22.01
2020

Encore’s Dispatching Scheduler: The Solution to Work Order Inefficiencies

In one of last week’s blog posts, we discussed some of the difficulties a field service company faced without having a tool to plan out their mobile employees’ work orders in advance. In addition to productivity and brand reputation suffering due to confusions in scheduling, the company was also spending too much money on paper documents to instruct staff that were handwritten and, at times, illegible.

Our flagship workforce management software Encore now enables businesses to manage workloads ahead of time with its Dispatching Scheduler feature. Available exclusively to users of the solution’s Ultimate tier, the Dispatching Scheduler provides an easy, yet intuitive way for your team to plan out customer visits and increase its efficiency.

Features of Encore’s Dispatching Scheduler:

  • A color-coded dashboard that provides easy identification for work order progress.
  • The ability to create service delivery windows for employees dispatched to new customer locations.
  • A feature for reassigning pending orders to new workers on the fly.
  • Calendar and Schedule rows that display availabilities, last known employee locations, and current assignments.
  • The ability to see lists of unassigned orders and drag and drop them onto user schedules.


Encore’s Dispatching Scheduler dashboard.

Benefits of Encore’s Dispatching Scheduler:

  • Distribute workloads more evenly.
  • Optimize employee schedules for higher efficiency.
  • Save time and money with intuitive scheduling that helps to keep employees informed.
  • Provide customers with more accurate service delivery times.
  • Graphics-based scheduling allows your staff to work faster and more interactively.

When applied to the field service use case, it’s easy to see how this powerful new capability could instantly improve the company’s processes. Encore’s Dispatching Scheduler allowed the business’s mobile employees to have easy access to their daily schedules, eliminating unnecessary back-and-forth communication from the office to the field and giving them a much more accurate timeframe for service deliveries. Due to both an increase in productivity and efficiency with the Dispatching Scheduler, their business was able to save significant revenue and also increase its opportunities from a strengthened reputation amongst its customer base.

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07.01
2020

Ways to Optimize Your Company’s Communication

Communication is essential to good business, and if it’s a skill that’s suffering at your workplace, there are undoubtedly hidden costs that come into play. Poor communication can result in lowered morale at best, and incredibly costly mistakes at worst. In fact, according to The Holmes Report, the total cost of ineffective communication for 400 surveyed companies with at least 100,000 employees was a staggering $37 billion. Given these potentially catastrophic results, here are four steps you can take to make sure your organization is firing on all cylinders when it comes to efficiency and clear directives.

Ensure proper email etiquette is in place.

Even something as simple as training your employees with a quick, 10-minute video on best practices for email communication is a great way to help verify that things are conveyed clearly, concisely, and professionally. Also, emphasize the importance of spelling and grammar checks across your organization; whether it’s responding internally to a coworker or manager, or externally to a business customer, it’s always important to ensure that communications remain accurate so that respect for the recipient is consistently upheld.

Schedule meetings that are actually productive.

Meetings that accomplish nothing are more than just a waste of time; they can harm workforce productivity if they’re taking people away from their work and nothing’s being done. To mitigate this, define a handful of specific goals that the meeting needs to accomplish prior to its start time, and once those goals are all accomplished, end the meeting promptly. This helps everyone remain focused on finding solutions, rather than on arbitrary conversations. Asking the individuals in the meeting for feedback about your strategies also welcomes additional diversity to the discussion, which is another essential element to good workplace communication.

Implement an efficient chain of command.

For certain forms of internal communication, such as purchase order or product collateral requests, it’s always a smart idea to establish protocols. Following standard operating procedures enables your team members to reach out to the correct individuals for these requests from the start, eliminate unnecessary back-and-forth, and ensure that the correct materials are received expediently.

Use Encore to coordinate with employees that work away from the office.

Our flagship mobile application, Encore, can help you more efficiently communicate with your internal and mobile staff by allowing your administrators to send out new instructions to them on the fly, receive collected data from the field digitally, and more. As the most powerful solution listed here for helping keep your communication inefficiencies to a minimum, Encore works to provide companies like yours with features for high savings.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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27.08
2019

A Synopsis of Encore Vault

Our Encore Vault solution is built to encompass all the additional security measures your organization may need over its data, communications, and analytics. Backed by Advanced Threat Protection for Microsoft Azure (ATP), Vault is a highly secure version of our flagship application that is an ideal fit for companies who require additional safety protocols.

At Actsoft, our staff have been through stringent training sessions in order to make sure that the services and engineering processes we abide by align with any and all security regulations; as a result, we’re able to provide a product that can now even more directly assist businesses in verticals like healthcare, professional service, and the public sector.

Encore Vault’s Wireless Forms feature supports compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which remains a necessity for many businesses, particularly those in healthcare. In addition to incurring costly fines, organizations whose documentation procedures don’t comply with federal mandates may be subject to additional sanctions; Vault’s ability to help check the compliance boxes for your company allows you to benefit from its features even faster and keep fines away. Affordable solutions for Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) are also offered with Vault, making it a truly dynamic and useful application in the healthcare space.

Aside from HIPAA compliance, Wireless Forms with increased security measures is valuable to organizations in other industries like professional service and the public sector. For these fields, remote data collection needs to stay highly secure, and with ATP locking down form transmissions, organizations in verticals like these can still reap benefits of saved time, money, and heightened efficiency. Data breaches can also be incredibly costly to recover from for any company’s bottom line; Vault helps mitigate data loss potential with geo-redundant storage, expanding the ways that your company can stay protected.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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07.08
2019

How Excellent Communication Enhances Project Management

For any team project, effective communication is essential. Coordinating various tasks that need to be accomplished is much easier when there’s open communication between staff members and supervisors; however, this can be a struggle to maintain consistently at times.

Requesting feedback from your staff regarding how much work they’ve got on their schedules is an excellent way to encourage honesty, reduce overwhelming feelings for individuals in your organization, and pinpoint the objectives at hand with laser focus. It can also give you the best idea of who has additional availability to take on more work. However, there’s no way to gauge expendable bandwidth without solid communication. David Knight, Actsoft’s vice president of customer experience believes that without clear connectivity, collaborative efforts will become limited for a workforce.

“The key to teamwork is collaboration, which can only be achieved with effective communication,” said Knight. “Effective communication keeps teams on the same page at the same time, but more importantly, helps teams avoid conflicts and misunderstandings, which reduce collaboration.”

If everyone in your company is on the same page, meeting deadlines also becomes infinitely easier. A mission statement is a great way to communicate your business’s vision, uniting your workforce around a central theme that keeps staff up to date with the values and objectives that your organization is striving to accomplish during project execution.

Actsoft’s solutions offer intuitive features to make project management easier through enhanced communication. Intra-Company Messaging and Job Dispatching help keep all aspects of your company in the know by providing platforms to securely transmit key information about jobs in the field, regardless of how far away your mobile employees may be. With the power of our applications, strengthen your business’s communication channels and improve the ways that your team collaborates on its daily projects.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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16.07
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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10.07
2019

Talent Is Not the Key to Success

You might be surprised by what is. In a word: organization. The ability to assemble a variety of moving parts in such a way that they work efficiently is the key to any company’s success — whether you own an accounting firm or doughnut shop. Understanding and managing the flow of daily operations can save businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars. And with today’s user-friendly technology, more and more people are adopting software solutions to help them streamline their processes and manage employee activities, meetings, appointments, and projects.

“Time management isn’t just a personal productivity issue over which companies have no control. It has increasingly become an organizational issue whose root causes are deeply embedded in corporate structures and cultures,” says Aaron De Smet in McKinsey Quarterly, speaking on the necessity of sound time management throughout a company’s internal structure.

From Forbes to the Wall Street Journal to week-long trainings and seminars, there are countless articles citing top organizational applications while managers across the country attend high-ticket conferences on, you got it: How to get organized.

Actosft’s suite of solutions helps to optimize daily performance through a wide range of functions designed to make each minute count. They were also designed to help employees reduce the amount of busy work they do so that areas like innovation, customer service, and critical thinking–oriented issues can take precedence.

Features of these two solutions include meaningful ways to tackle some of the most common communication and administrative tasks of most companies and organizations, such as:

  • Instant Visibility View your entire workload and status updates for each job, assignment, stop, or project.
  • Drag-and-Drop Dispatching Assign work simply with a drag-and-drop interface and workers will be notified with each update.
  • No Lost Paperwork Attach Wireless Forms to orders and collect job updates, inventory utilized, before and after pictures, and signatures.
  • Calendars and Scheduling Sync workforce availability with customer schedules.
  • Detailed Profiles Create detailed profiles of your customers and employees while having complete access to current workload and job history.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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02.05
2019

3 Ways Actsoft Solutions Help Sustain Productivity

Employees are the driving force behind your team’s success. However, if there’s no accountability within your workforce, productivity can suffer, and end up doing damage to your company’s bottom line in the long run.

Actsoft solutions are built to provide your management with all the tools they need to know their workforces inside and out. By creating a clearer picture of what is happening in the field for supervisors to see, our applications deliver a user-friendly experience that works to keep accountability high. Here are three features of our solutions that help bolster productivity across your entire workforce.

GPS Tracking

The ability to track mobile employees during working hours enables businesses to ensure that their teams are in the right places at the right time. This is the first step in verifying that tasks are being completed efficiently. Our solutions’ GPS Tracking feature also extends to fleet management by allowing your managers to see work vehicle positions around the clock, ensuring that they’re always at proper locations.

Alerts

Whenever mobile employees travel using company vehicles to work sites, you can use Alerts to receive notifications about certain driving behaviors they may exhibit. Our solutions work in tandem with hardware that’s easy to install into your vehicles, giving you an electronic notice any time activities like excessive idling occur. If your vehicles are remaining stationary but their engines are left running, it can serve as a good indicator that your remote workers may be stalling on the job.

Job Dispatching

Communication as a whole should always be optimized within your business. Job Dispatching helps to foster better connectivity by allowing you to route the closest available employees to a new job site in the field. This feature helps to improve productivity by eliminating unnecessary trips to the office and serving as an easier, faster, and less costly way to reach new customers.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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15.03
2019

How to Manage Difficult Behavior at Work

Let’s face it. No matter what we all would like to believe about the place we work, there is bound to be conflict in the office. It might be clashing of strong personalities with starkly different viewpoints on how things should be done or (unfortunately) the occasional worker who is consistently at odds with others. When these types of issues rise up among staff, it’s up to you to redirect them to a more amicable path.

We’ve discussed how to approach conflict in the past from a management perspective, but what happens when the issue at hand lies with steadily difficult behavior, rather than one-off instances that can be resolved and moved on from? What do you do when faced with a team member who repeatedly presents off-putting behavior that negatively impacts others?

Now, your inclination may be to resort to swiftly eliminating the problem. While termination can certainly be one solution, it shouldn’t necessarily be the go-to method. For starters, the so-called difficult person may otherwise be a tremendous asset to your company. Additionally, they may not even realize that their behavior is creating discord.

At the same time, it’s still important to be on top of this type of conflict, particularly when it’s consistent, because dissonance among your staff not only produces unpleasant working conditions (even for those not directly involved), but it also is a catalyst for sub-par performance, which affects your bottom line.

Since we’re all about helping you maximize your workforce’s potential in order to make your business as smooth-running and profitable as possible, we thought we’d pass along some advice for how best to approach these types of sensitive situations.

Listen to them.
Let’s say someone is consistently negative; it can put a real damper on the mood. Though we all may want to focus on the positive, it’s important to hear this person out. They could very well have a legitimate complaint and feel that nobody has listened to them. And so, it festers. Listen to them. Ask them questions. Determine if their negativity stems from a work-related issue that you may not have known about, but that needs to be addressed. If not, let them know how their negative attitude is adversely affecting the team and put them on a path toward more positive behavior.

Approach respectfully, not confrontationally.
There are certain behaviors that can truly be disruptive to the workplace. It may be something as simple as listening to music too loud, or it might be a more sensitive subject, like hygiene issues. Or maybe they’re dressing in a way you feel doesn’t best represent the company, though it may technically fall within the dress code. Whatever the issue may be, it’s best to address the person directly, though respectfully, and make sure there’s a clear understanding of adjustments that need to be made.

Put people on a path to success.
Difficult behavior can abruptly end a person’s career path within a certain business. Make sure the employee knows they have the opportunity to get back on track and truly pave a road to future success with the company … if they can successfully modify their day-to-day conduct. Ultimately, most people want to be successful and, more often than not, if they know they’re jeopardizing that, they’ll adjust to accommodate.

Don’t add fuel to the fire.
We know, sometimes it’s easier (and more fun) to be the type of boss that is super chummy with all your staff. While it’s great to have that type of rapport, there needs to be a line of separation at some point. If certain members of your team take to ragging on others for, say, the aforementioned disruptive behavior — particularly if they’re taking things too far — don’t join them. Your job isn’t to be an antagonist. Instead, nip that behavior in the bud before it gets out of hand, and then address the disruption.

At the end of the day, we all want the workplace — whether you’re in an office, constantly offsite, or a combination of the two — to be an enjoyable place to be. After all, it is where you spend a large chunk of your waking hours. We hope this can help.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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01.03
2019

5 Tips for Better Communication at Work

It doesn’t matter if ten percent of your workforce is in the field or if 100 percent of it is. One of the top attributes that contributes to the success or any business is clear and effective communication. Think about it for a minute. How can you expect to successfully deliver a product if the people responsible for its creation can’t even manage to maintain a dialogue that keeps everyone operating on the same page? (Hint: You can’t.)

With that in mind, we thought we’d offer a little advice on how to more effectively communicate with your team

Be crystal clear.
We get it. This seems like obvious non-advice but work with us here. More often than not, miscommunications happen because of gaps, left-out information, or even nonverbal cues that contradict the actual message being delivered. Make sure you are relaying all pertinent information, clearly and concisely. And if speaking in person, versus through an email, mind those facial expressions and gestures that could, say, suggest that you really don’t feel strongly about what you’re saying.

Listen to your team.
This is probably the most important tip of all. While it may not seem like a tip that necessarily involves you actually communicating with anyone, taking the time to listen to your staff — actually hearing what they have to say — sends an extremely powerful message. It’s one thing for an employer to speak about having an open-door policy and an entirely different matter to see it in action. Whether it’s office grievances or ideas for process improvement, let them not only be heard but show that you are listening. You can achieve this by repeating certain talking points back and asking questions.

Ask questions.
Like we mentioned above, asking questions helps to really demonstrate to your staff that you’re actually listening to them when they talk. But it also helps to clarify any confusion there may be, assuring that you are all on the same page. However, when asking questions, make sure not to veer off to another topic altogether. Stay focused on the subject at hand.

Approach conflict from all angles.
It’s almost impossible to avoid some sort of conflict amongst colleagues. No two minds work the same and, at one time or another, different viewpoints are going to clash. What matters is how conflicts are resolved. As a leader, be sure to hear both sides of the equation, keep an open mind, and don’t play favorites. It’s important to maintain a high level of diplomacy and help all parties involved come to some sort of resolution so everyone can move forward.

Avoid discussing divisive topics.
We’ve told you about the negative side of discussing politics in the workplace, but politics isn’t the only taboo topic of conversation at work. Bold statements about personal beliefs, such as religion, or even thoughts on hot-button topics in the news, like a highly controversial criminal trial, for example, can lead to heated debates that are best left outside of the office. The last thing you want is for unrelated personal viewpoints to get in the middle of people’s abilities to effectively do their jobs.

With a little finessing, anyone can mold themselves into a model communicator. It all comes down to being willing to put in the effort and make some changes that ultimately help the business as a whole move forward.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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20.02
2019

3 Ways Encore’s Traffic Overlay Feature Benefits Businesses

At Actsoft, we’re constantly pushing the boundaries of what our applications can do so you can continue to witness high returns on investment. We do this by adding capabilities on a quarterly basis and rolling out enhancements to our application that refine the power of our existing features, creating new ways for you to improve your business plan.

Traffic Overlay is an enhancement we recently made to Encore’s GPS Tracking feature. Providing color-coded glimpses into near real-time traffic patterns, Traffic Overlay helps your supervisors identify and plan for drivers to take routes that are least affected by roadway congestion. Here are some of the key benefits this tool can provide to businesses like yours:

Less idle time

Use Traffic Overlay to reduce the amount of idle time that your company’s drivers must deal with by having them avoid high congestion areas, whenever it may be possible. As sitting idle in traffic takes a toll on the long-term performance of your vehicles and puts unnecessary stress on your remote employees, keeping your fleet mobile can improve equipment longevity and the mental health of your staff.

Faster response times

The time of both your employees and customers is valuable, especially during critical situations. Use Traffic Overlay to enhance punctuality across your workforce and fulfill the needs of your clientele faster, on average. Dispatchers can use the feature to see what routes are clearest, helping field employees get to the job sites they need to be at quickly.

Lower fuel costs

It’s obvious that a 30-minute drive with open roadways is going to burn less gasoline than an hour-long trip spent mostly in bumper-to-bumper traffic. When played out over the course of a year, this disparity can cause your business’s fuel costs to soar if the most efficient routes aren’t being selected beforehand. Traffic Overlay allows your team to increase its savings by displaying congestion levels in near real-time, making it easy to pick routes that are optimal.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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