04.30
2019

Can Natural Gas Fleets Save Money?

Managers of any business that owns a fleet of vehicles are always on the search for options that will save money. It’s crucial to always be on the cutting edge of technology. Especially with fuel prices steadily climbing, finding thrifty fuel alternatives is a must. Perhaps a company could save some green by converting their fleet to go green.

In recent years, Ford started to offer compressed natural gas and propane-ready gaseous prep packages for V8 engines in its F-150s. According to FleetOwner, this was done as a response to customers reaching out to Ford requesting alternative-fuel capabilities, even for its larger 5.0-liter V8 engines.

But what does this mean money-wise? Can natural gas vehicles actually save companies money?

Manufacturers for the vehicles estimate up-fitting for pickups and vans can cost up to $13,000 per vehicle. In the short run, alternative fuels are an investment. Reports by The Tulsa World and FOX 13 of Salt Lake City see that about three cents per mile driven is saved for a vehicle.

The vehicles in the Tulsa World and FOX 13 reports (transit buses and a news van) are a bit different than the Ford vehicles, which will come with the upgrades and the costs included in the vehicle price. But at three cents per mile, it may take a while to offset the estimated $13,000 of costs and start saving money. For a vehicle that drives 25,000 miles per year, it would take nearly 18 years to begin saving money.

Alternative fuel might not be the best option to save money at the moment, but as technology improves it will become a more realistic option. FleetOwner’s article urged that performance doesn’t drop off with these alternative fuel vehicles, which will be able to tow the same amount of cargo as a traditional gasoline vehicle.

Alternative fuel may not save money for your fleet of vehicles this year or next, but natural gas fleets are a growing trend that fleet owners will want to keep an eye on.

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04.24
2019

3 Ways to Make Your Commutes From Work Less Stressful

Those dreaded red brake lights illuminating the interstate for miles on end at 5 p.m. every day are something that no one looks forward to. As heavy rush-hour traffic can be especially stressful after having just completed a full eight hours at the office, it’s important to do whatever you can to experience smoother trips home from work. Here are three tips to make those lengthy commutes from the office a little more manageable.

Listen to audio

Whether it’s music, a podcast, or the radio, having something to listen to while you’re on your way home can be immensely beneficial. Education-based audio may help you pass lengthy bouts of idle time by teaching you new things or helping you become a more well-rounded person. However, there’s still something to be said about relaxation and entertainment, and through avenues like music, you can experience both while driving home safely.

Optimize your schedule

Are there particular times of the day where you regularly notice traffic to be at its worst?  If so, it’ll help to tailor your daily schedule outside of the office a bit more toward avoiding driving far distances during those times. Choosing to meet a friend for dinner nearby after work or exercising at a gym close to your job are just two examples of activities that can help you dodge the worst of rush-hour’s snails-pace congestion, while also being beneficial to your well-being. It may not seem like that big of a difference at face value, but even delaying your usual departure home from the office by an additional 30 minutes to work out or eat first could end up saving you an hour of time that would’ve been spent in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Find better routes

If a backroad route is longer mileage-wise than a commute home via the interstate is, consider it as an option if it offers less congestion. Even still, if that route takes you five minutes longer to get home when compared to traveling on a jammed highway, it may be less stressful for you to have a drive where there’s as little stop-and-go as possible.

Through these tips, we hope that you’ll be able to experience safer, more manageable commutes during the work week. For solutions to the traffic inefficiencies that your mobile workforce may be regularly dealing with, see how Actsoft can assist.

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04.16
2019

Tips for Doing More With Less

Efficiency is key. It’s a message we’ve preached for years at Actsoft. Getting the job done with the most effective use of manpower in a timely manner will save money. Plain and simple.

Efficiency is important to all companies and businesses, but as time progresses, it will become an even more important part of the trucking industry.

Why? In recent years, there has been a shortage of truck drivers and the number may continue to decline. With a decrease in manpower on the road, it’s crucial that each minute is used in getting the job done and essential that drivers are given the tools they need to succeed on the roadways. After all, the workload for trucking companies isn’t getting any lighter.

With our suite of solutions, both management and drivers will find their days made much easier.

Our tools do everything a management team will need. It will keep track of vehicles with GPS, view driver activity, and improve routing. All the tools necessary to compile reports and have insight into a business’s fleet comes included.

It keeps drivers in mind, too. With it, they can use the route optimization feature to find the best possible path to completing the job and getting them off the roads. Spending less time on the road allows drivers more time to be home with their families. Benefiting the driver and the company, with happier employees.

With the number of truck drivers decreasing, it’s imperative that companies have all the tools necessary to get the job done. The need for truckers isn’t decreasing, so it’s even more important to be able to do more with less.

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04.09
2019

The Importance of Driver Safety

The weather is warmer, school is coming to a close for the kids, and vacation season is nearly upon us. It’s a happy time of year with the snow just about all melted away. It only means one thing: more activity on the roadways.

Anyone who drives on a regular basis, whether it’s to and from work, or someone who drives a vehicle for a living, knows it’s imperative to be safe on the roadways. Make sure the tires are at a good grade, make sure the oil is fresh, and everything else with your vehicle is completely safe.

Still, the biggest component of driving safely is, well, driver safety. Things become tougher on the roadways with more and more vehicles clogging up lanes. This is especially true in areas that have high volumes of traffic and less than three lanes on each side for traffic.

Driving in an area with smalltown design, but big city aspirations can be a nightmare. In Allentown, Pennsylvania, as many as 100,000 people will clog the roadways during the day in certain spots of the highway. Despite the large volume of drivers, there are only two lanes in each direction for traffic. Add onto that about 100 yards for entry ramps, which is not a ton of room to merge, it’s not a great situation for hundreds of vehicles to go from two and one-half lanes to two.

The four-lane highway that may be better served as a six-lane roadway is not unique to Allentown. It may seem silly for experienced drivers, but it never hurts to have a reminder of safe driving habits for roadways that are difficult to maneuver. Anyone from an urban area is used to crowded roadways, but with plenty of lanes to get around. Anyone from a rural area is used to dealing with tight roads. Combining the two may not be a daily occurrence for every driver out there. Make sure you’re taking every precaution necessary to make it home at the end of the day.

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03.26
2019

The Importance of Efficiency

Running a business these days is tough. With employees in and out of the office and resources to keep track of, there are a lot of moving parts in any industry. It’s important to stay on top of what’s going on inside and outside the office.

Being off by just a few facts here or there can snowball on a company. In one of our case studies, Jeff Boone and Paul Headley of Napa Auto Parts in Louisiana shared his experience with “the little things.” Headley said that the gas wasted in two minutes of idling equates to about the amount of gas from a mile of driving for their vehicles. Reducing that amount of wasted gas with Actsoft’s solutions reduced the store’s fuel usage by 10 percent, or about $20,000 a year as Boone estimated.

The numbers for each business will vary by size, how many vehicles there are, and other factors. The key is to eliminate the little things so they don’t balloon into bigger issues. When a car is left running money is sent straight out the exhaust pipe. But idling is not the only issue we’ve seen with companies. Time management is a big issue especially when companies work in collaboration with others, have to accommodate customers, and rely on information exchanged between the office and field.

Championing time management is a huge accomplishment of Actsoft. The Denver Transit Partners (DTP), a collaboration of several construction companies that came together on a mass transit railway system in Denver, had as many as 45 different paper forms to get through the day. Forms were filled out onsite, sent to the proper offices, reviewed, and finally sent back to the field just for a simple order to be executed. The DTP also had to keep track of the hours many different employees worked, which can be problematic in such a large operation. The construction managers of DTP started using Wireless Forms and one of the safety managers, Craig Clairmont, said using these forms saved about three hours of paper processing a day. Gathering all the needed information was streamlined for them and can do the same for many other businesses.

Even if Actsoft’s solutions can only save a business a few dollars here and there, it makes sense to try and take advantage of what you can as a business manager. It’s never an easy decision to make a change, but you can see what others have had to say about Actsoft in our case study library and in our video library. Accuracy matters in running a business, so make sure you know exactly what you need to run your business effectively.

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03.05
2019

The Rise of Luxury Delivery Vans

Not all vehicles are created the same. An F-150 will never beat a Mustang in a race, a Camry won’t outhaul a Tacoma, and an Escalade probably won’t do as well in fuel consumption as a hybrid. There are certain disparities in vehicles that are obvious and aren’t up for debate. But what about this trend of mixing luxury with blue-collar vehicles?

It’s not a new trend, as the New York Times ran a story on the vehicles in 2011, but it’s a trend that still may be hard for many to imagine. These vehicles look like service vans but are larger and infinitely more luxurious. One Business Insider stayed in a luxury van for a week, comparing it to a small apartment.

The trend of utilizing oversized vans customized with lavish amenities has extended its innovation to the office. According to an article from Bloomberg Business, luxury vans are being used as mobile offices to conduct business meetings for CEOs and executives while on long commutes to the office.

Howard Becker, owner of California-based Becker Auto Design, said in an interview for the article with Bloomberg there’s significant revenue in customizing luxury vans for business use.

“Even in the first world, the major metropolitan areas are all behind in infrastructure,” Becker said. “What drives our business is the ability for our customers to get things done even when they’re driving, as opposed to sacrificing that time. The candy red Ferrari is still in the garage for fun on weekends, but they’re thinking, at least on weekdays, ‘I can’t afford to drive myself anymore.'”

To keep the look and feel of having an office like atmosphere inside these luxury vans designers have uniquely designed the vans with Wi-Fi, touchscreen, TVs, and airline pod-style seats, and other amenities can be added.

While they may be of some use for mobile businessmen, do these high-priced vans “on steroids” as the New York Times article referred to them, have any practical use for a fleet owner?

The “apartment on wheels” won’t have a significant impact on large mobile workforces, but there is a “Goldilocks zone” for van size. The Mercedes-Benz Metris is considered to be a van that is just right for fleet owners. Mercedes-Benz has a division of its company dedicated to making service vans and FleetOwner reports that people within the company believe the Metris is their best work.

The Metris is a mid-sized van that has a 5,000-pound towing capacity which is 50% more payload capacity than smaller Mercedes-Benz vans and 45% more cargo volume in a vehicle that can fit into a garage. While the larger luxury vans may take up half a city block, the Metris is efficient for its size. The Metris is powered by a 208-horsepower 4-cylinder engine with a 7-speed transmission.

These vehicles are certainly a high priority for whoever purchases them and can be targeted for theft, like any other service vehicle. If an individual or business is going to invest in such a lavish vehicle, it needs to be protected. One certain way to ensure the safety of these mammoth machines is with an industry-leading asset-tracking software that can be used in conjunction with the vehicle like what is offered at Actsoft.

At the price of $25,995 for mid-sized vans like the Metris, a fleet of service vehicles from a company synonymous with luxury may not be out of the question for some companies. Don’t expect any plumbers to roll around town with a mobile house to fix bathrooms, but performance and luxury don’t have to be mutually exclusive within the service industry or for businessmen on the go.

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12.04
2018

Handling the Inefficiencies of Harsh Winter Weather

The biting cold of winter can bring with it a slew of inefficiencies for organizations that must regularly deploy a mobile workforce. From icy roadways causing driving hazards to snowstorms affecting work performed outdoors, the toll that harsh winter weather imposes on operations should always be accounted for in any business’s game plan.

Construction and transportation companies in particular must deal with some of the worst symptoms of bad winter weather. As either road travel or working outdoors are essential to both of these industries, safety remains a major concern. And while our software can’t prevent bad weather from occurring, it can help your team stay on its feet during these kinds of less-than-ideal conditions. Features of Actsoft solutions like GPS Tracking make navigating roads simpler to do, especially when icy conditions have impacted available routes. In the case of an emergency situation, pinged positions of your employees’ mobile devices and fleet vehicles help your business know the whereabouts of its workforce’s various pieces on the fly. These positions also assist your administrators with finding the best routes for company drivers to take to job locations in the field.

Building delays from blizzards or other forms of inclement seasonal weather can also pose threats to your business’s success. However, our applications can help you communicate more efficiently with your staff during times like these, and find a more intuitive method to convey crucial information about project statuses. Save time and money by coordinating your workforce from the convenience of a single digital solution, and connect your team across distanced locations, even in the midst of bleak conditions outside.

Through the power of Actsoft, fight the inefficiencies that harsh winter weather can create for your company’s objectives. Our products make gaining insight into field operations and employee communication easy, no matter the amount of forecasted snowfall.

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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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08.29
2018

Industry Spotlight: Actsoft Solutions in Agriculture

Agriculture has remained essential to human existence over the course of history. As society has developed, the process of growing and harvesting crops has become even more efficient than ever before, thanks to developments in technology over time which have helped this particular industry expand in terms of both volume and future potential. Farming is also an industry that’s proving to be more and more crucial as the world’s populace continues to increase. Still, it’s no easy feat to coordinate and provide a constant supply of food internationally.

To help facilitate this vertical’s around-the-clock processes, Actsoft solutions are here to provide practical applications for better operations management. These three features of our business solutions in particular are some of the most crucial for companies in the industry of agriculture, primarily due to their ability to enhance efficiency and keep valuable equipment in the field safe.

Asset Tracking

With Asset Tracking, farming businesses can keep tabs on the positions of important tools such as harvesting equipment and transportation supplies at virtually any time of the day. Collecting and distributing huge portions of crops in today’s age requires the use of heavy machinery to accomplish, and often times that heavy machinery isn’t cheap. Keep your agriculture company’s assets and equipment safeguarded 24/7 by using Asset Tracking to monitor them via GPS technology.

Wireless Forms

As another addition to the repertoire of the modern workforce, Wireless Forms’ applications in farming are frequently underestimated. Use this feature to streamline information flows on a digital scale, and complete documents such as orders, equipment repair forms, and data logs about harvest yields without having to deal with the inconveniences of paper.

Alerts

Alerts are able to add further security to assets by sending automatic notifications to property owners if a piece of equipment is moved without their authorization. In certain cases, Alerts is a feature that can also enable farmers to prolong the lifespan of their vehicular equipment by reminding them whenever routine maintenance needs to be performed. Through intelligent reporting, this capability helps agriculture businesses save on their bottom line by helping to reduce instances of equipment loss, and prevent cases of possible damage from occurring.

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08.22
2018

ELD: The Future of Transportation

Automation is the name of the game in 2018.

Businesses are increasingly in search of ways to take old, cumbersome processes and revamp them into contemporary forces of efficiency, and transportation companies in particular are a prime example of this trend. Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) are becoming viewed as the true future of the shipping industry as a whole.

Demand for reliable ELD technology stems from the need to standardize the methods in which transportation companies go about complying with federal regulations. The Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration (FMCSA) has instituted mandates called Hours of Service (HoS) that require corporations to record and report certain information about their employees’ driving data. During roadside inspections, operators of semi-trucks must meet certain criteria derived from their logged information, particularly as it relates to drivers getting adequate amounts of rest. These HoS regulations were designed in part to help improve road safety, and reduce the potential for drivers to fall asleep at the wheel during lengthy cross-country travels.

If a corporation’s drivers don’t comply with HoS mandates, their business risks having to pay costly fines, or even worse: they may risk higher possibilities of car crashes involving employees. Injuries and lawsuits from roadway accidents are two things that all transportation companies seek to avoid as much as possible, which makes ELD an especially valuable tool of the 21st century.

ELD solutions help to improve operations for transportation companies by automating the logging of driver data, making it easier than ever for them to avoid HoS infractions. Our ELD solution is powered by VisTracks, and it relies on a unique software/hardware combination to track driving information. Through minimal training requirements, on-screen documentation tools, and easy-to-use administration features, our solution remains one of the most intuitive on the market.

With Actsoft’s fully FMCSA-certified ELD application, allow your company’s drivers to focus on driving safely and efficiently by digitizing their driving information. Let our solution eliminate the hassles of logging travel data, and in turn increase your team’s productivity, accuracy, and bottom line savings today.

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