07.26
2019

What Are Geofences and How Do They Work?

One of the biggest issues that managers face when it comes to having a predominantly mobile staff is keeping track of their team to make sure they’re staying on task throughout the day. It’s impossible to have eyes on everyone at all times and this is especially true when your team is remote. While there is a certain level of trust administrators must put in their team, there are extra measures you can take to keep your team accountable.

We’ve discussed how our GPS-stamped Timekeeping feature helps to prevent mobile employees from preemptively punching in at the start of the day, prior to arriving at job sites. But how do you know they actually remain on-site for the duration of the day? It’s not feasible to continually check in throughout the day, using the live view map; as a business owner, there are much more important things you can (and should) be focusing on.

So what do you do? Enter: Geofences.

Simply put, geofences are virtual boundaries that define a designated area and can trigger a predetermined response whenever they are “breached.” With Encore, you can set up geofences around hotspots — such as work sites — in order to monitor both the arrival and departure of people, vehicles, and equipment.

What does this mean for you?

Once your workers are on the clock, our tracking solution helps assure that they will remain on-site for the duration of their shift. Because if for any reason they depart the geofence zone, you and/or whichever administrator you put in charge, will receive an alert letting you know about this departure. From there, you can determine if it was an authorized move or if it warrants a discussion.

Just knowing that this capability exists is typically enough to keep your workers on-site and accountable for their actions. For those that still feel the need to wander, you’re left with indisputable proof that documents their departure from the worksite and the length of time they were gone. (And you can still track where they went, if they’re still on the clock.)

In addition to keeping your team in check, geofences can also be used to make sure your important (and costly) equipment and vehicles remain where they should be. This added layer of protection helps to prevent both theft and unauthorized use by employees for personal business.

This is just one example of how we embrace the power of GPS to help you make the most of your business. Give us a call and we’ll set up a demo to show you all the other ways our solution can help maximize your workforce.

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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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07.17
2019

What Telecommuting Tool Is Saving Companies Big Bucks?

Today almost all companies have a percentage of employees who work outside of the office. Whether they’re salespeople, delivery drivers, or specialists like plumbers and mechanics, this part of your workforce may never step foot into the office, but they’re an integral part of your success.

The major problems with this group are communication and observation. While you have email and mobile devices available to communicate, this may not be the most efficient method of making sure employees are logging the hours they’re supposed to or arriving at important meetings on time. Moreover, it’s time consuming for management or dispatchers to call or email a remote team member to make sure they’re available to take a call or make a delivery. A solution more and more companies are turning to is mobile timekeeping, which allows employees to clock in and out right from their mobile device.

This complete visibility and accuracy is enabled by GPS time-stamping so you can see both when and where you’re team member was when he or she clocked in. Did they make it to an important client meeting? You can see right away when they clock in, so management has total transparency and accountability for all employees both in and out of the office.

By using a simple and cost-effective solution like mobile timekeeping, you can eliminate guesswork from the equation. Additionally, if you want to see whether a delivery was made, the GPS feature shows precisely where your driver was and at what time — this information can then be sent to your customers if needed, in the event an arrival is disputed.

Another great benefit is that with each time punch you can capture photos; signatures; and data about current jobs, vehicles, and odometer readings.

Experts agree that companies who are adopting these ready-made solutions are more productive and ultimately better equipped for business in the future than companies who do not use this kind of technology designed for mobile employees.

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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07.03
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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06.11
2019

Setting the Pace for Your Workforce

High productivity doesn’t necessarily mean just staying constantly busy. In fact, time management is perhaps the most crucial aspect to keeping productivity optimized for your workforce. Without a plan of how your team needs to be spending its working hours, you could actually end up setting your organization backwards a few steps.

To enhance time management and productivity, first start by outlining the jobs that your workforce needs to complete. Whether they’re revenue-based, retention-based, or internal, the importance level of each will be vital in helping your administrative team delegate its tasks. Arrange these initiatives by priority to help your entire company target its most pressing goals and better achieve them through clear, concise communication with the staff members that will complete them.

It’s also important to set a good pace for how realistic it will be for your team to finish each task. Do this by reviewing past projects, how long it took for those to get done, and evaluating any new steps that your current ones will require accordingly. Establishing realistic, flexible timeframes allows your employees to experience less pressure, effectively switch to new initiatives on the fly, and even deliver more consistently on deadlines.

Actsoft solutions are able to help you carve out a path to streamlined business strategy execution using a wealth of tools. Our products provide near real-time analytics about your mobile workforce’s daily operations, assisting your management team with tracking ongoing job progress, keeping productivity optimized, and adjusting timelines if need be. Features of Actsoft applications like GPS Tracking and Timekeeping can even help you pinpoint areas of your employees’ workflows that could be further optimized for greater efficiency, like certain prohibited driving behaviors using company vehicles or instances of breaks taken too frequently.

With the power of our mobile resource management innovations, poise your organization for more reliable pacesetting, additional savings, and greater growth.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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05.24
2019

Game of Thrones and Business Strategy

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last eight years, you’re at least somewhat familiar with the HBO series “Game of Thrones.” Regardless of whether you watched the medieval fantasy, it was —and continues to be — virtually impossible to avoid the seemingly constant chatter that infiltrated every form of media through the years. It almost always centered around fan theories: What was going to happen next? Who would ultimately lay claim to the prized Iron Throne? As of late, however, the conversation has taken a sharp turn as fans discussed what they liked or absolutely hated about this week’s finale.

Regardless of how you felt about the finale, if you were watching, then you undoubtedly spent the last eight years traversing the peaks and valleys of this epic adventure. You were there for the highs and the lows, the wins and the losses, and the deaths. The many, many deaths. Along the course of this journey, you may have noticed a couple of themes that went hand-in-hand with victory. While we can pretty confidently say — and we hope we’re right — that your business practices are nothing like the events that transpired in the fantastical world of Westeros, there are some takeaways from their strategies that you can carry over into your day-to-day practices … with our help and modern updates, of course.

First, the people leading the pack were always in the know. They knew where their people were. They knew where the most important landmarks were. And they knew the best routes to travel. Having this information, more often than not, was key to helping them come out on top.

With our GPS Tracking feature, we give you the insight to always be on top of the same type of information. Knowing the positions of the workers that are manning your “front lines” puts you in a much better position to win at the game of business. Having the near real-time locations of everyone in the field, plotted on a live map, gives you high ground against your competition, allowing you to quickly and easily identify the person best positioned to fall out and take on a new work order. This gives customers more incentive to give you their business since they’ll have a better idea of when they can expect service to arrive.

Second, they were able to relay messages to necessary parties much faster than anyone else. This gave them a leg up in terms of changing strategies based on evolving conditions, rather than taking the risk of entering a situation that became potentially more dangerous than they previously thought.

Now, in Westeros, this was accomplished rather precariously with ravens. We use Intra-Company Messaging, which lets you instantly send important messages to one person, or a group of people, through a secure network. So, when major changes arise that could affect schedules, priorities, or even worker safety, all necessary parties are informed at once, assuring that the whole team is on the same page. And with our method, you never have to worry about an arrow strike getting in the way of your message.

With the help of our suite of solutions — and the absence of dragons, direwolves, the Dothraki, and feudal sabotage — you’ll find yourself in a much better position to lead the charge to reign supreme in your field.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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05.22
2019

The Superheroes of the Workplace

The working day is not the same as it used to be. Long gone are the days of working a “9-to-5” job. For many, the work day is more like “7-to-6” and changes each day. It can seem like you need to be a superhero and put forth a Herculean effort just to make it through the week.

If you really think about it, a good employee isn’t much different from a superhero. Think of Batman from the Dark Knight trilogy. When Batman patrolled, the streets Gotham were a much safer place, but in his absence, the city slipped into chaos. It took Batman taking an extended leave of his voluntary and hazardous duties for him to be truly appreciated.

Just like Batman, there are many employees in the workforce who operate at a high level and are skilled at what they do. As talented as Batman was, he wouldn’t have been the hero he was without his immense resources. His utility belt, the Batmobile, his wits (and, sure, his billions of dollars from Wayne Enterprises) were all at his disposal to take down the bad guys.

Workplace heroes need tools, too. At Actsoft our utility belt is stocked with tools that help workers win the day.

Wireless Forms is the Batarang of our gadgets. It’s reliable, efficient, and proficient when in the right hands. It allows companies to eliminate the need for monotonous paper forms and deploy customizable forms onto wireless devices. Signature and image capture are just two of the features that make Wireless Forms a powerful asset.

Whatever your Batmobile may be, our suite of tools will be able to help you get the most out of it. You can rest assured knowing the precise location of your vehicle at all times even if the Joker or some other villain tries to make off with it. GPS Tracking will keep tabs on your vehicle, and also provides alerts to poor driving habits. Idling, straying from a route, and speeding are some of the violations that are monitored.

Of course, not all employees work in the confines of Gotham. Some operate from their own personal Batcaves or even as far away as Metropolis. When constantly working on the go, it’s a necessity to stay in communication with headquarters: Our tools help you do just that. Employees can clock in and out from their mobile devices, invoicing is all done wirelessly, and worker profiles can be compiled to make it clear who the real protagonists of the workday are.

Even Batman saw the challenges of being The Dark Knight a daunting task. He needed his tools to help him rescue Gotham and save the day. All employees are capable of tremendous feats, but could always use a little help to be even greater. After all, each employee is the hero the company needs.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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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.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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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.

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