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The newest content from ARCOS and around the web

For Every Action…Be Less Reactionary with Full Situational Awareness

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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

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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

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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.

The Sunday Read: More Tech is Good Tech

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We live in an ever-evolving world of technological advancement and wonder. Even vegetation growth can be monitored, even though you still need crews to cut it back.

How are you when it comes to using the latest and greatest in bits and bytes? Have you automated your ICS or emergency preparedness structure? Can you send your crews and contractors out to handle that vegetation at the click of a mouse? Can you inspect damage in the field?

Almost anything is possible. What are some things you would like to see technology handle to make your utility life easier?

 

The Sunday Read: Aging Infrastructure is taking a toll

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In the years to come, utilities and critical infrastructure Industries are facing incredible challenges. Topping the list is the spread of 5G technology, cyber-security, a potential economic downturn, change management, and climate change – but the number one item is aging infrastructure.

Just like a car longevity enthusiast who never replaces waning motor parts or stale automobile fluids on a regular maintenance schedule and suddenly finds himself stranded after driving a mature vehicle over 150,000 miles, organizations are finding that the future isn’t looking great unless they start replacing, fixing and swapping out declining equipment and worn-out material now.

Automating the preventative maintenance process during daily operations is not only a forward-thinking idea but can increase your equipment’s life span. Implementation is easy and ARCOS can deliver a solution faster than a rotten, wooden pipe bursting.

So how is your operation tackling the question of aging infrastructure? Do you have a plan in place? Are you thinking ahead and budgeting now for a future that is carefree and not burdened by constant breakdowns, overtime and scrambling to find workers to attend to equipment failures? Are you scheduling regular maintenance checks and inspections so you never have to deal with aging infrastructure again?

 

The Sunday Read: Tech is a necessity for efficiency and reliability

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Wild fires running rampant! Over-compressed gas lines exploding! Increasing frequency of unplanned weather events!

The world is full of dangers to our customers and how we run our businesses. A recent Utility Dive article about the use of drones to check power lines and our own Energy Central article about drones and chatbots had us thinking about how vital technology is in all sectors of utility and critical infrastructure management.

It’s no longer a case of keeping software and equipment on a budgetary back-burner, it’s time to accelerate adoption and get the digital pieces in place now before the next incident happens and our users go on a warpath of blame, shame and complaining about how restoration efforts are slow, convoluted and mismanaged.

How is your operation using technology? Is its use up to par? How can you implement more and use it to encourage better customer service experiences? Do you have Crew Manager, Mobile Inspection, Damage Assessment and other tools in place?

The Sunday Read ponders these questions as we wrap up another weekend…

 

3 Must-Have Tools to Ready Yourself for FEMA Reimbursements

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Accuweather is predicting that the 2019 hurricane season will be near or slightly above a normal season. They expect 12 to 14 named storms, with the potential for seven hurricanes and two to four major hurricanes.

As Hurricane Season barrels towards us, the question is, after you’ve slogged through the restoration process, are you ready to tackle the equally exhausting reimbursement process?

To get the full 75% of costs incurred reimbursed, one can face a nightmare of red tape and paperwork, however; as those who have worked with FEMA have learned, it’s a necessary evil that only needs a method to tame and conquer the process. ARCOS customers have told us that besides automated resource management capabilities; ARCOS tools can improve the speed of FEMA reimbursements through our time-stamped historical data and documentation. But which solutions do what and how do they help?

Crew Manager
Crew Manager works to get crews and equipment out to the field as soon as possible with minimal effort. Crew Manager allows a scheduler to assign crews, track locations, manage logistics, and more. By using a mobile device, you gain full situational awareness of both crews and equipment in real-time, so resources aren’t tied to a desk to get the information needed. Crew Manager captures the historical record of who was where, when and the accomplished work.  

Resource Assist
When a situation needs more resources or is too specialized for regular crews to handle, Resource Assist enables you to find and assign contractors electronically. When the need arises, you send a request to your network of contractors who can then commit to all or a percentage of the work they can do and provide arrival times. Resource Assist pulls everything together and keeps track of the details allowing for a distribution of an automatically updated common roster as contractor resources change and another way to view the historical record of an event.

Incident Manager
To stand up your organization’s Incident Command System (ICS) or emergency preparedness plan structure use ARCOS Incident Manager. Utilities can create and execute an organized incident response protocol in the event of (or in preparation for) a major event or situation. It activates a leadership structure and contacts people within the chain of command, getting them checked-in and on-site quickly and efficiently. It’s an agile, scalable solution that allows you to expand and contract your incident response team as needed. Like Crew Manager, it keeps a historical record of who played which roles during restoration and can time-stamp ICS or other documentation that is necessary for completing FEMA reimbursements.

All of these tools, with Crew Manager at the core, can save hours of updating whiteboards and spreadsheets, tracking convoys, placing push-pins on a map, and filing a never-ending stream of e-mails and paperwork and can play a key role in quickly accessing historical information needed for FEMA reimbursements. By having vital resources in a suite of applications from the start, you have clean, consistent record keeping that not only makes the recovery process simpler but also puts you in the right place when it comes time to apply to FEMA for reimbursements.

Contact us now and request a demo. You owe to yourself to leave the aspirin in the bottle and the headaches of the FEMA reimbursement process behind.

The Sunday Read: Americans feel weather is getting worse but don’t prepare

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The ARCOS Sunday Read takes a look at the up coming hurricane season.

Although forecasters are predicting a “slightly” less severe season, there are still 14 storms that may impact us. It’s amazing that 74% of Americans feel that weather situations are getting worse but only half are prepared to do anything about it.

What about us in the utility, critical infrastructure and airline industries? Are we prepared?

We say we have our strategies in place but with the increased scrutiny of the regulator eye on everything we do, do we really? Are solutions like Incident Manager or Crew Manager in place to aid ICS and restoration roll-out or are we just like our fellow Americans and running efforts at 50%?

The only thing certain is the hurricanes are coming and how we respond to them is critical. We need to make sure our plans are in place now.

The Sunday Read: The Brain Drain- Consultants vs. Millennials

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Forbes has addressed the brain drain happening in industry but says it’s forthcoming. ARCOS would argue that for critical infrastructure and utilities, it’s already here.

As millennials force new ways of working to manifest across multiple disciplines thanks to the missing knowledge base of their predecessors, retiring baby boomers are finding that employers are asking them to stay on longer and in a new way- as consultants.

It’s a notable change and one causing workforce modifications across America. Is consultancy the new norm? Is it a sustainable situation or can millennials foster an accelerated knowledge dump and take the reigns? Will Baby Boomers ever get the rest and relaxation they’ve worked hard for and deserve or are they just standing in the way of progress by not understanding the ways millennials learn and view things?

This ARCOS Sunday Read is really one think about.

The Sunday Read: As Storm Costs Escalate, Regulators Penalize

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Storms are increasing and becoming more violent. Mother Nature is throwing us all for a loop with her pummeling fury.

Utilities have to be prepared for this new normal and while ICS and event plans have painstakingly been put in place to stay one step ahead of large-scale weather events, mistakes have been made- mistakes regulators are pouncing on by issuing threats of fines and financial retribution (which only fan the fires of consumer discontent).

The ARCOS Sunday Read focuses on the latest from Florida and New York. We pose the question of how prepared are you? Are your emergency preparedness plans in place? Are you following them? Can Incident Manager help? How can rapidly increasing restoration costs and fines be combated without decimating budgets and reserves? Are you ready to face regulator scrutiny after a weather-related event?

There is a lot to think about and implement before storm season starts.