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With ARCOS Mobile Workbench, Grant PUD efficiently tackles daily work, trouble

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Columbus, Ohio – January 22, 2020 – ARCOS LLC, the market leader for utility and critical infrastructure resource-management solutions, has launched its ARCOS® Mobile Workbench solution for Grant County, Wash., Grant Public Utility District to help managers efficiently assign work to crews by automatically identifying not only a crew’s skill set but also which crew is nearest to the trouble. ARCOS integrated its Mobile Workbench with Grant PUD’s geographic information system (GIS), in part, to replace the utility’s outdated trouble reporting system. ARCOS Mobile Workbench now provides field crews with a single, simple solution to manage field order assignments, track work progress and collect work detail as it happens.

“Mobile Workbench gets our crews to the trouble by visually routing them there; crews can make notes, capture time and use the system to close out a ticket simply and efficiently,” says Derin Bluhm, chief technology officer for Grand PUD. “There are other field service solutions, but Workbench does exactly what we want without making things overly complicated.”

According to Bluhm, Grant PUD’s crews wanted a system that would allow them to identify and accept a job, complete it and move on to the next work order easily, regardless of work location or weather conditions.

“In the dead of a winter’s night, we don’t want crews fumbling with gloves and a laptop to accept work,” adds Bluhm. “With the Workbench app, supervisors broadcast work to the available crews in the field most able to perform it, then our crews poke their mobile device to accept the job via the app.  They can then see the necessary tasks and even dictate notes.”

The Mobile Workbench now running at Grant PUD works online and offline to give workers and supervisors directions, information on an asset, and its real-time location, so crews don’t have to pour over maps and printouts that may not reflect reality in the field. Using the app via a smartphone, crews can accept available work, self-assign new work or put a job in their queue. Bluhm says the Mobile Workbench improves safety because, even without automatic vehicle location (AVL) data from a vehicle tracking system, a utility can see where crews are in real time, making the app “a secondary source of crew location in an emergency situation.”

“With Mobile Workbench, we expect to reduce non-value-added windshield time by nearly 15 percent,” notes Bluhm. “Our folks were working with faxed service orders, sometimes adding a trip back to home base or using a personal device to take a picture of a fax and text it. We’ve eliminated at least one trip a day to the office, probably more.”

Grant PUD is expanding its use of Mobile Workbench to include damage assessment and as a source of record for all the work performed on a trouble call. Since May 2015, Grant PUD has automated its crew call outs via the SaaS-based ARCOS Callout and Scheduling Suite, recently expanding use of callout for its IT service desk after business hours.

ARCOS Congratulates Many Partners on Top Airlines of 2019 List

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The holidays. Summertime. Spring break. What do all of these things have in common? Oh yeah, busy travel times! In fact, holiday travel records were broken at the end of 2019, with 115.6 million Americans traveling between December 21st and January 1st, 2020, according to AAA.

The same article mentions that amidst the hustle and bustle of the season, air travel saw a 4.9% growth, with over 6 million Americans expected to fly around the holidays. That’s the most the industry has seen since 2003. (AAA Newsroom)

Each new year brings new rankings and lists, with everything from “2019’s Best Films and TV Shows” to “The Best and Worst U.S. Airlines of 2019” – a yearly piece with The Wall Street Journal. This year, ARCOS is proud that many of our airline industry partners landed top spots on the list.

According to the article:

 “Airlines say 2019 had stronger everyday storms and more congestion on air-traffic routes and big airports than 2019. They expect things to get even worse this year.” 

How is your airline keeping up? Top-ranked airlines on the scorecard face unpredictable storms and increasing amounts of travelers by automating their ground shift management and filling trips with solutions like ARCOS RosterApps and Ascend – helping airlines to get planes into the air more efficiently.

Despite all of the challenges, from weather to more travelers taking to the skies, ARCOS partners have even seen improvement with KPIs like:

  • On-time arrival rates
  • Number of cancellations
  • Number of delayed flights
  • Number of late or lost bags, and more

This can be accomplished by engaging your employees, administrators, and schedulers with tech that gives full visibility into open shifts and trips, all while automatically applying your company’s rules and policies. And yes, that means eliminating the manual processes that often lead to human errors and grievances.

Want to learn more? Check out our airline solutions, or download our whitepaper on how ARCOS RosterApps increases the efficiency of airline ground support.

City of Riverside utility will reduce paid wait time, expedite restoration with ARCOS

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Columbus, Ohio – January 7, 2020 – To help the City of Riverside, Calif., Public Utilities (RPU) efficiently respond to, restore and report on after-hours electric and water service emergencies, ARCOS LLC, the market leader for utility and critical infrastructure resource-management solutions, will implement its Resource Management software during the first quarter of 2020, replacing the city’s paper-based process for managing utility workers.

By relying on paper lists, phone calls and emails to determine the availability of crew members for restoration work, RPU crew callouts average one hour per event. RPU’s on-call troubleshooters are the first to arrive in an after-hours emergency. But, if a troubleshooter at an after-hours situation needs a crew, then RPU manually calls workers to build a crew with the right skills and seniority. With situations like broken water lines, the delay tied to a manual callout only adds to potential safety and liability issues.

With the ARCOS platform, RPU’s Grid Control Center can electronically contact and confirm the availability of workers in minutes, which reduces the time employees are paid to wait while RPU assembles a crew.

“ARCOS will not only reduce our paid wait time but also safely speed up our ability to respond to and restore customers during significant electric and water events,” said Richard de Aragon Jr., Electric Operations manager for RPU. “We’ve calculated that with ARCOS each year we can save $113,900 in paid wait time, and recover $2,500 in customer meter revenue.”

By implementing the ARCOS SaaS solution across RPU, the utility will save its Grid Control Center from gathering crew data, including a lineman or substation electrician’s availability and skill set. The ARCOS system will also automatically track and account for overtime, which eliminates a manual callout system prone to errors and grievances.

“The ARCOS solution is a game-changer for us because it logs and records what’s happened, so we electronically see the result of every callout and automatically follow complex business rules related to how our utility and union want to build crews,” adds de Aragon. “For the members of our union, we expect a more equitable distribution of overtime.”

Get Ahead of the Curve by Empowering Employees with Tech

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Consider this – everyday, digital transformation is happening all around us. Technology puts our world in a constant state of change and forces critical infrastructure industries to quickly automate another manual process in their operations.  Gallup Research shows that in the working world, millennials are quickly outnumbering generation x-ers and baby boomers. Within the next two years, 50 percent of the U.S. workforce is expected to be made up of millennials. Companies face the challenge of attracting and developing this powerful contingent that has different priorities and values than previous generations. In industries where skilled employees are retiring in droves every year, technology is the key to engaging new generations of employees.

How Businesses Are Responding

Almost half of millennials say they have the newest and greatest technology items, while Boomers come in at one quarter, half the size of the millennial bloc. Engaging your workforce via technology is one of the best ways to attract new employees and ensure your workers feel connected to the work being done – not to mention provide flexibility around their work/life balance. Today’s workforce is looking for both stability and flexibility. They want to work, but they want to work shifts on their terms. Critical infrastructure industries will need to be able to provide this flexibility in order to attract a vibrant workforce – and do so in a manner that is efficient, safe and cost effective.

As this landscape of workers continues to change, digital and mobile technologies will be at the cutting edge of employee engagement. 42% of Millennials use real-time messaging at work, 42% use social media and 32% use work storage or sharing applications. The bottom line is, when you invest in technology – you invest in your employees. Just because a company has done something a certain way “forever,” doesn’t mean it’s the best way to do it.

The Role Technology Plays

Companies like ARCOS are helping critical infrastructure companies stay ahead of the curve of innovation by automating manual processes and providing mobility to field and plant technicians, as well as supervisors – all within regulations and business rules. ARCOS can help your organization take those tedious processes like paper note keeping, spreadsheets, whiteboards and manual phone calls. Digitizing shift management by automating the filling of shifts and managing complicated processes like shift bidding and swapping can help empower employees and give them guided autonomy and flexibility.

In a recent survey of critical infrastructure companies, we asked about the top challenges that these industries are facing. Here’s what they said: 

  • 80% are being weighed down by manually handling processes that can be automated to save both time and money
  • 40% are worried about the age demographics of their employees shifting
  • 30% of companies are worried about falling behind technologically

Let us help you. Learn more about how ARCOS can help your bottom line while engaging your workforce with our shift management solutions. Don’t just take our word for it, read more to see how we helped Piedmont Airlines dramatically improve their key performance indicators significantly. Learn more from our Ground Crew Support Scheduling white paper

ARCOS RosterApps to Track Time, Attendance for Piedmont

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The ARCOS contract extension by Piedmont Airlines is being featured by Aviation Pros, the online home of Airport Business, Ground Support Worldwide and Aircraft Maintenance Technology news. Read how Piedmont will automate shift-bidding and work schedules for its maintenance group and administrative staff in the same way that ground handling staff have used ARCOS RosterApps for years.