11.28
2018

Three Things Successful Fleet Managers Never Do

Managing a fleet of vehicles is a grand task for whoever decides to take it on. In addition to propelling their workforce to specific levels of productivity and efficiency, managers must also ensure the safety of their workforce and encourage the development of positive habits. Below are a few things successful fleet managers never do.

Complicate Fleet Maintenance
In order to maintain the integrity of your fleet, you have to ensure that vehicular maintenance is a simplified process. Complicated processes discourage employees from engaging in them. In this instance, overcomplicating a process will yield the negative result of not servicing your vehicles appropriately.

Make maintaining vehicles nearly effortless for your drivers. Set up reminders to communicate that the vehicles need to be attended to, therefore ensuring a properly maintained fleet.

Be Reactionary to Safety Hazards
Doing this, you assume a great deal of liability on your vehicles, their drivers, and your company as a whole. Not properly educating your drivers on how to address safety issues, or failing to equip them with safe vehicles, increases your company’s susceptibility to the fallout following an accident.

Instead, take a proactive approach toward safety issues. A multi-faceted endeavor, proactivity toward fleet safety includes the tracking of vehicle locations and the scheduling of maintenance alerts prior to service issues occurring. Setting clear guidelines for drivers to follow when facing an event that compromises their vehicle’s safety ensures their response is both quick and direct, reducing the negative impact these issues can have on your processes.

Establish Unclear, Vague, or No Expectations for Fleet Drivers
Failure to set attainable goals for your drivers is a surefire way to inhibit your company’s growth. Without clearly defined productivity expectations, your drivers have greater leeway to misuse company time and you have little-to-no means of holding them accountable.

It is in your best interest to convey what is expected of your driver’s performance. Setting up daily, weekly, and monthly goals give drivers a benchmark to accomplish while on the clock. Communicating that driver behaviors will also be measured is another way to ensure your fleet is operating at optimum efficiency. Speeding, hard accelerations, and hard braking all compound to negatively affect the vehicles within your fleet.

Acknowledging which approaches to fleet management work or not is crucial to the continued success of your own fleet. Learning from the mistakes and achievements of those around you is a proven method for circumventing the obstacles and losses your business can encounter without any form of guidance. Make sure to avoid these three things, and you are that much closer to success.

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11.27
2018

Stocks, Assets, and Work Site Tracking

For many investors, it’s a common belief that maintaining a diverse financial portfolio is an effective way to minimize risk. To those who follow this strategy, the idea is that holding stocks in multiple different sectors can potentially offset some of the losses that would’ve arisen from having placed all their chips on a single failing investment. Their ownership of shares in a wide array of other better-performing investments may serve as a buoy to the negatives that they’ll inevitably encounter when trading.

That being said, it should come as no surprise that purchasing shares of stocks always carries a certain measure of risk with it, as past returns will never guarantee future market results. However, the potential of compounding interest still entices investors to put their money into the market, and weigh its risks accordingly.

Physical assets that your company might own such as equipment, cargo, and fleet vehicles are all just as much valuable investments as they are functional tools, and with Actsoft solutions, they can be shielded from risk. Features of our software like GPS Tracking and Alerts help your team thoroughly manage its materials, and use them more efficiently in the field by detailing their near real-time locations. Any time you’re unsure of where a particular asset is located, simply open up your Actsoft application and pinpoint it.

Take asset security a step further with Geofences, another feature of our products. Using Geofences, you can draw boundaries around job zones on your solution’s live view map, and monitor any entries or exits of the perimeter by your team’s tracked equipment. Alerts keep administrators informed of work site activity on the fly, and help them verify that company tools are being used properly around the clock.

Never leave the assets that your business requires to chance with our solutions. Once risk has been eliminated from the picture of equipment security, retain peace of mind while your tools are dispersed, and allow some of the most accurate tracking technology available to start saving you money.

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11.21
2018

Don’t Let the Weather Freeze Your Pockets

As the temperature drops, everyone’s bills begin to rise. Of course, energy bills go up as many try to avoid the frosty outdoors. But have you noticed an uptick in how much you spend on fuel for your vehicle in winter?

The freezing weather (20 degrees F) can drop a car’s gas mileage by about 12 percent when compared to normal performance at 77 degrees, according to a study done by FuelEconomy. For shorter trips, it can drop as much as 22 percent.

How does the weather affect fuel consumption?
There are multiple reasons fuel economy is reduced in frigid conditions. One reason is that the friction from the icy conditions can make it more difficult for a vehicle’s engine to perform. It’s also more difficult on engines if you work in an area that requires your vehicle to plow through the fluffy white stuff.

Much like how we desperately wait for a vehicle’s heating unit to warm up in the cold, the engine itself requires a warm-up to get to a point where it’s at peak performance. That takes time — and fuel — for the car to get to that point.

But hybrids will be okay, right?
Actually, the same study done by FuelEconomy showed hybrids can have their fuel economy reduced by as much as 34 percent when the weather is below freezing, compared to the vehicle’s normal performance. The main reason hybrids do worse is the computer that monitors fuel economy can see a drop off in performance due to freezing temperatures. Hybrids also suffer from the issues a conventional vehicle faces in the frigid conditions. Basically, the same system that helps your fuel consumption in a hybrid may be its downfall in the cold.

The human factor
There are driving habits that can burn up fuel as well. Turning on a vehicle and waiting half an hour for it to heat up, of course, will burn up fuel. Idling has been proven to have a mileage of zero miles to the gallon.

However, there are some other factors we might not even consider. The more trips a vehicle has to make in a day will take its toll during the winter. Each time a car is shut off and subsequently turned back on it requires energy to do so and that, of course, is gasoline.

Solutions
So what can be done to avoid frequent trips to the pump while the weather outside is frightful?

Plan trips to avoid unnecessary stops. The more you fire up the engine (especially if the engine sits for a while and gets cold), the more precious energy it takes to get the vehicle going. Try to get everything done in one go, if possible, and try to reduce the total distance traveled per trip.

Check the tires. The weather can have a strain on the air in a vehicle’s tires because cold, dense air causes the tire pressure to drop below an efficient level.

Don’t let the pedal hit the metal. The more accelerating drivers do the quicker fuel is burned up. Each time the engine revs up it’s like tossing a few nickels of gas money out the driver-side window.

At Actsoft, we unfortunately can’t control the weather, but we can help you be efficient despite the conditions. We can help monitor driver habits and make sure drivers aren’t needlessly accelerating or breaking hard on the snowy streets. We can make sure the money Jack Frost is trying to take from you stays in your pocket rather than being lost to the icy roads.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you through the cold season?

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11.13
2018

The Benefits of Integrated Technology

The businesses of today rely on technology to power their workforces, especially if they’re mobile. Without solutions for managing remote operations, it’s difficult for companies to optimize efficiency and maintain a competitive advantage over other organizations in their industry. The problem, however, lies in the fact that these businesses often times use multiple different applications to handle their various inefficiencies. In doing so, they can end up paying much more for a laundry list of different software licenses, and still not have the same kind of control that a single, end-to-end business application would provide them with. Instead of buying a wireless forms solution, a tracking solution, a dispatching solution, and a timekeeping solution, why not just acquire one that includes all four, plus even more tools to make your business thrive?

At Actsoft, we realize that today’s companies need solutions that don’t add more guesswork and unnecessary costs to their daily processes. That’s why we’ve created Encore, our flagship application for data collection and business management. With Encore, you’ll be able to seamlessly integrate your remote staff’s mobile business devices with your organization’s desktops, and manage from the convenience of an all-in-one solution. Reap benefits like these as a result of integrating your business’s technology, through our most intuitive application’s potential.

Stronger Connectivity

Integration naturally bridges gaps in communication, making connecting with your team easier than ever to do. Encore’s Dispatching and Messaging features provide a seamless environment for effective, on the fly communication, and establish links between the handsets of mobile employees and your office’s backend systems. Save time and money by efficiently rerouting staff as need be, and getting crucial instructions to them quickly.

Accessibility

What more could your business accomplish if it had nearly instant, yet secure access to the valuable data it’s gathered from the field? Integrating technology allows your mobile operations to succeed, and provides your home base with all of the information it requires more efficiently. Wireless Forms on Encore lets you easily create digital copies of all of your business’s most important documents, and enables your employees to submit forms from the field. In doing this, supervisors have faster access to analytics, and can make data-driven decisions for saving revenue, and smarter resource allocation.

Consolidation

Reduce the amount of different solutions your business uses with Encore. As an all-in-one application, it can help your company save, centralize its information, and simplify the ways that it manages. Learn more about how Encore can help you integrate and enhance your business today.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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11.08
2018

Doctor Who and Vehicle Tracking

For those of you that consider yourselves Whovians, you already know the last month’s premiere of Doctor Who on the BCC was met with great anticipation. For the first time since the series was originally introduced in 1963, the Doctor — an intergalactic, time traveling, humanoid alien from a distant galaxy, with the ability to skirt death by regenerating into an entirely new entity with a different look and personality, all while retaining many centuries of learned knowledge — regenerated as a female.

During this particularly tumultuous regeneration, the new Doctor was separated from her beloved Tardis, a time machine cleverly disguised as a cobalt-blue, British-style police box. Without potentially diving down a rabbit hole chock-full of spoilers, let’s just say: The path back to the Tardis was long, complicated, and perilous.

Imagine if the Doctor, still a bit out of sorts post-regeneration, had the ability to easily track her Tardis, knowing its exact location, regardless of where — and when — it was. She would have been able to make her way back to her primary mode of transportation and resume her “career” of traveling across the known (and unknown) universe, helping those in need.

At Actsoft, one of our specialties is helping business owners keep track of their vehicles, so there are no unexpected separations that prevent business from resuming as usual. Now, while we can’t claim that our solutions would have been of service to the Doctor — we still haven’t quite nailed down tracking vehicles through space and time … yet — here on Earth, we have you covered.

When you equip your vehicles with one of our tracking devices, you add an additional layer of invisible protection. No matter where you are, you’re always able to see the exact location of each piece that makes up your fleet, in near real-time.

How is this important?

  1. During business hours, you can rest easy knowing that each vehicle is where it should be, whether it’s at a specific job site, en route to the next, or parked at the office. Furthermore, having a detailed record of your vehicles’ locations is essential when it comes to customer service issues such as, say, verifying whether your team made it to a job site at the proper time.
  1. After hours, you’re given peace of mind knowing that, if any vehicle is moved when it isn’t supposed to, an alert can be sent right to your phone. This allows you to confront the issue and rectify it, whether it’s a case of illicit after-hour use by an employee or, worse, a robbery attempt.

With equipment that is, for all intents and purposes, the backbone of your company, you should always want to do anything and everything to make sure it’s properly monitored and taken care of. When you don’t make this a priority, you run the risk of a lot of unnecessary overhead, be it more-frequent maintenance from excessive (unauthorized) use or the need to purchase replacements due to theft … and nobody wants to spend money needlessly.

At the end of the day, the name of the game is protection. And we’re here to protect your fleet, your business, and your bottom line.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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11.07
2018

Where’s Waldo? Four Reasons Why Tracking Time Is Important

Most of us are familiar with the children’s book series “Where’s Waldo?” wherein the object of the game is to find the titular character hidden among a vibrant backdrop. Now, assuming Waldo is a working member of society, his penchant for getting lost begs the question, “How does that affect his employer?” If Waldo is on the clock every time he gets lost, it goes without question that he is hurting his employer’s bottom line. What are some reasons Waldo’s employer should actively track his time?

Understanding Employee Utilization and Capacity
While Waldo remains lost while clocked in at work, he is accomplishing none of his workload for that day. Without accomplishing any jobs, Waldo’s maximum capacity for work remains unable to be determined. The absence of these measurements creates difficulty for Waldo’s employers as they try to measure where their company is and if there is room for growth.

Accurately Forecasting and Benchmarking
Companies need to be able to estimate how long it will take an employee to complete a single job. With Waldo always missing on the clock, his employer cannot determine how much time he needs to complete a task. Without this estimate, Waldo’s employer is unable to establish an accurate forecast or estimate that ensures they are achieving the maximum profitability for the job.

Can I Hire?
Waldo’s shenanigans prevent his employer from knowing whether they can hire additional employees or not. If Waldo accomplishes one job during his eight-hour workday and then gets lost on the clock, his employer will maintain that he can only get one work order done a day. This may not allow the level of productivity necessary for his employer to bring on a new hire.

Reviewing Performance
With the data from Waldo’s cost as an employee, his employer can conduct an objective performance review. Without sufficient data, Waldo’s employer cannot properly navigate the waters concerning Waldo’s performance, unable to decide whether to terminate Waldo or hire an additional employee to mitigate the workload.

While Waldo’s disregard for following cardinal directions can indeed hamper a business, there exist solutions to this problem. Actsoft provides a platform that ensures Waldo’s time is effectively utilized in completing the tasks he is assigned. Timekeeping becomes simple for Waldo as it becomes available while he is operating remotely, clearing up confusion on whether or not he is at a job site while he is on the clock. Combined with a location stamp taken at the time of each time punch, Waldo’s employers are granted incredible visibility of their employee. The question, “Where’s Waldo?” is given an answer when using our solution and it is, “He’s at work.”

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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10.26
2018

How Fuel Efficiency Can Affect Your Bottom Line

When it comes to gas prices, unpredictability is an inevitability. Any number of factors can have a direct impact on the cost, causing it to dip or increase without much warning. Because of this, it’s important for fleet-based business owners to pay careful attention to the amount of fuel their drivers are consuming while behind the company wheel.

Of course, it doesn’t matter whether the cost per gallon is at an all-time low or skyrocketed to an all-time high; you should always be mandating that your drivers follow safe, efficient driving practices since, regardless of what the actual price is, you’ll be saving money. But it is especially important as gas prices are on the rise, since burning needlessly through excessive fuel also burns right through your bottom line on a much larger level.

This year, the current average cost for regular gas, according to AAA, is $2.84 per gallon, an increase of about $.36 from this time last year. This may not sound like a huge amount of money, but it adds up quickly. Let’s say you have a fleet of 10 light trucks in your business. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the national average distance traveled by this type of vehicle is 11,712 miles per year. Add that to statistics from the Bureau of Transportation, which says these vehicles average about 22 miles per gallon. So that means, at the time this post was published, a business with a fleet of 10 light trucks spends an average of $15,119 each year, just on fuel alone.

Compare that to the price of gas in 2017, which was $2.46. If you’re running your business exactly the same this year as you did last year, you’re spending an additional $2,023 on fuel. If your fleet is fueled by diesel, the cost is even higher, since the cost per gallon rose by $.56 in the last year, and those trucks tend to travel significantly more miles per year.

All this being said, there are things that you can do to help make the most of the fuel you’re pumping into your fleet. Our software provides top-notch monitoring to help your drivers reduce the amount of fuel burned needlessly due to careless behavior.

Business owners can set up alerts to be informed whenever vehicles of theirs are left idling for an excessive amount of time. (That amount of time is determined by you.) If you leave your vehicle idling for 15 minutes, you’ve burned through about a quarter gallon of gas, just from standing still! Truth be told, if you know you’re going to be idling for more than 10 seconds, you’re better off killing the engine completely and restarting when you’re ready to drive again, since that uses significantly less fuel.

Additionally, vehicle tracking lets dispatchers back at the home office view drivers’ exact locations, plus review live traffic updates, so when new job orders come in, they can assign them to the worker that makes the most sense, and help them plan the most efficient route.

While you’ll never be able to control the dips and spikes in fuel cost, the one thing you can control is how you consume this necessary resource. Taking a few small steps to curtail waste as much as possible can have a dramatic impact on your bottom line, helping to make sure as much money as possible is staying where it should be: in your bank account.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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10.23
2018

Industry Spotlight: Actsoft Solutions in Healthcare

Much like the public sector, healthcare is often times a mission-critical industry. Mere minutes and seconds can have life-saving implications, especially when it comes to emergency response. Because of this, organizations that provide medical services need solutions that can keep them better in tune with their mobile employees. Crucial situations that call for clear, open lines of communication are more easily managed through Actsoft’s workforce management applications, and we take pride in being able to assist organizations that help those in need find greater efficiency.

Fleet Tracking

Ambulance fleets that are monitored using our solutions’ GPS tracking capabilities are better equipped to operate safer and more efficiently. Our fleet tracking applications go even further than traditional solutions by displaying data charts about the activities of each of your respective fleet vehicles, allowing you to make better, more informed decisions about your mobile workforce. Let Actsoft solutions help your team regularly reduce its ambulances’ fuel consumption and wear-and-tear today.

Dispatching

Easily make on the fly adjustments to your workforce using Actsoft’s Dispatching tool. Both palliative care services and EMS can use the power of mobile technology to strategically direct the different parts of their workforce in near real-time, as employee positions in the field help administrators dictate who should get routed to a new location. With Dispatching, your workers can receive nearly instant notifications of procedural adjustments to their handsets, making your team better-rounded and more versatile than ever before.

Wireless Forms

A system for digital documentation takes the guesswork out of filling out and submitting paperwork, and is an especially useful asset in a time-sensitive industry like healthcare. Wireless Forms lets healthcare companies fill out forms electronically, and aspects of the feature such as decision logic help to reduce entry errors by showing employees only relevant portions of a document to complete, based on their previous answers.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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10.18
2018

Superheroes, Assets, and the Benefits of Tracking

In the last couple of weeks, fall premieres began to steadily flood into television sets around the country. After months of agonizing — that may be too strong of a word, but just go with it, okay? — over the futures of beloved characters in the wake of season finale cliffhangers, we’re finally able to move forward with plotlines and find out what happens next. And not a moment too soon.

As a big fan of superhero shows, I was especially excited to see the return of some of my favorites on the CW network, learning what was to become of some of my beloved characters on shows like Supergirl, The Flash, and Arrow.

While each show has its own plotline, they are part of the same universe, allowing for some crossing over, which is always exciting. But another thing that each has in common is that the hero has a loyal team that keeps watch over them from the home base. Thanks to tracking devices and the ability to communicate with each hero instantly, they’re able to monitor, say, Supergirl’s exact location in National City as she’s out and about delivering justice to the bad guys. This ability to track in near real-time helps to make sure our heroes are kept as safe as possible while out in the field and, when something goes wrong, the people back at home are alerted so they can respond accordingly.

When you stop to think about it, this process isn’t all that unlike the way Actsoft helps companies monitor their precious assets. Take, for example, a construction site. More often than not, these types of projects last for months, if not years, and involve a lot of heavy equipment. It’s counterproductive for a crew to have to haul everything to and from the site each day; it would result in a lot of wasted time, which translates to wasted money.

Because of this, that equipment is most often kept at job sites overnight, and oftentimes unguarded. By simply installing one of our asset trackers to your costly equipment, you can rest easy knowing that it’s staying right where it should. In the event that someone attempts to mess with it during off hours, you’ll be sent an alert just like Team Arrow is whenever the man in green is in trouble. These alerts, sent in near real-time, can be all that stands between your equipment’s safety and you being out thousands of dollars due to theft.

What constitutes “messing with” your assets? The versatility of our software allows you to set up those parameters specific to your needs and desires. It could be any movement whatsoever during certain hours. Or you could set alerts to sound if anything leaves your custom geofenced area, no matter the time of day. You’re in complete control, here, so it’s entirely up to you.

Our asset tracking solutions aren’t just limited to construction sites. No matter what type of equipment you have — big or small — and whichever industry you may be in, the ability to see exactly where your valuable gear is at any given time provides the kind of peace of mind any busy business owner would find comforting.

Whether it’s a superhero saving yet another day, a construction crew erecting a new building, or any of the myriad other industries out there, reliable tracking helps you to safeguard what’s most important to you.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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10.11
2018

Industry Spotlight: Actsoft Solutions in Transportation

In the wake of a brutal natural disaster, supplies are in critical demand. Before power restoration and rebuilding comes the provision of emergency aid to those in need, which often times comes in the form of bottled water, medicine, and food deliveries to shelters, and the transportation industry plays an essential role in accomplishing this.

Bringing goods to areas that have been hit hard by a volatile weather system isn’t always easy, as road blockages, flood waters, felled power lines, abnormal traffic patterns, and other obstructions can impair efficient delivery. However, transportation companies that offer assistance in scenarios like this can use Actsoft solutions to mitigate operational hindrances, and better help people that have been caught in some of nature’s most destructive potential.

GPS Tracking

Even after a storm has passed, there’s still a significant level of danger in reaching areas that have been damaged by blistering winds, torrential downpours and structure-devouring storm surges. Our GPS Tracking feature helps transportation companies monitor the near real-time positions of their employees, fleet vehicles, and assets, and enhances driver safety by keeping administrators constantly in-the-know about their locations. Should an emergency occur on the job, supervisors can know exactly where any of their dispersed employees are, making emergency situations much more manageable.

Dispatching

Mobile technology and Actsoft innovations work together to bring dispersed workforces into a more connected state. If adjustments in delivery assignments need to be made on the fly, our Dispatching tool allows administrators to contact their drivers nearly instantly through integrated desktop-to-smartphone communications. With relief efforts requiring high levels of flexibility, Dispatching is a valuable asset for 21st century transportation companies to have in their repertoire, especially during times of catastrophic weather.

Traffic Overlay

After a weather event like a hurricane has ceased, it may take a while for traffic patterns return to semblances of normalcy. Emergency deliveries, however, don’t have time to wait when the public is in dire need of survival supplies. Using Traffic Overlay, a recent enhancement to our Encore solution, organizations can see near real-time congestion patterns on their live view GPS map, and then select the most efficient routes for their drivers to take to affected areas.

Extreme weather phenomena are often unpredictable. Let the power of our solutions revolutionize your transportation business into the most productive, efficient, and versatile version of itself, and provide disaster-stricken areas with unparalleled assistance during aftermath recovery.

 If you’d like to donate to the American Red Cross Hurricane Michael disaster relief fund, click here.

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