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.

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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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05.29
2019

How Construction Companies Can Step Up Their Game

From contractors to field employees to the office staff, there are so many moving parts in building new homes, keeping everything straight — especially important paperwork and documents — can be a grueling and expensive task.

We’ve all been around that colleague who’s mired in stacks of papers and can never seem to find the document he or she needs. The hours spent searching for an important contract or form are valuable — so imagine doing this every day. After a month the time and money definitely add up. But even worse, what if that important contract is never found? Imagine having to ask a client to re-sign and redeliver something they already turned in. Not only is this behavior unprofessional but it can cost you big money in the future if it’s not taken care of today.

A tool like our Wireless Forms can help transform a day’s work from a total failure to an easy process that helps eliminate human error. Instead of relying on paper — which can get lost or ruined,  these digital documents allow you to send and receive your paperwork via your smartphone, tablet, or computer. You can even have your clients sign the forms electronically. It’s clear to see how much easier life is without messy, inconvenient paper.

According to Denver Transit Partners (DTP), a collaboration of several construction companies that are worked on a mass transit railway system in Denver, Wireless Forms increased efficiency exponentially. “Actsoft has trimmed a four-hour process down to an hour,” said Craig Clairmont, DTP’s construction safety manage. To see the full case study, go here.

With the construction boom on the horizon, we highly recommend using Wireless Forms to get faster, easier results all around.

To learn more about Actsoft’s Wireless Forms, call today.

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04.02
2019

Feature Study: GPS Tracking on Encore

Companies employing a mobile workforce are faced with a need to monitor their remote teams during working hours and ensure that operations remain productive. However, keeping tabs on dispersed staff, vehicles, and other assets can be difficult to do all at once. Encore’s GPS Tracking feature is able to eliminate this problem by providing a live view map that displays each relevant position in an intuitive, easy-to-understand format.

What are the benefits of GPS Tracking?

Managing a team of remote employees poses challenges in and of itself, no matter the industry. How can productivity be efficiently monitored by administrators back at a company’s headquarters? Encore’s GPS Tracking feature helps supervisors and executives ensure that their employees are where they need to be during working hours by reporting their near real-time locations.

Many companies also have valuable assets that they require to facilitate routine operations. GPS Tracking helps to bring down costs from wasted time and unnecessary fuel expenditure by making it easier for businesses to leave these pieces of equipment in the field overnight. Due to around-the-clock tracking, your team can experience additional potential benefits such as theft prevention and asset recovery, if something gets misplaced or improperly used.

The versatility of GPS Tracking is another aspect that provides return on investment. As one of the core features of Encore, GPS Tracking works in tandem with multiple other tools that the solution offers, like Job Dispatching, Alerts, and Wireless Forms. Use the near real-time locations of employees to reroute nearby workers to new jobs, receive notifications any time assets enter or exit specified parameters, and even see location-stamped markers whenever a digital form is submitted from the field.

GPS Tracking is Encore’s bedrock feature and remains one of the most important mobile resource management tools available today. Modern-day businesses like yours can use our location-enabled application to enhance productivity, optimize workflows, and manage with ease.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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01.23
2019

Practical Ways to Keep Track of Your Employees’ Hours

Managing a large or small business can be hard and sometimes stressful. There are many factors for management to prepare for on a daily basis. For many businesses, managing and keeping track of employees’ hours can be tedious and irritating for the person that’s working alone in the back office. But if timekeeping is left untouched or unnoticed, businesses can collectively lose millions or even billions a year to the Department of Labor (DOL).

Not having a realistic approach to timekeeping may result in overpaying employees for hours that were not worked. Paychex.com reports that for many businesses, the idea of lost time refers to employee vacations and sick days. But what managers and business owners often fail to consider is that it’s also possible to lose time in much smaller increments that can add up significantly throughout the year. Employees can “steal” time in a variety of ways and for a plethora of reasons. They might ask another employee to “buddy punch” their time card; they may take a few extra minutes for breaks or lunches. It’s estimated that up to 10 minutes per day is lost due to tardiness, early departures, and long breaks or lunches.

Although timekeeping can be a hard job, there are ways to make this task simple. Developing a feasible method for timekeeping can keep employers on their toes. The most reliable method to track hours worked is to have a time-clock system. Depending on the industry, it may not be the easiest solution to tackle; plus, it is not legally required that you have a system in place.

However, implementing an easy-to-use payroll software is the best combination of efficiency and cost for businesses. The benefits of using a single-use tool are that it works better with existing business software, and it saves both time and money.

Timekeeping with Actsoft allows workers to increase daily productivity by reducing the amount of data entry needed for daily tasks. And it validates time by having field workers clock in and out for shifts, breaks, and lunches directly from their mobile devices. All time punches are time-, date-, and GPS location–stamped, and all information is transmitted to the back office almost instantly. Managers also have easy access to employees’ timesheets to review, approve, or correct content on the timesheets at any time.

If you’re working in the construction industry, for example, we can help you eliminate wasted time and trips to the office to submit timesheets. And with the supervisor time entry feature, crew leaders can capture time of their teams on their mobile device to input manually. And you can get instant updates on worker availability, job assignments, and dispatching activity.

Not having the proper timekeeping software could potentially cost you more than a few thousand dollars is mispaid wages. There isn’t any company that wants to waste precious money on something that can be prevented. But we can help safeguard your company’s assets and worth by having efficient timekeeping.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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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.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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09.25
2018

Industry Spotlight: Actsoft Solutions in Construction

Actsoft solutions help to power forward the construction industry by bringing dispersed workforces together. Three of the most important things for effective building strategies are consistently meeting deadlines, ensuring that worker safety remains accounted for, and protecting assets around the clock. All of these critical objectives can be attained using the capabilities of our software.

Stay right on schedule

Once a building project has been planned and announced, the clock is immediately ticking on its completion. One of the best ways for contractors to establish a sterling reputation with their customers is to consistently deliver on project timelines, and features of our solutions like Wireless Forms and Mobile Timekeeping make it easy to do. By allowing workers to complete more of their daily tasks while away from the home office, these tools help companies save time and money effectively.

Enhance work site safety

Construction work often times requires heavy machinery, which can carry a certain degree of danger. Actsoft’s GPS Tracking tool makes the pinpointed locations of employees readily available to see, so companies know exactly where their staff are in case of a critical situation. Dispatching is another powerful feature of our software that can help to keep employees safe, as it enables construction businesses to send out requests for assistance nearly instantly via wireless notifications, whenever an emergency might occur.

Keep important equipment secure

Heavy machinery like bulldozers, cranes, and crawler excavators can cost thousands of dollars to replace if lost. Thankfully, contracting companies can use Actsoft’s Asset Tracking technology to be constantly in-the-know about where their important construction equipment is. The ability to leave machinery dispersed in the field overnight gives businesses an immense amount of extra potential for savings, and with custom alerts for unauthorized movements, contracting businesses can rest assured that their assets are monitored around the clock.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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04.12
2018

Workflow Checks and Construction-Site Safety

Last week in St. Petersburg, a bustling city just south of Actsoft’s home base in Tampa, a giant crane — roughly ten stories tall — tasked with hauling heavy loads of construction material, toppled to the ground. It narrowly missed at least one worker on the ground by just a few feet, while many others scrambled for safety. Thankfully there were no serious injuries reported. The mishap took place at the site of the future St. Petersburg Police Department headquarters and was apparently the result of the crane operator attempting to move too much weight at once.

A different crane crashed to its side earlier this year in Austin, Texas, while attempting to lift a large concrete slab. In this case, one of the chains attached to the wall appeared to snap, setting forth a series of events that left the large piece of equipment laying horizontal on the ground. (Again, there were fortunately no serious injuries.)

Naturally, it’s always in everyone’s best interest to avoid any type of mishap. That goes without saying. But construction sites are prime spots for them to happen. There’s a lot of large equipment, generally many people engaged in a lot of different projects, and plenty of interference from the elements, among other factors. So it’s in everyone’s best interest to not only be prepared to shift gears in the event that something does happen, but to take all the proper precautions ahead of time, and putting procedures into place that can help prevent disasters before they happen.

That’s where Actsoft’s tools can come into play. For example, crews can use Wireless Forms to help guarantee all necessary steps are complete before advancing to the next stage of any project. And with the new Form Workflows feature, a single form can be digitally passed from one worker to the next, just as projects tend to pass through many hands; if a step is inadvertently missed, or something isn’t up to snuff, the form can be bounced back to make sure each action is properly completed.

Take the recent incident in St. Pete. While local news reports cited user error for the crane tipping, what if a daily reminder (via checklist) could have helped prevent too much cargo from being lifted inappropriately? There were no injuries, but there very easily could have been. Plus, think of the time lost, and the expense, that came from what turned out to be an easily avoidable mistake. (Not to mention, the trauma from those involved in the experience itself.)

Proper checks and balances are what keep a business running smoothly. With systems in place to maintain standard operating procedures, things run a lot more efficiently and safely. And because of that, at the end of the day, all parties involved benefit.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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03.02
2018

Ancient Greek Artifacts and Construction Delays

For more than a decade, construction crews have tunneled away in Thessaloniki, an ancient Greek city steeped with history. The painstaking project will eventually yield an expanded, modern metro system to whisk residents and tourists alike throughout a series of underground tunnels. But, with the entire city being a veritable excavation site, this project is an exceptionally massive undertaking, with crews having to tread lightly as myriad archaeological discoveries are made along the way.

To date, more than 300,000 artifacts have surfaced during excavations in the city. The latest came this week, as construction crews worked near the Hagia Sophia, an eighth-century church constructed in the likeness of the Istanbul church of the same nameA headless statue of Aphrodite — the Greek goddess of love and beauty — was unearthed, along with a well-preserved fourth-century floor mosaic.

In a destination like Thessaloniki, a region rife with still-undiscovered ancient goodies waiting to be found, regular construction delays were anticipated from the start — particularly in the wake of sister city Athens’ metro installation ahead of the 2004 Summer Olympics. But knowing that there are likely to be delays and then confronting the actual roadblocks as they arise are two entirely different things.

Because of this, construction work in particular requires an incredible amount of foresight and, more importantly, a heavy dose of flexibility. Crews need to be cognizant of the fact that project timetables are, in effect, well-educated guesses and, when the unexpected arises, they need to be ready and willing to make adjustments and keep pressing forward as quickly, efficiently, and safely as possible.

Actsoft’s solutions are ideal for keeping construction projects — unanticipated changes and all — as on track as possible, so you’re better equipped to make that goal and move on to the next assignment on time.

As unforeseen tasks arise, supervisors can use our software to quickly message individuals or entire groups as needed, to stop or detour work. They can then easily dispatch new work orders to appropriate crew members, determining assignments based on actual real-time availability. Plus, with these additional work orders being drafted digitally, there’s no concern about paperwork being lost in the shuffle. Administrators can see where each assignment is at any given time, thanks to near real-time status changes and mobile connectivity to the cloud.

GPS tracking on equipment pinpoints the location of any vital machinery that may need to be commandeered in order to rectify whatever barricade manifests, with alerts set up to assure that these tools stay within a certain, customizable radius (geofence) as needed, and don’t wind up going missing, resulting in further delays. Once the surprise project is complete, those alerts can be removed and the equipment released to the next most-needed area.

And our newest feature, Form Workflows, streamlines the process of completing tasks that need input from multiple staffers, including supervisor approvals of fulfilled assignments. Available to top-tier members, each Forms page can be set up so that they are assigned to one of a predetermined list of users as the project moves ahead. If something is missing or wasn’t done correctly, a user can reject an assignment and kick it back to the previous person to make adjustments.

So as you wend your way along various avenues to maximize your construction company’s course of actions when confronted with a headless Athena, consider the ways Actsoft can best help you reach your final destination with as few bumps as possible.

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01.09
2018

NFL’s Rams and Chargers Relocations Call for a Large Construction Project

The Los Angeles Rams were one of the hottest teams heading into the NFL playoffs this year. Sporting an 11-5 record, the team relied on a high-octane offense that featured all-star running back Todd Gurley, second-year quarterback Jared Goff, and veteran wide receiver Sammy Watkins. However, these Rams have only been in California since 2016 due to a recent franchise relocation from St. Louis, Missouri, and because of this, the team currently plays its home games in Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at the University of Southern California.

A college stadium obviously isn’t ideal for a professional football team like the Rams to play at in a long-term sense, especially given the fact that the once-San Diego Chargers also recently moved to Los Angeles in an effort to expand the NFL’s market presence. As a result, construction on a singular, shared new arena for both respective organizations is currently underway in Inglewood, California, and it’s certainly no small endeavor. According to the L.A. Times, the building project for Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park is worth 2.6 billion dollars, which will make it one of the most expensive NFL stadiums ever constructed. The L.A. Times also makes mention of the project encompassing much more than just the arena, as a whole host of different residential areas, hotel, retail, and office spaces are also planned for development. The stadium itself is expected to be completed in 2020, and both the Rams and Chargers are no doubt excited to get settled in to their new gridiron palace in just two more years.

With building projects as massive and as expensive as this, accountability for workers and effective cost management wherever possible can be integral to a successful job done. For construction-related businesses, Actsoft’s products can aid greatly in ensuring the exact locations of a construction company’s most valued equipment is always known through GPS monitoring and geofencing technology. A staple piece of heavy construction machinery such as a bulldozer is easily able to reach tens of thousands of dollars in price per unit alone, making theft prevention crucial. Using geofences, supervisors are given the unique capability to draw borders on city maps and power to set parameters for where their vehicular equipment is and isn’t allowed to be at certain times. This can put more control and stability in the hands of the company’s leadership, especially when it comes to asset protection. Building companies that construct in large cities in particular can use geofencing because of its precision in sprawling metropolitan areas, and the technology also has many applications for arena-style build projects such as the aforementioned Los Angeles Stadium.

In short, Actsoft seeks to provide the construction industry with all the tools it needs to empower its corporations with efficiency and safety alike. The partnerships that Actsoft has forged with reputable companies in the business work together to create a better world for future generations to enjoy.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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