How Can I Prevent Expensive Repairs to My Car?

Routine car maintenance is an important thing that a lot of people tend to neglect or forget about altogether. An illumination of the dreaded “Check Engine” light is often times a scary thing for a car owner to see, and they may put off necessary vehicle checkups related to this occurrence out of fear of a potentially large repair bill. What isn’t often realized, however, is that failing to take reparative action in a timely manner could exacerbate the problems, calling for even more expensive repairs later on down the road. To prevent expensive and inconvenient transportation issues like this from happening to you, it’s best to always pay close attention to what messages your car is sending, and in turn give it plenty of preventative maintenance.

How Can I Take Care of My Car?

The importance of routine oil changes for your vehicle cannot be stated enough. According to Firestone Complete Auto Care, a good guideline of how often your oil should be replaced is either about once every three months or once every 3,000 miles driven. By doing this on a regular basis, you can ensure that only clean, proper levels of oil are helping your engine operate, and that as little wear-and-tear as possible is being put on the pistons inside it. Engine repairs are easily able to fetch thousands of dollars in price, so making sure that your motor remains healthy by routinely changing your oil should always be a priority.

Idling is another common practice of many drivers that can wear vehicles down over time. When a car is turned on and subjected to a lengthy standstill, the engine continues to run, burning fuel, expelling carbon monoxide, and in effect having its total lifespan chipped away at. To reduce instances of idling, something as simple as turning your car off every time you’re stuck waiting for a train to pass at a railroad crossing can positively add up over multiple years. While it’s impossible to completely eliminate all instances of idling, maintaining a conscious effort to reduce this practice as much as possible could end up paying off huge in the long run when it comes to the longevity of your car’s lifespan.

In addition to reducing idle times, getting your brakes checked regularly is another way to prevent expensive repairs later on and maintain a vehicle that is safe to drive. Grinding or squealing sounds when slowing your car down should be an immediate sign that there is an issue with your brakes, and that they should be examined at a repair center as quickly as possible. As delaying brake repairs could result in putting both yourself and other drivers on the road in danger, never take your car’s warning signs of a problem lightly.

If you’re in charge of multiple cars, finding a method of managing the maintenance needs of each individual vehicle can pose quite a challenge. Thankfully, Actsoft’s fleet management solutions can provide a way for you to receive instant alerts about when your vehicles are due for an oil change, when a “Check Engine” light in one of your vehicles activates, or when a driver is idling for too long. With our simple but powerful solutions, never feel uncertainty about your fleet’s maintenance schedules ever again.

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How Has Communication Evolved?

Communication is one of the most important things to society, and it has continued to transform as time has churned forward. In contemporary times such as these, advances in technology have played huge roles in improving people’s access to one another, as they have simplified the logistics of communicating across far distances significantly. Cell phones and computers allow people to talk to one other nearly instantly even if they are thousands of miles apart, which is a fascinating concept, especially once the broader context of communication’s history is taken into account.

If you could go back in time and talk to a person from the year 1750 in a face-to-face setting, they’d probably look at you like you’re crazy if you tried to explain to them how the iPhone X’s new Animoji feature works. In fact, even if we sped things up two more centuries to the 1950s and conducted the same exercise, you’d still get a bewildered and confused reaction from a person living in that era. Nevertheless, the advances that older societies like these made to the concepts of communication as a whole were instrumental in building what we currently have at our disposal.

The beginnings of communication took the form of cave drawings by some of our earliest ancestors, and later the ancient Phoenicians developed the first universal alphabet in order to trade with multiple cultures. Soon, ancient Egyptians began creating early forms of paper to write on using papyrus, further advancing the known world’s adaptations of communication. Much later, all of these early developments would help culminate in the first computers, but these machines filled up entire buildings and provided only minimal functionality. Now, in terms of processing power, cutting-edge engineering has allowed for machinery that used to take up whole rooms to fit snugly into the size of your pocket. This is a key factor in what allows us to instantly communicate with people on the other side of the globe today.

The present-day business world in particular heavily relies on communication to accomplish work and function on a daily basis. Internal memos, customer interactions, and employee collaboration on projects are just a few examples of where communication is a necessary tool in a corporation-style setting. In fact, communication is so vital to a business that if a company actively puts extra emphasis on improving its internal and external communication, its productivity, clarity, and profits could all experience significant rises.

At Actsoft, equipping businesses with modern mobile resource management (MRM) solutions to effectively communicate is one of our biggest proficiencies. For example, our Wireless Forms feature in many of our solutions grants employees in the field with an easy but intuitive method of completing paperwork and sending it back to the home office via mobile phone or tablet. This can streamline work flow from the field back to company headquarters, saving time, money, and resources. Job Dispatching is another service Actsoft provides that can prove to be a vital asset to a company’s workers in the field. Using this, employees can receive and immediately respond to new work assignments from the tap of a screen while they are out in the field.

For companies located in many different industries, Actsoft’s MRM products will continue to blaze a trail into the future of business communication for years to come. With advancement and user convenience at the forefront of our development priorities, companies who are searching for a new type of communicative solution are in luck.

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Workforce Management & The Return On Investment: Vehicles, Part I

Over the last few weeks, we have been tackling the return experienced after investing in wireless forms, dispatching, and timekeeping. While integral in increasing the overall efficiency of a workforce, these aspects all have a common lynchpin: the human element. There exists another element of the workforce that, while a bit less prone to going against the grain, still require ample amounts of attention in order to ensure it is conducive to the growth of the business.

That aspect is known as your “Vehicles” or “Fleet.”

Businesses with employees that operate away from the main office must account for the automobiles within their Fleet. According to a joint study by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) and National Equipment Register (NER) in 2012, fleet vehicles are liable to be targeted for theft, resulting in between $300 million and $1 Billion lost by businesses each year.

Let us revisit our friend Paul and see exactly how his Pool Cleaning Company is doing:

Paul has put some big plans into motion since we last we checked in on him. His company has expanded to not only handle pool cleaning, but also pool construction! Paul’s Pool Cleaning & Construction Company now has added three mid-sized excavators to its fleet, each with a cost of $200K dollars for a total of $600K. Let us assume that in a forty-hour business week, each excavator can dig two pools. Between all three excavators, Paul’s company digs 24 pools over the course of a month.

Assuming the average cost of excavating a pool is $1200, we can conclude that Paul’s three excavators are contributing $28,800 to Paul’s gross monthly revenue. While amounting to over $300K in annual revenue, the excavators would require two years before Paul saw any profit on their purchase.

However, those two years of consistent work are not guaranteed with vehicles being targeted as they are. While the average cost of stolen equipment $17,400, heavy equipment like Paul’s excavators are a more lucrative prize; they are five times likelier to be stolen than damaged in an auto accident. Coupled with the statistic that only 20% of stolen equipment is ever recovered, theft poses an incredible threat to the overall productivity and profitability of businesses like Paul’s.

Let’s imagine one of Paul’s excavators is stolen and never recovered, resulting in the immediate loss of a $200K piece of equipment. Not only is the equipment lost, but Paul also loses its contribution to his business. As stated earlier, 24 pools at $1200 generates $28,800 for Paul’s Pool Cleaning & Construction monthly and $345,600 annually. The loss of the excavator negates its ability to pay for itself, while the cost incurred by the purchase of all three vehicles remains (-600K). Paul now must rely on his two remaining excavators to pay off the costs of all three machines. With these concrete numbers, we can calculate exactly how long it would take Paul to pay off the cost of the excavators and see a profit:

-$600,000 costs to be accounted for because of all three excavators

+ $230,400 revenue generated by the two remaining excavators in the first year

-$369,600 remaining costs of excavators going into the second year

+$230,400 revenue generated by the two remaining excavators in the second year

-$139,200 remaining costs of excavators going into the third year

+$230,400 revenue generated by the two remaining excavators in the third year

$91,200 profit after excavators pay off their cost in the third year

It would take Paul’s excavators three years to pay off their costs after one of them was stolen, hindering the profitability of Paul’s Pool Cleaning & Construction.

To mitigate the impact theft has on his business, Paul can install tracking devices onto his excavators. The devices work with Actsoft software that can be calibrated to detect any movement of the vehicle after work hours and immediately report said movement. Tracking technology can also relay the location of stolen vehicles, increasing the successful recovery of the vehicles.

The installation of Actsoft’s software into vehicles is one of many steps to guard against vehicle theft. Not only does it help prevent the total loss of a vehicle you have already invested in, but it also lessens the negative impact to your business’s productivity and reputation. Taking special care of the vehicles within your workforce are key to elevating your workforce management!

Next week, we continue Part II of this discussion on “Workforce Management & The Return On Investment: Vehicles” with a special focus on the maintenance and safety of vehicles within your fleet!


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