All Posts By

ARCOS Inc.

3 Rituals for the Morning Shuffle

By Blog | No Comments

The morning shuffle (or whatever time of day you start) can be rough for most people, even early birds. We’re often tired, unfocused, and disorganized. ARCOS has a few tips to help keep things in line, tamed and less stressful. 

1.    Keep It Mobile

After your good night’s sleep, rise and shine ready to take on the day ahead full of energy, extreme vigor and renewed focus! Okay, well at least get the coffee going and take a shower as your blurry eyes focus on what’s next. And how? Reach out for your mobile device. As you crunch into the cornflakes or brandish that bran muffin, you can quickly check for any surprises that happened overnight. Keep it to only checking messages and the weather. Too much information overload as you just get up can change your attitude and derail your day. Just know that ARCOS has your back and is ready to spring into action. In a crisis situation, you can use our mobile app but otherwise wait until you hit the office to fire up the best resource management tools available.  

2.    Discover if you are In or Out 

So you parked the truck and head into your workspace. All the lights are on but are they on everywhere? Check to see if there have been any outages overnight. Were crews dispatched by  Callout and Crew Manager to take care of any emergencies? Do you have an emergency now or is that just the caffeine kicking in and making you a bit paranoid? Assess your current situation and breathe. You got this with ARCOS’ help.

3. I know you’re out there 

After discovering if outages have played a number on your carefully laid out daily operation plans, it’s time to see if everyone is there. Has there been a call-off? Was there a sudden need for somebody to take PTO? Did an event cause members of your team to go on rest period? ARCOS  Crew Manager can help provide full situational awareness in milliseconds. If needed, you can rearrange assignments and put together new work teams on the fly. Callout can send the word out that you need support and in less time than it takes brew another pot of coffee, your crews will be assembled. In one of ARCOS’ latest callouts, it only took 20 minutes and 10 seconds to make 4,105 calls. 707 shifts were filled. If you need more outside help for a bigger job or development, use Resource Assist to bring contractors into the fold.  

These rituals will help make your morning shuffle more manageable. No one will ever see you sweat. Work can be something you look forward to when you have an ARCOS solution and the right tools in place. Crew manager, Callout and even Resource Assist are the wake-up call you need so you can have a better noon, afternoon and night. Schedule a demo of the whole ARCOS suite including Incident Manager. Learn more at https://www.arcos-inc.com/solutions/.

The Sunday Read: California Wildfire Legislation Gives Utilities $21 Billion, Requires Annual Safety Certification

By Blog | No Comments

California legislation is requiring all utilities in the state to have an annual utility safety certification process completed before they can access $21 billion of funds set aside to compensate victims of wildfires caused by power lines and pay for other wildfire related liabilities.

While some are saying the legislation doesn’t have enough safeguards in place and gives utilities a free checking account, others are pointing out that the safety verification process is needed to prevent lines from sparking the issues wildfire victims and PG&E have experienced and that since the mandated certification will be tied to executive pay, oversight is built into the bill.

Whichever side of the fence you are on, something has to be done so bankruptcy and tragedy can be avoided.

ARCOS can help by getting regulated procedures implemented in short order. Every IOU in the state of California and several municipal utilities are currently using ARCOS – and many other organizations are looking for ARCOS to aid, augment and bolster their current wildfire mitigation plans. We can speed up response, better manage resources before/during/after events, and timestamp and report every step taken during a crisis management situation. Our software can even put pre-inspection checks and work orders in place to make sure utilities are being pro-active in checking equipment before anything happens. Utilities, talk to ARCOS today and get ahead of the new legislation now.

Linemen Are First Responders

By Blog | No Comments

Support for the physical and psychological tole of disaster relief has been in the news a lot lately with the recent extension of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund until 2090. (https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/12/politics/first-responder-victims-compensation-fund-passes/index.html) The public was up in arms regarding Congressmembers’ perceived lack of interest in the testimony of gravely ill first responders affected by 9/11.

While nobody doubts the courage, sacrifice, and service exhibited by traditional first responders such as police officers, firemen, and EMS crews, there is a well-deserved push to recognize utility line workers as first responders in order to ensure they are given the same sort of support.

In the weeks after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma caused extensive damage across the US in 2017, UWUA President Mike Langford stated:

 “Now it’s time for our elected leaders to recognize us as first responders as well. When disaster strikes, we are on the scene doing those things that make it possible for other first responders, including police and fire personnel, to do their jobs. We are responsible for making disaster sites safe places to work so that others can do what needs to get done. Yet, we do not enjoy the same legal status as other first responders.” (https://uwua.net/magazine/we-are-first-responders/)

Utility Workers and PTSD

In the years since 9/11, multiple studies have been conducted examining the long-term emotional and psychological effects of the disaster, not just on first responders, but other disaster response workers such as utility workers. In one such study (https://giosan.com/publications/wtcptsdpredictors.pdf), it was determined that out of 2,960 utility workers studied, 8% tested as having “full” PTSD and an addition 9.3% had “subthreshold” PTSD.

Although 9/11 stands out as an anomaly in terms of scale of destruction and loss of life, it serves as an indicator for the true impact natural and man-made disasters have on linemen. Not only are they enduring difficult conditions such as extreme weather, poor sleep, and high stress, but often they witness traumatic scenes including towns wiped away, families in shock, and worst of all, injury and death.

How to Support Linemen

It’s important to do what we can to support our linemen before, during, and after disasters to ensure both their physical and mental wellbeing is being looked after. It’s encouraged that all utility companies have a policy in place for dealing with their workers during disasters and ensuring there is a safety net beneath them.

ARCOS is committed to the health and safety of lineman and utility workers everywhere. Our solutions such as Callout and Crew Manager, as well as safety check functionality,  were a direct response to answering the industry’s need to respond, restore and report during crisis situations. We’re proud to support the work they do, often putting their lives on the line day in and out.  https://www.arcos-inc.com/solutions/

For more information on how you can support our linemen, click on these additional resources:

National Institutes of Health’s Coping with Disasters: Health Information Guide (https://disasterinfo.nlm.nih.gov/coping), in specific, its section on help for response workers (https://disasterinfo.nlm.nih.gov/coping#For_Emergency_Responders,_Healthcare_Workers,_Journalists,_and_Volunteers)

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Disaster Distress Helpline (https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline)

US Department of Veteran’s Affairs National Center for PTSD’s section on Disaster Rescue and Response Workers (https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/type/disaster_response_work.asp)

Center for Disease Control’s Traumatic Incident Stress: Information for Emergency Response Workers (https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2002-107/pdfs/2002-107.pdf)

 

Envoy Air to take off with ARCOS RosterApps airline scheduling

By Press Releases | No Comments

COLUMBUS, Ohio – June 28, 2019 – ARCOS® LLC has been selected to implement its ARCOS RosterApps workforce management solution at Envoy Air Inc., replacing and automating the air carrier’s multiple computer and paper systems that schedule and track time and attendance for 13,000 ground employees. Envoy currently relies on a custom-built automated time and attendance system and manual processes requiring several thousand hours per year in staff time to maintain.

ARCOS RosterApps will give Envoy managers a centralized, automated way to track overtime and schedules, update policies and ensure compliance with changing regulations. Managers will see overtime requests in real-time, so they can compare requests against available budgets. Currently, managers receive overtime calculations one week after each pay period ends, making it cumbersome to manage potential cost overruns.

“We’re rolling out the system in four phases for our agents, fleet service clerks, aircraft mechanics and managers,” said Stephen Collins, manager for attendance and central administration at Envoy. “RosterApps will make our scheduling process transparent, which means each step of the scheduling process will be visible, in real-time, for employees and managers. It’s incredibly easy to use, too.”

According to Collins, the product was intuitive enough that Collins, his coworkers and a test group needed no training. In contrast, says Collins, the current scheduling system, comprised of manual and computerized steps, requires new employees to take hours of training to learn the scheduling and bidding process.

With the mobile component of ARCOS RosterApps, ground staff will be able to manage schedules, shift requests and bids from computers or their smartphones, at work or home. Notifications will come via email and text, and supervisors can approve and deny requests, assign overtime and see a complete shift history for reporting and analysis.

“It gives us consistency across approximately 150 locations, which is difficult to achieve now,” added Collins. “All of our shift bidding is now done on paper, which means each quarter up to 4,000 employees have to go to a hub administration office, select a shift they want to work and check back on approvals. With RosterApps, all that will happen automatically; the system will assign employees a time to log in, and they’ll bid on schedules from a mobile device.”

ARCOS RosterApps will integrate with existing systems to ensure Envoy continues to strictly adhere to the requirements of its work agreements with labor unions. “We believe RosterApps will make it much simpler and faster to ensure an equitable scheduling process for ground staff,” said Collins.

“To efficiently manage exceptions, you need a consistent view of everyone’s schedules,” adds John Brant, managing director of RosterApps Projects for ARCOS. “With RosterApps, Envoy will have scheduling flexibility, control and dynamic updates; it’s self-service, yet mirrors union and company policies.”

About Envoy Air Inc.

Envoy Air Inc. is the largest wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group, operating more than 185 aircraft on 1,000 daily flights to over 150 destinations. The company’s more than 17,000 employees provide regional flight service to American Airlines under the American Eagle brand and ground handling services for many American flights. The company was founded in 1998 as American Eagle Airlines, Inc. following the merger of several smaller regional carriers to create one of the largest regional airlines in the world.

About ARCOS LLC

ARCOS is a leader in delivering SaaS solutions for managing resources, ensuring accurate, compliant shift scheduling and automatically planning for all types of events. The ARCOS solution reports on the up-to-the-minute location and status of equipment and crews via mobile technology for utilities and other critical infrastructure like airlines, manufacturers and industrial facilities. The ARCOS resource management platform helps organizations save time and money, while improving customer satisfaction and the efficiency, safety and accuracy of operations. Learn about ARCOS resource management software at https://www.arcos-inc.com.

The Sunday Read: Can AI change our thoughts?

By Blog | No Comments

Like it or not, AI is coming and it may be better at solving our problems than us.

TechnologyReview.com is featuring an article outlining 10 ways that it could fight climate change but right out the gate, it really reads as a manifesto on how it can change the electric utility industry. Welcome to the future now.

The idea raises many questions. If AI is doing all our thinking, can it be regulated? What safeguards will be put in place if it happens to grows dim and fails? Can we make more efficiencies manually and by our own processes to eliminate a dependency on artificial means? ARCOS automates but we don’t lose what’s important- our human component. And of course, who programs the thing? We don’t need garbage in, garbage out.

Tomorrow is always brighter than today, let’s just hope we have a nice pair of sunglasses ready to go so we can see it.

 

 

 

For Every Action…Be Less Reactionary with Full Situational Awareness

By Blog | No Comments

Does this Sound Familiar?

Project X suddenly needs five extra crew members.

Outage Y popped up overnight and is bursting with multiple crew and contractor needs.

Project Z starts next week, and you need a crew to begin but everyone is taking PTO.

If you’re still doing this the old-fashioned way – spreadsheets, whiteboards, or even pen and paper – then you’re in for a rough way to go.

Update your work routine with ARCOS.

In an ARCOS-run environment, Project X would already be in your Crew Manager dashboard. All you would need is to search for the skill set of the crew member you need and drop them in the roster. That’s it. A simple click allows you to build, rearrange, and add or subtract to crews. And ARCOS’ mobile app enables crews to see what they’re assigned from their mobile app.

Outage Y is a more urgent scenario but ARCOS has tools for that, too. During an emergency or anytime, Callout and Crew Manager’s automation methods put crews in action fast. Our companion solution, ARCOS Resource Assist, finds the qualified contractors you work with and put them into play just as quickly. A key advantage of Resource Assist integrated with Crew Manager is you can manage contractors and employees all in one system and can go back in history and see who was working on what. This all leads to customers who will sing your praises when your response and restoration time is much shorter than estimates thanks to crews being out of the garage and on the scene.

And as for Project Z which is due to start, cue up Crew Manager and Resource Assist again to make sure the crews, contractors, and equipment become dispatched as needed, without endless phone calls, reply all e-mails, and complicated paper chases. Crew Manager even works well in construction type projects when accounting for vacations, PTO or medical leave for the day-to-day contractors deployed. You have full situational awareness and manage everything in one place.

With the ARCOS proactive, organized approach to scheduling, you can breeze through any scenario and take on any crew request without sweating the details you might overlook. Find out more by clicking here to talk to one of our experts today.

The Sunday Read: The Private Water Landscape is Changing

By Blog | No Comments

In preparation for #AWWA19, ARCOS takes a look at how diversified infrastructure providers are converging utilities all under one banner and causing a shift in competition. This article from WaterOnline.com reports on a new study that outlines the growing trend and how municipalities and system owners are being forced to weigh the benefits of outsourcing against owning and operating a portfolio of aging assets.

Is this the way to address water’s aging infrastructure? Will repairs and replacements be completed faster and without consumer impact if this model of acquisition continues?  The Sunday Read ponders these questions and more…

A Day In the Life – Daily Operations Over Easy

By Blog | No Comments

Here we go.

After a great weekend, you walk into the office grasping your warm cup of morning necessity. The weather is fantastic and today is already off to an awesome start. For a change, it’s a day of regular operations and you don’t have to worry because you have ARCOS.

ARCOS Crew Manager has helped assemble your teams for standard maintenance, infrastructure inspections, planned work and items on that “to-do” list that never seem to end. Your morning shuffle is automated to save you hours of time that would’ve been spent trying to figure out who’s in, who’s out, who can work with who and then publishing this information to the team.

Uh-oh – but what’s this? Steve just called in sick and Pete forgot that he has to leave early for his daughter’s soccer game. Usually, this could cause a dark cloud to enter your blue sky, yet ARCOS saves the day again and with a few clicks and Callout, the shifts are a memory – and you never had to look at a spreadsheet, whiteboard or remember any  union rules. You even had time for another cup of coffee. With ARCOS, full situational awareness is at your fingertips allowing you to plan work or quickly adapt to unplanned circumstances.You can even move a team that is somewhat close to a job if another crew finds itself without enough manpower.

As the day progresses, ARCOS generates a real-time record of who worked where and on what. For the documentation inspections require, this is an essential benefit. Now you have what you need to complete requests from regulators.

If all this sounds too good to be true, you’re probably not using the right kind of resource management software. The streamlined ARCOS approach leads to fewer errors and greater efficiency. The conclusion of daily work arrives faster so teams and crews can move on to their next immediate task and can even squeeze out an additional hour of wrench time.

How can ARCOS help you with daily operations? Request a demo tailored to your individualized day-to-day situation and find out how. You’ve never had more time to take care of work than when you are working with ARCOS. Manage people, not paper.

And don’t miss our Daily Operations Webinar Thursday, June 20, where you’ll learn how to duplicate this blog’s work flow by automating the morning shuffle and scheduling to gain more work hours in your day. Find out more and register here.

Case Study: Automated Scheduling Helps Piedmont Profit from the Ground Up

By News Articles | No Comments

Have you heard the latest about RosterApps?

“Before ARCOS RosterApps, we wouldn’t be able to [analyze a current bid by coverage hours and flight schedules],” recalls Brian Wemple. “By quickly filling shifts with the right people and equipment on the tarmac, we get planes into the air more efficiently.”

That’s the words of Brian Wemple, director of Planning and Support for regional air carrier Piedmont Airlines. When Piedmont was looking to take the next step in scheduling, they choose ARCOS RosterApps.

Read more about why and how it’s changed their operations in this case study from Aerospacetechweek.com.