25.03
2020

Tips for Communicating Efficiently While Working Away From the Office

Communicating efficiently is a big part of what makes an office properly function, but what happens in a remote work setting, when face-to-face conversations aren’t always realistic? Barriers to communication shouldn’t be a reason for productivity to lag when employees are performing work away from the office. Here are four ways that you can make connecting with your dispersed remote workers much easier, efficient, and productive, especially during a time like this.

Use voice calls, when necessary

Calling remote employees from time to time, rather than exclusively messaging or emailing them, adds a personalized touch and can even help transmit your positive company culture across long distances. Verbal check-ins with remote staff also provide an easier outlet for them to ask follow-up questions and gain clarification on certain tasks, if necessary.

Retain records of past conversations

To ensure that conversations remain on task and work-related, make sure you’re using a system of communication that records chat logs in near real-time. This can also be beneficial if an employee forgets something; they can simply refer back to a past conversation they had with their manager to be reminded of what’s needed next, potentially cutting out a lot of unnecessary back-and-forth. Note: If you’re looking for a solution to help your company with this, Encore, our flagship application, has an Intra-Company Messaging feature that enables you to connect with multiple remote employees at once, while also saving records of past conversations for your team to reference in the future.

Rely on a project management software

Planning out work using a project management software can greatly assist everyone in your organization with getting on the same page about the current standing of things. Assigning tasks by employee lets managers and employees know when a step along the way of completing the project is on hold and also who specifically is responsible for its pending status. If remote employees are able to visualize the individual steps in an assignment in a checklist-style format, as well as see whose turn it is to act next, they’re empowered to more effectively collaborate without the need to ask unnecessary questions.

Send information to multiple remote employees at once

It sounds obvious, but any time you need to reach out to remote employees about an assignment, always only identify those who are involved with it and communicate exclusively with them. Communicating only with those who have a part in the project gets it moving forward faster, while also helping to prevent inbox overload and wasted time for those in your organization who aren’t a part of it. Also, as mentioned previously, Encore’s Intra-Company Messaging feature allows companies to communicate with multiple remote employees at once via desktop-to-handset integration, serving as a faster, less cumbersome alternative to email. Ask us today how we at Actsoft can set your company up with this feature and optimize your team’s efficiency, particularly when it comes to remote communication.

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11.03
2020

Identifying Your Target Audience: Essential to Success in Business

Throughout the process of creating or selling a product, one common denominator remains when it comes to success: you need to have a clear understanding of whose problem you’re trying to solve.

In a broader sense, this means to define your audience. Products or services targeted at specific groups will always do better than those that aren’t, no matter what it is that’s being sold. So, with that being said, what’s the best way to go about defining your key audience? Follow these three strategies for a step in the right direction.

Look at who other similar products or services seem to be targeting.

Begin by investigating the most similar field to your product or service that’s currently available. The less saturated that field is, the better. However, if your idea does tend to fall in line within the realm of a specific industry housing many other existing businesses, there’s no need to panic. You’ll just need to see what ways your future competition is currently marketing its goods or services and try to deduce the specific audience they seem to be targeting.

Understand the market.

Is the industry you’re trying to break into well-developed or is it a niche, and is your business model scalable? These are things to consider when trying to get a decent look at the scope of your idea’s end goal. And, as mentioned in a previous post, the true key to success as far as giving the idea traction and taking it from just that (an idea) and refining it into a truly marketable solution is to pitch it on the basis of its problem-solving potential to your targeted audience.

Use analytics to back up your business strategies.

Once you’ve surveyed the field and done your research, track your analytics and sales to test your strategy’s effectiveness. If sales aren’t where they should be, it could very well be a matter of simply needing to tweak your definition of your target audience. Once you’ve continued adjusting the parameters of your target audience (particularly through social media marketing), it’ll become easier to identify trends in revenue, eventually allowing you to get to a point where you’ve truly nailed your core demographic.

At Actsoft, our solutions can help you track analytics on all the other aspects of your company, giving you more time to create, manage more efficiently, and drive revenue. As your idea begins to really resonate with your target audience, rely on our software for everything else to run an entirely data-backed business operation.

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28.01
2020

Encore’s Web Forms: A Key Tool for Streamlining Data Collection

In a previous enhancement to Encore, we released Form Workflows, a feature that allows one of your mobile employees in the field to begin filling out a digital document and then send it in a chain of command to other staff members for completion. Now, we’ve improved this functionality even further with Web Forms.

Available exclusively to users of Encore’s Ultimate tier, Web Forms provides the administrators at your company’s home office with the ability to start completing an electronic form on a desktop computer. They can then easily transfer it to your mobile workers in the field, saving time and making data collection far easier for your team. Employees away from the office can also start a document and send it back to the office for finalization on a desktop.

Benefits of Web Forms:

  • Implement command chains for forms in order to improve team collaboration.
  • Decrease paperwork costs and the time it takes to pass and collect information even further.
  • Improve productivity, accountability, and versatility with efficient, customer-friendly documentation that can be processed multiple different ways.
  • Set payment authorization workflows that automatically redirect certain expense limits to decision-makers.

A good example of Web Forms in action would be in the case of an HVAC company sending out mobile technicians to customer homes to fix broken air conditioning units. Rather than having the field employee begin a digital maintenance form from scratch and unnecessarily waste time inputting information, they can begin making their repairs earlier, with office personnel filling in any preliminary data while the tech drives to the job site.

For other types of businesses where purchase orders are more common, an employee can use Web Forms to begin filling out a purchase request document at company headquarters that will automatically redirect to a designated manager’s mobile device for review, even if that manager is currently away from the office. By helping to bring the dispersed parts of your workforce closer together, use Encore and its new Web Forms feature to improve cohesiveness and cost efficiency across your entire operation.

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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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26.11
2019

The Benefits of a Company Newsletter

Keeping everyone in your organization on the same page is essential to success, and one tried and true method of doing so is through a recurring newsletter that’s sent internally to your employees.

As a dynamic piece of content, your newsletter should effectively blend both graphics and text to convey your messaging. And while not all of the benefits of a newsletter may be strictly numbers-based, there’s something to be said about how creating one can bring your company closer together and work to inform employees of happenings in your organization, particularly outside of what their typical day-to-day schedules would normally include. Here are three major pluses that composing a newsletter can provide to your business.

Enhanced focus

Coordinate with your company’s leadership team about what topics will be addressed for your newsletter and try to thread a singular message throughout the entire piece. This works to provide insight to your staff and helps them realize the most important major corporate-wide objective at hand, improving organizational clarity.

Initiatives communicated

Reiterate the current primary goals for your business when creating your newsletter. If there are any key projects affecting multiple departments, provide updates within the content on what’s been accomplished, as well as what’s on the horizon. Communicating initiatives and documenting their progressions gives your team everything it needs to seamlessly shift from one task to the next in a more efficient, productive manner.

Buy-in generated

Featured sections of your newsletter where different viewpoints or departmental highlights are given can greatly improve engagement across your entire workforce. If multiple individuals from various departments have a hand in sharing information for your newsletter, buy-in is generated and employees become even more empowered.

For any other methods of communication your company may require, Actsoft solutions can help. With features built into our all-in-one business management software that help you reach your mobile employees nearly instantly, you can coordinate operations with ease. An effective newsletter keeps your staff up to date on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis; for all other needs, our solutions allow you to efficiently communicate with them at a moment’s notice.

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12.11
2019

Shipping During the Holiday Season and Actsoft Solutions

In 2017, UPS estimated that they’d be shipping nearly 750 million packages during the course of the entire holiday season. This year, that number isn’t likely to drop. With a steadily increasing number of gifts being given around Christmastime, companies that are in charge of package transportation must use technology and precision to ensure that there are as few delivery hiccups as possible.

At Actsoft, we engineer digital solutions that help streamline operations for companies in industries like transportation for both the driver and the administrator. By making things easier for all employees involved in the shipping process, our solutions help delivery businesses maintain efficiency, even during their busiest quarters of the year. Two applications in particular that we offer are essential for transportation companies: ELD and GPS Tracking.

Powered by VisTracks, our Electronic Logging Device (ELD) solution enables delivery drivers to focus strictly on safe and efficient driving by automatically logging their active time behind the wheel. Rather than having to manually fill out nationally mandated forms for Hours of Service (HOS), semi-truck operators can reach their destinations as quickly and safely as possible with instant documentation preventing their attention from being diverted toward cumbersome paperwork tasks. Information about rest compliance that’s automatically logged on a driver-by-driver basis is readily available to administrators and can help reduce their business’s potential to incur regulatory fines.

On the administrative side, our solutions’ GPS Tracking feature enables location positioning to help keep cargo and trucks safe, even if they become separated from one another. Track semi-truck trailers, the vehicles themselves, and even employees during working hours with accuracy from our software’s live view map. Monitoring all mobile operations via GPS technology helps keep fuel usage optimized, package containers secure, and drivers accountable.

With the power of Actsoft solutions, transportation businesses can maintain ultimate control on their operations. Cut costs for your delivery company and keep efficiency high throughout the frenzied pace of the holiday season using our mobile management software.

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22.10
2019

Actsoft’s Strategic Partnership With Geotab

As a strategic partner of ours that supplies top-notch fleet tracking devices and fleet technology, Geotab is the perfect complement to Actsoft’s solutions. Our alliance with Geotab allows us to pair ultra-advanced hardware and fleet diagnostics with the workforce management capabilities of our solutions to give your team a truly robust digital management platform.

Through Geotab GO9 devices, the MyGeotab software, and Actsoft integration, companies can have a rich and detailed fleet management experience, gaining tools for advanced collision detection, driver reports, and more, as well as the features they need to effectively manage all other aspects of their workforces.

After employees have exited their business vehicles and begin working, insight can sometimes become lost; this is where handset tracking comes in. Our solutions provide device monitoring technology, allowing you to keep tabs on each member of your team during working hours in the field. In addition to handset tracking, we also provide solutions for Timekeeping, Job Dispatching, Intra-Company Messaging, and Wireless Forms, allowing your team to take its processes fully digital and control its operations with higher efficiency. When paired with Geotab’s proficiency in the fleet management sphere, our solutions can provide even greater potential for your business.

Use Actsoft and Geotab to gain full insight on both your fleet and remote workforce in near real-time. Our strategic partnership with Geotab allows us to expand the capabilities of our mobile management solutions, help our existing customers continue to succeed, and create meaningful new relationships both now and in the future.

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01.10
2019

How Football Player Speed Tracking Is Similar To Fleet Analytics

This past Sunday, Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb ran for 165 yards and three touchdowns, helping his team secure a 40-25 win over the Baltimore Ravens. On his most explosive run of the day, an 88-yard bolt to the end zone, Chubb reached a ridiculous top speed of 21.95 miles per hour, per Next Gen Stats.

The National Football League has been experimenting with new ways to track player performance, measuring advanced statistics using cutting-edge technology. Thanks to concepts like ultra-accurate speed clocking and catch percentage measurements on tight-window throws, insightful data is readily available on how players are performing, and as a result, the performance analysis process is more detailed than it’s ever been.

At Actsoft, our applications’ GPS Tracking feature mirrors many of the innovative technologies the NFL uses to track routes and top speeds by its players on long touchdown runs. Our tracking solutions are able to record the top speeds and route histories of each individual vehicle in your organization’s fleet using a combination of hardware and software, providing a powerful new way for you to regulate operations in the field. From your Actsoft solution’s dashboard, see a live view map of your vehicles in near real-time, as well as the directions they’re traveling. Advanced statistics on stop times, route histories, and speeds traveled by your mobile employees in company vehicles are also available to managers, allowing your business team to enhance quality, safety, and efficient fuel usage. If certain staff members are traveling faster than you’d like for them to while en route to an assignment, use Alerts to receive  notifications any time your customized thresholds for speeding are exceeded.

With advanced technology that collects and reports data on your fleet’s activities, Actsoft solutions are designed to help your managers stay in control of the mobile workforce they employ. Use our tools to increase team accountability by identifying excessive speeding and unnecessary stops by members of your remote teams while they’re on their way to scoring you more business.

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18.09
2019

Five Supported Types of Integration with Actsoft

The versatility that our solutions provide is a powerful resource for companies with mobile workforces. By having compatibility with many third-party systems, our Encore solution makes it simple for your team to stay adaptable during daily operations and sync data collected by it* with many of the existing software types your business already uses. Integration between our solution and outside ones is possible with five kinds of API data:

Orders

Historical records of instructions you dispatched to your workforce can be accessed from your Actsoft solution’s API and synced with some third-party systems. Review and integrate past directives issued to your team for quality control, proof of service, and checklist verification purposes.

Client and User Lists

Keep better track of customer totals with user list integrations. Your clientele is essential to successful operations; use API integration to retain detailed logs of all users involved with your company.

GPS Positions

Past locations of employees, assets, and fleet vehicles can all be called up whenever you need them by accessing the Actsoft API. Sync GPS data with anything from weather maps to Esri GIS systems to better understand your workforce’s resiliency, spatial analytics, and historical dispersion.

Form Data

Using our Encore solution to create custom digital versions of all your company’s documents provides your company with a cleaner, faster, and more cost-effective way to process its information. You can then integrate this data with many alternative software types for simpler, more consolidated storage.

Timesheet Data

QuickBooks and Kronos are a couple examples of solutions that are compatible with Encore’s Timekeeping feature. When your remote employees clock in or out from their mobile devices while in the field, their timesheet information is stored within the Actsoft API, making it easy to be synced. Save time and money by eliminating manual entry entirely while trying to merge payroll or accounting systems with data from Encore.

*API integration is only supported on the Ultimate tier of our Encore solution.

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