Wisconsin Mill Explosion – Actsoft in Emergencies

An explosion tore through a corn and ethanol mill in Cambria, Wisconsin late on Wednesday, June 1 2017. The subsequent fire claimed the lives of three employees within the plant and wounded over a dozen more.  The cause of the explosion remains unknown, but medical helicopters and several fire departments quickly responded to the blaze.

While the cause of the explosion is still a mystery, its effects are severe and long lasting. As with any emergency, the aftermath always begs one question from those involved: How can we do better next time?

While an ideal world would see no emergencies, we must realistically assume they will happen and prepare ourselves accordingly. In an environment like the corn mill, an efficiently coordinated response in the face of an emergency is the difference between a successful evacuation and a tragedy. While every organization has established plans “in case of emergency,” it is commonly believed that most plans go out the window in the face of a crisis. In order to combat the inevitable confusion that follows the collapse of a plan, transparency is key in the event of an emergency.

Actsoft facilitates transparency between workers and managers in a factory environment with its mobile device solutions. From a web portal, managers can relay messages across their workforce in order to coordinate their movements during an emergency. Furthermore, managers can establish groups of workers in order to deliver instructions that are more specific to intended groups of workers.

The tracking capabilities of Actsoft’s solutions enable constant visibility of employees in near real-time. During an emergency where workers are unaccounted for and/or trapped, the speed at which rescue teams can find them becomes imperative to their survival. As long as their mobile devices maintain their transmission and remain on their person, the tracking features will help ensure that any lost employees are found.

Emergencies are both unfortunate and unavoidable. We can plan a reaction to them, but plans are rarely adhered to when tensions are through the roof. The next best thing to do is to plan for the confusion following a crisis and figure out ways to reduce it, while realigning everyone involved with the initial plan. Actsoft provides the software to create a safety net underneath a plan that has fallen through.


For greater insight into what Actsoft can do to help manage your company’s risk feel free to explore more of www.actsoft.com or click below to speak to us directly.


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Tackling Risk Management

Workforce management continues to grow more complex as time marches onward. As technology increases the scope of what comprises a workforce, the risks faced by companies increase as well. These risks are areas in which the companies are susceptible to experiencing losses. Three of the most exposed areas for risk are payroll, records, and safety.



In the wake of expansion, companies naturally grow in personnel. An increase in personnel, however, exposes businesses to the trappings of inaccurate wage dispensation. Maintaining accurate timekeeping records across a larger business becomes increasingly difficult. Managers often rely on an “honor-system” with employees reporting when they worked, with little-to-no means of verifying the employee’s records.


As a business grows, the demand for recording data grows as well. A Canvas Marketing survey found that the average annual cost of paper was $80.00 per employee. The survey also found that the standard five-drawer filing cabinet comes with the annual price tag of $2,182.62 and 70% of businesses would fail within a three-week period if all of their paper files were lost in an accident.


With more personnel added to the workforce, companies can experience an increase in hazardous incidents. Limited awareness of employee whereabouts boosts the potential for increased damage and loss of life.


Actsoft provides several features that directly alleviate the burden felt by growing companies and their expanding workforce:

Timekeeping enables employees to clock into work from their mobile device, negating the time spent traveling to the office to clock-in then to their job order. Coupled with a GPS location stamp whenever a time is recorded, timekeeping ensures employees are on site when they clock-in. The records are electronic, reducing the opportunity for incorrectly recorded timesheets, and eliminating the need for paper copies.

Wireless Forms converts the recording of data into an electronic interface that can be accessed from a mobile device or tablet. The costs of purchasing and storing paper are immediately negated and the wireless forms can be immediately sent and stored in a virtual database, circumventing the threat posed by losing paper files.

GPS Tracking permits a constant monitoring of worker locations, which is imperative in the event of an emergency. With near real-time information relayed, managers can coordinate their workforce through emergencies with increased efficiency. In the unfortunate event that an employee is unconscious, their device’s continuous transmitting of their location can help rescue services locate them more quickly and administer medical attention if necessary.


For greater insight into what Actsoft can do to help manage your company’s risk feel free to explore more of www.actsoft.com or click below to speak to us directly.


Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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Distracted Driving & The Workforce

This story is a familiar one: A lone person is driving along an often-traveled route, confident in their ability to navigate without giving the road their full attention. Their phone, sitting in a cup-holder to their right, vibrates with a notification. The driver picks up the phone. It is a simple text: “what do you want for dinner?” They smile, deciding to look back up before responding. “Why is there a pole in the middle of the road?” they ask themselves before colliding with the light pole…

Distracted driving is the cause behind a multitude of traffic accidents within the United States. 2.5 million People are involved in road accidents annually. With what amounts to over 37,000 deaths a year, it is clear that the roads of America are not as safe as we would like them to be. Of these people involved in yearly accidents, 1.6 million of them are the result of cell phone involvement.

The presence of cell phones within vehicles creates increased opportunities for drivers to be distracted from focusing on the road. As stated in our previous blog post, the optimum speed for drivers to maintain in order to avoid inefficient fuel consumption is 55mph. According to Luke Ameen’s “The 25 Scariest Texting and Driving Accident Statistics,” it takes an average of five seconds to read a text message on your mobile phone. In those five seconds, a driver traveling at 55mph would have traveled the entire length of a football field. That distance, combined with that length of distraction, sets the stage for an accident to occur within a moment’s notice.

While cell phone usage is only one of many distractions drivers face while operating their vehicles, business owners must consider it the primary distraction in today’s age. More businesses are distributing company-issued smartphones in order to strengthen the connection to their remote employees and manage their workforce more efficiently. These same businesses are inadvertently increasing their employees’ likelihood of getting into an accident while operating a company vehicle. This circumstance complicates the matter further in a couple of ways:

  • An employee causing an accident opens the door for you and your business to be held accountable. Should the accident result in any loss of life, the fallout would result in more than just increased insurance premiums for your business.
  • In the event no one is harmed during the incident, the loss of a functioning vehicle is a blow to your workforce. The inability to utilize your resource hinders your efficiency, while the driver more than likely continues to text-and-drive.

Since handheld devices can be distracting while completing work related tasks, Actsoft provides a solution through the CalAMP LMU-3000, which is compatible with any vehicle that has an OBDII port. An easy and reliable “plug-and-play” option that captures the location, acceleration, and driver data you desire while taking the possible distraction out of the hands of a driver. The CalAmp LMU-2620/2610 is a hard-mounted or “permanently installed” option that constantly monitors vehicle activity and immediately responds to pre-defined threshold conditions. Both are welcomed alternatives to companies who are looking for tracking functionality while keeping drivers eyes on the road.The GPS Lockbox PTT Driving Kit enables drivers to holster, charge, and utilize their mobile devices for push-to-talk communications without keeping them in their hands. When married with the software, it creates a complete system for communication and for hours-of-service compliance.

The National Safety Council has designated April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the organization implores all employers to have a cell phone ban for all drivers. With 64% of the total number of traffic accidents caused by drivers distracted by cell phones, it is in the best interest of employers to discourage the use of cell phones while driving year-round. Curbing the use of cell phones while behind the wheel will not only benefit your workforce and its productivity but also benefit society.

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What Makes A “Good” Website From A Marketing Standpoint?

Website design has grown into an art form unto its own in the current day-and-age. A broad spectrum of teams put their time and energy into a website in order for it to come to fruition, the gamut running from development to executive. Once it reaches completion, your website becomes the first impression your brand has on visitors to the site. Businesses often design their websites with visual appeal at the forefront of their priorities, while website functionality takes a backseat: a mistake that can be rather costly when marketing their services through their website.

In a recent discussion on website creation, I heard a phrase on what you want your website to be in order to leverage it from a marketing standpoint: “Simple, Intuitive, and Effective.” Those three words rang home with me and I hope they will with you as well:


When you are designing your website, you want it to be visually appealing. After all, attractiveness is the foundation of any marketing strategy. However, oftentimes we become carried away with focusing on our websites being “pretty” and less on accomplishing their “purpose.” The use of unconventional and interesting designs in order to separate your website from others may dissuade visitors from spending more time on your site.

Coupled with the distractions of a complex website are the slower load times. Maintaining the attention of visitors to your website becomes increasingly difficult with the bombardment of input from multiple platforms. This makes the speed at which your website loads critical to converting visitors into customers. Checking your Google Analytics Site Speed reports grants insight into how fast your website is loading, with under four seconds as your target.

  • Function Over Beauty.
  • Don’t Hide Your Site’s Purpose Behind “Glitz & Glam”
  • Speed > Decoration

To remix an age-old idiom: Keep It Super Simple.


The most straightforward aspect of website creation is ensuring that it is “intuitive.” When someone visits your site, there should be little-to-no confusion as to what is the next step. There should be a flow to your website, directed “Calls-To-Action,” that carry visitors to the next logical step.

  • It Should Be Clear What Visitors Should Do Next.
  • Display Menus & Navigation Buttons Clearly. Do Not Hide Them Behind Design Features.


Your website can not only look good and be easy to navigate, but it must also be effective in converting visitors into leads. If we envision your website as an actual highway in the shape of a figure-eight, we can equate the site traffic as the actual cars on the road. If these cars travel this figure eight, they will continue to drive its length without any exits – eventually leading to frustration, disinterest, and (most importantly) a lost lead.

Now, each Call-To-Action on your site would be the equivalent to a highway exit. Some of your traffic may want to get off on exit “Download a case study in exchange for an email address.” Other members of your traffic may choose to get off at “subscribe to the weekly blog,” while others drive around aimlessly until they see exit “create a username and password.” The rate at which you convert visitors into leads is the measure of the effectiveness of your website.

  • Your website is generating traffic, but is it retaining visitors? Are they checking out available features? Are they subscribing to your mailing list via email?
  • Distribute your Calls-To-Action strategically throughout your website.
  • Give-to-Receive. Make the prospect of sharing information enticing to the visitor.

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Data is King: The Road to Self-Driving Vehicles

Data is the “cash cow” of the digital age. Like gold and oil in decades past, there is a rush to accumulate as much data about consumers as quickly as possible. Companies like Facebook and Google are acquiring and making a fortune off the sale of said data. Matt McFarland of CNN tech explains the current environment surrounding data acquisition and the proliferation of sensory technology in our vehicles.

The increased presence of sensors and cameras within modern cars yield greater ability to monitor performance and surroundings. Today’s vehicles can identify which part of the car’s interior needs maintenance or if there are obstacles around us as we drive. These sensors generate data that is analyzed in the hopes of creating self-driving vehicles.

Self-driving cars would generate immense amounts of data (1 gigabyte per second according to Tom Coughlin, Founder of Coughlin Associates). The possibilities created by these acquisitions are equally immense. Vehicles will potentially be able to relay the location of specific landmarks like parking spaces in a crowded lot, for instance. While the ability to locate a parking space from a single application on your phone is beneficial, it is only one positive change self-driving vehicles could bring about.

How does that affect your workforce?

Self-driving vehicles would remove driver necessity in the transport industry. Taxis, cargo trucks, etc. would find their once human-operated vehicles controlled by a computer receiving incredible amounts of data as it travels.  There would not be payroll discrepancies about overtime wages. Gone would be the days of driver error resulting in accidents (which result in $242 billion a year in the United States). Like the invention of the mechanized assembly line, the widespread implementation of self-driving vehicles would make the use of anything else obsolete.

McFarland mentions that the presence of affordable autonomous travel would exponentially expand the travel market. Transportation companies would be able to enter and reach people in the developing world who are unable to afford vehicles of their own or transport services operated by human drivers. The presence of vehicles always connected to the internet opens up the avenue for location and time based advertisements. Companies could not only generate revenue from the use of vehicles and the sale of vehicle data, but also from advertisers trying to reach constituents in a particular region.

Self-driving vehicles can potentially streamline the route optimization and dispatching processes of your fleet – new orders will no longer have to be communicated from headquarters, as the car nearest a request would immediately get the request. Traffic congesting routes would be circumvented as the car receives data on the various paths towards its destination.

The advent of the self-driving vehicle will be disruptive to various industries. Companies will have to adjust their processes should the benefits outweigh the costs.

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