Messaging to relay new information on the fly. Desktop-to-handset integration allows your administrators at the office to message multiple employees at once, saving time and resources. Past conversations can also be reviewed for reference if need be, and your team members can relay project statuses or any new materials requests back to the office using this powerful tool.

GPS Tracking and Geofences

Communication between headquartered administrators and your remote teams is certainly valuable, but our solution takes workforce insight a step further than just Intra-Company Messaging. With GPS Tracking and Geofences, you can draw specified digital boundaries around your building sites on Encore’s live view map, see employee and equipment locations, and be notified any time the perimeters are breached by tracked points of interest. Enhance the transparency of your workforce by using this tandem of tools to help ensure tasks are being completed and that employees are at their assigned locations during working hours.

Asset Recovery

Leave the heavy machinery your company needs in the field overnight and monitor it with Encore’s GPS-enabled technology. If one of your tracked assets becomes lost, you can see its position via the solution’s live view map and easily recover it. In addition to helping prevent expensive costs to replace stolen or misplaced equipment, you can use asset tracking to make sure that no tools are being used improperly after working hours have ceased for the day. Encore’s proficiency in improving workforce, asset, and fleet efficiency makes it a powerful companion for any construction business.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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07.12
2019

That Busy CEO Life and How Actsoft Can Help

Recently, while perusing the latest tech headlines, as I’m wont to do, I came across a headline that stood out to me for two reasons. One: Even though it was clearly labeled a sponsored post, I actually felt compelled enough by the headline to click through, which is a rarity for me. (Kudos, Mashable, you clever monkey.) Two: It promised to show the day of one New York City–based CEO in 60 seconds … a New York minute, if you will. Given the nature of the company I worked for, I thought it would be both interesting and insightful to get a little glimpse of what that life can be like.

If you’re a business owner, you’re more than familiar with the concept of nonstop busy days. Days where, between your personal responsibilities and your work obligations, your waking hours are pretty much spoken for. But as we’ve mentioned in the past, as important as it is to give your all in making sure your company is a thriving success, it’s just as vital that you carve out time to maintain some semblance of a work-life balance.That’s why it’s essential to find and implement the right tools that serve to streamline processes, cut out unnecessary steps, and improve efficiency in your day-to-day activities. That’s exactly where we come into the picture.

Using our suite of tools, business owners are given the ability to simplify many of the daily tasks they and their team undertake. Timely procedures are sped up, leaving your workers with more time during the day during which they can take on more work orders, increasing your company’s bottom line.

As a business owner, you can rely more on your management team to mold your field workers into a synergetic efficiency machine using these day-to-day tools. This lets you focus on the bigger picture, which our tools also help with while removing the necessity of being on-site as frequently as you would need to be otherwise.

Using our system, you can pull up top-level overviews of the goings on at your business, running reports on everything from timekeeping (to make sure employees aren’t clocking egregious amounts of overtime due to early/offsite punching in/out) to vehicle paths (to curb inefficiently long routes driven between job sites, as well as excessively wasteful idling times). Forms that require your signature, such as expense reports, can all be digitized and sent to your phone, letting you quickly sign off and pass them along to your accounting team for faster processing.

All of this — and so much more — can be done using our tools. Not to mention, our recently released Manager App gives you all of this functionality from your mobile device, so you don’t even have to be at a desktop anymore, giving you so much more flexibility to run your business without giving up your social life.

Our job is to make your job easier. Because part of owning a successful business is being able to make the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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07.03
2019

Construction Season: How to Avoid Theft and Damage

With construction season underway, it’s not uncommon to see heavy machinery, trailers, and sundry other tools left unattended on construction sites. And while signs like “No Trespassing” and the like may deter mischievous teenagers, it’s not going to do anything to stop thieves who want to cash in on the opportunity you left them.

According to research, a knowledgeable thief can enter a site, load the equipment, and be off within ten minutes. However, anything more than that and most thieves will move on to the next score. Additionally, many construction companies don’t have a simple loss prevention plan, so it may be days before they notice that tools are missing. This can result in a lot of wasted time and effort trying to recover and replenish tools, not to mention the time taken away from work.

Here are a few tips that can help construction companies, along with any company that deals in expensive inventory, keep track of their goods, save time and money, and keep on schedule with their projects.

Plan, Prevent, and Save

Simple software solutions can help your employees keep track and manage equipment easily and even automatically — without much effort. The solutions that we provide include GPS-enabled software that allows you to track and trace equipment in near real-time. So if your backhoe is moved from a site, you will be alerted via text and receive up-to-date positioning so you can see exactly where your equipment is.

Keeping track of your equipment through routine inventory checks can also be helpful for knowing where your tools and assets are and what’s missing. You can scan right from your phone and import that information via solutions like Wireless Forms.

Maine.gov also offers these helpful tips in preventing crime and securing your property.

  • Implement a documented check-out and -in system for all tools and equipment.
  • Establish an “end of shift” security inspection protocol.
  • Make unscheduled visits to work sites, including at night, on weekends, and on holidays.
  • Lock and immobilize equipment during non-work hours.
  • Utilize basic key control and specialized locks. Locks should be placed on all vehicles, portable equipment, storage sheds, trailers, and utility bodies when not in use. Use only high-security locks: pick-resistant, case-hardened, or laminated steel. If a chain is required, it should be case-hardened and thick enough to prevent easy cutting.
  • Attach anti-theft devices, such as steering wheel locks, kill switches, tire and wheel/axle locks, locked hood side plates, and locking fuel caps.
  • Whenever it is practical, all operating levers, handles, etc. should be stored under securely locked covers or lids.
  • Lock and protect equipment with an alarm system.
  • Avoid storing equipment overnight at the work site whenever possible.
  • In high crime areas and where values warrant it, consider hiring a security guard or using a surveillance system.
  • Fences are a good form of perimeter protection. Exits and entrances should be kept to a minimum. If it is not possible to fence an entire site, consider partially fencing it, including trailer, equipment, and storage areas.
  • Good lighting is extremely effective in deterring criminal activities. Keep storage areas well lit and free of hiding places, such as shrubbery and trees. Consider using motion-detecting floodlights.
  • Contact the local police before starting a job. Ask them to include the job site in their patrols. Ask neighbors to report suspicious activities.

To Aid in Recovery

  • Double-stamp all tools, equipment, and attachments with an identification number, one conspicuous and one hidden.
  • Display warning signs that indicate identification and serial numbers are recorded.
  • Paint your equipment with bright, easily recognizable colors to identify them from a distance.
  • Use aerosol-applied Microtaggants, thermostat plastic coatings that contain coded pigments or metal particles.
  • Stencil the state’s logo or other identifying marks on equipment.
  • Take photographs of your high-value pieces; catalog these photos and update them as equipment is purchased and sold.
  • Consider equipping each piece of high-value equipment with tracking devices.

After a Loss

  • Secure the scene.
  • Make a prompt and thorough report to a police agency and to the Risk Management Division.
  • Send theft alerts to equipment distributors.
  • Check eBay and used-equipment sales for your equipment.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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06.28
2019

Summer Vacation Season and Workforce Management

Believe it or not, 2019 is already halfway over. That means business owners everywhere are beginning the processes of reviewing all the important numbers as we approach the end of Q2. As they do this, they’re also making any adjustments needed so they’re able to hit the ground running the second Q3 starts.

Kicking off Q3 with a bang can seem like a daunting task, because not only might there be huge expectations from a business point of view, but there’s also another major event taking place at the same time: the unofficial launch of the vacation season.

Just in time for schools across the country to wrap up classes, summer this year officially kicked off on June 21. With mercury levels rising, kids out of the classrooms, and parents itching to get away for some quality time with the family — not to mention vacation deals galore — this is when businesses everywhere tend to notice their teams may not be running at maximum capacity.

But running with a less-than-full staff doesn’t mean your numbers have to suffer. Vacations go hand-in-hand with operating a business. This time of year just happens to be when more people are out more frequently. So how do you go about making sure it’s business as normal all through the summer?

That’s when our software comes into play. With a proper workforce management software in place, like our flagship Encore solution, you’re able to maintain a bird’s-eye view of all the goings on at your business, no matter where you are or how many people are actively working.

Job Dispatching helps to make sure all of your work orders are being addressed in as efficient a manner as possible. Have projects mapped out well in advance and then in comes a vacation request? No problem! Reassign the work orders to team members who have the availability.

Wireless Forms helps to speed up processes whether you’re fully staffed or down to one person. Eliminating guesswork due to chicken-scratch handwriting is a huge timesaver. Decision logic helps workers zip through forms quicker than ever since the system automatically skips over sections deemed irrelevant to the job at hand. And with no need to drop off forms back at the office, “paperwork” can begin processing almost immediately.

Now, with fewer people helping to produce the same amount of work, it may be inevitable that some overtime comes into play. But with our easy-to-use Timekeeping feature, you can help to minimize the amount you’ll have to pay out. First, with GPS-based punch ins, you can make sure you aren’t paying your workers until they actually show up at a job site. Second, with on-call reporting, you can quickly review the number of hours each person has worked and assign new orders accordingly. Finally, if you do have to rely on some overtime, you can keep the peace by dispersing the work evenly.

Vacation is a necessary part of every business. Your workers do their best work when they are rested, both physically and mentally. And you’ll able to run a successful operation knowing that, thanks in part to our streamlining solution, while your hard-working team is off enjoying the fruits of their labor, it’s still business as usual on the work front.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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06.25
2019

Fleet Safety 101 With Actsoft Solutions

Safety is the top priority for those tasked with managing a business fleet. As drivers operating business vehicles tend to be dispersed considerably far from one another, finding a fleet management solution that can provide details on the driving behaviors of each mobile employee is integral, no matter their distance from the office.

Two of the most important aspects of keeping a safe business fleet include being able to monitor driver habits and keeping tabs on vehicle locations. Too much hard acceleration and braking can increase vehicle wear and tear, putting your mobile employees and other users of the road at greater risk when it comes to accident potential. Being able to recognize excessive instances of dangerous driving habits like these and actively enforcing procedures to help curb them in your mobile workforce can help your staff implement safer driving styles. Vehicle tracking can also help you better pinpoint and dispatch out aid to any of your drivers that may need emergency assistance if an accident does occur.

Actsoft solutions are equipped to provide your fleet managers with all the tools they need to employ a safer fleet by blending versatility with robust features. Our premier solution Encore lets you see near real-time traffic patterns on a live view map, and it can integrate with some third-party software types for an even more detailed experience. Sync weather data with your Encore solution’s map to see where your drivers are located in relation to any inclement storms or blizzards, even on a nationwide scale. You can then use features like Job Dispatching to communicate out new protocols to your drivers nearly instantly, helping them stay safe and return to their tasks once it’s safe to begin driving again. Encore’s detailed reports about driver speeds also make it easy for you to see which of your drivers are going too fast too frequently.

Manage delivery delays and more using Actsoft technology to better prevent staff from driving in hazardous conditions. The power of our applications helps you see where specific drivers are, respond more efficiently to any breakdowns that might occur, and keep your team safer on the road as a whole.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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06.21
2019

Summer School and Fleet Tracking

Summer is upon us and, though that means school is out for most students across the country, that doesn’t mean school districts are coming to screeching halt. In fact, there are plenty that keep chugging along all summer without much of a break at all. In towns and cities everywhere, a plethora of programs — from summer camps to robotics courses to the oh-so-dreaded summer school — kick off in the warmer months, taking advantage of this would-be downtime to help students get ahead (or get caught up, as it were).

With these types of programs in full swing, it’s important to bear in mind the necessity to keep an extra vigilant watch over the students that are left in educators’ hands. Though their numbers may be vastly reduced from the droves they oversee during the regular school year, the propensity for worried parents wanting to keep tabs on their children is just as real as ever.

The summer is also the perfect time for school districts to make changes to their preferred solution for keeping parents updated, which is why we want to invite you to consider making the switch to Encore, our flagship suite of tools that can help educators always remain in the know.

Though summer programs rarely involve the traditional bus pickup route as kids can enjoy during the year, they do often involve a hefty amount of field trips. Equipping your bus or shuttle vehicles with our fleet-tracking GPS equipment means that you can assure parents of their children’s location in near real-time. If the class is running late, hits an unexpected pocket of traffic, or took a longer route home to avoid that delay (thanks to our Traffic Overlay feature), you can make sure everyone is kept up to date, rather than be left to face a torrent of angry parents demanding to know where their children are … and not having the answer.

In addition, though it’s traditionally used for keeping track of employee hours, you could get creative with our Barcode Scanning feature and scan school ID cards from students as they arrive at school in the morning and exit your facility’s care at night. As students leave for the day, educators can effectively clock students out, so to speak, as each one is released to their parents’ care.

As we mentioned, with fewer students at the schools over the course of the summer, these summer months are both the best time to try out our solution and see just how much it improves processes for you and your staff. Plus, with fewer resources (read: buses) being used, it’s the perfect opportunity to implement tracking devices to your fleet without any disruption to services. (Though even if in full swing, the simplistic design of our plug-and-play device options make installation a breeze.)

We’d love the opportunity to chat more with you and discuss all that we can do to help you improve processes in your school. Happy summer!

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05.21
2019

The Advanced Aspects of GPS Tracking in Encore

The GPS Tracking feature in Encore is a multifaceted tool that uses advanced solutions such as Breadcrumb Trails, Traffic Overlay, and Geofences to provide companies with ways to save. Each of these aspects do this by working to increase efficiency and security even further for businesses that employ a mobile workforce.

Breadcrumb Trails

Past routes that mobile employees have taken to job sites are recorded and presented on Encore’s map through Breadcrumb Trails. Any time a driver travels to a location during working hours, their business vehicle’s position is picked up and archived in the system’s memory. Company supervisors can then go back and review trip histories to enhance accountability and verify job completion.

Traffic Overlay

At the beginning of each work day, administrators in a company’s home office can also use Traffic Overlay to see near real-time congestion patterns on roadways. By identifying the most traffic-heavy routes to job sites prior to travel, companies can help their mobile employees avoid excessive idling, save time and fuel, and reach customer locations faster.

Geofences

Geofences help businesses improve fleet and asset security, employee accountability, and quality control, all at once. These are digital boundaries that can be custom constructed on Encore’s live view map around job sites in the field. Geofences are used in tandem with Alerts to electronically notify managers whenever an asset, employee, or vehicle enters or exits set perimeters, providing an extra layer of surveillance for their valuable equipment. In addition to better theft prevention, geofence monitoring helps organizations ensure that their workers are arriving to and leaving assignment destinations right on schedule.

These three aspects of GPS Tracking in Encore give companies like yours even more ways to save time and money. Through providing increased detail about your workforce’s daily routine, Breadcrumb Trails, Traffic Overlay, and Geofences can help you run a more effective operation.

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