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Utility Resource Management Blog

The latest and greatest thought provoking content from subject matter experts at ARCOS and around the web

Embrace Technology to Solve Mobile Workforce Management Challenges

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Grant County Public Utility District had to solve a common dilemma: managing a limited number of people and an infinite amount of work. In their case, it was covering 4,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines across Washington State with only 15 field engineers. They also had a non-supported, rudimentary ticketing system and a time-consuming manual process of procuring paper maps, plans, and job packets. Communicating job statuses was tedious and inefficient.

A typical Work Management System can cost more than $10M dollars, and many utilities have already spent more than that on a variety of other legacy systems that won’t talk to one another. Thankfully, ARCOS solves challenges with cost-saving solutions that offer a high ROI for our partners, while supporting remote work. Grant County PUD required more wrench time, agile job creation and crew deployment, and a way to track and complete work faster – preferably all in one robust system. We had a solution.

A Seamless Integration
ARCOS met those challenges head-on with ARCOS Mobile Workbench. Mobile Workbench connects the back-office staff to the field in real-time, providing information back and forth instantly. It helps track employees, assignments, and equipment with ease, while empowering field workers with all the information they need to get the job done quickly and report the job status.

Mobile Workbench was able to be integrated with Grant County PUD’s existing GIS and customer service/billing system. This meant they weren’t starting over, but instead streamlining their current process and legacy systems. That made the adaptation of the new software quick and easy, and eliminated manual data entry, paper packets, making multiple trips back and forth to jobs, and lessened the need for face-to-face communication during a dynamic global pandemic.

Derin Bluhm, chief technology officer for Grant PUD, says: “There are other field service solutions, but Workbench does exactly what we want without making things overly complicated.”

Quicker Job Completion
ARCOS provided the ability for dispatch and field engineers to acquire digital real-time location services, as well as customer information for daily jobs. Schedulers were freed from trying to determine assignments for jobs as Mobile Workbench created the notifications and sent them to all available crews. Supervisors in the field were able to review the work tickets and accept them based on the crews they had on hand. If they couldn’t accept, the job was still in everyone’s job list until another supervisor could undertake the project. This sped up the receipt and completion of jobs considerably.

Once a job was marked as complete, supervisors were also able to enter timesheet information for everyone on the crew. They ensured that hours worked were captured quickly and tracked accurately. They had instant, reliable reporting for every aspect of the jobs worked.

This information was used for future benchmarking that helped define factors such as travel and response time, average time to complete certain job types, and inventory used. The data was essential in reducing costs and allowing Grant County PUD to run leaner while delivering faster day-to-day and emergency restoration services.

ARCOS Mobile Workbench is a proven asset for resource and work management. Find out the ROI and mobile work management capabilities this all-in-one solution can deliver by checking out our quick 15-minute on-demand demo.

Incident Management Best Practices 

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The 5 Steps of Emergency Planning

Now that we have gotten through another Atlantic hurricane season, it’s a good time to take stock of emergency responses and how incidents were managed. This was the third-most active season on record, providing twenty-one named storms and four major hurricanes. More than $70 billion in damage was done to the United States alone.

Hurricane Ida was a big reminder of the importance of emergency and incident planning and management. FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell called Ida, “One of the most catastrophic hurricanes to make landfall,” and she was right. Overall, over one million customers in Louisiana were without power (including the whole city of New Orleans due to catastrophic transmission damage), and even more customers were without power in Mississippi and Arkansas. One hundred-fifty miles per hour damaging winds and heavy rainfall caused flash flooding and building collapses as the storm ripped through the United States’ southern coast.

Events like this can bring incredible focus to opportunities to strengthen your operational efficiency and response. A robust, managed call to action is needed when storms strike. So, what are the best practices for emergency response? What can be used to measure the strength of incident management?

A good place to start is with the following five steps of emergency planning:

  • Assess Needs
    Strengths and weaknesses must be identified. What in your plan helps or hinders an emergency response?A simple SWOT analysis of resources, equipment, employee skillsets, and historical emergency events can go a long way in developing strategic initiatives and calls to action. It can define gaps that may exist in a critical infrastructure organization’s emergency preparedness and engagement.
  • Create a Policy
    A good policy outlines the intent and purpose of a company’s emergency response, as well as providing the contract to hold all company emergency stakeholders accountable. It starts with designating the individuals called to maintain its scope and hierarchy. It takes into account all the needs outlined in step one. It should name the Incident Command System (ICS) teams that are called up when disaster strikes.
  • Define the Emergency Response Team (ERT)
    This builds upon the first two steps above by fleshing out the ICS policy as defined by the needs. It assigns emergency roles to team members who have the best experience and knowledge of emergency response and an organization’s resources.During this stage, software like ARCOS’s Incident Manager can bring efficiency and organization to a company’s planning. Incident Manager allows a pre-labeling and identification of titles necessary for emergency response tasks and assigning names to those roles. When the incident occurs, it can activate the created teams with an alert sent through an automated callout subroutine. It’s also a scalable solution that can grow to add more team members and divisions as an event escalates or shrink as it loses steam.
  • Train, Educate, and Drill
    Those tapped for emergency response roles should always be prepped with the latest training, education, and solution outlines. Educational expenses pale in comparison to what a hurricane or wildfire can inflict on an unprepared company. Drills should occur as often as possible in the downtime between historically proven weather and devastating event seasons. All participants should be aware of their individual ICS outlines and what title they have on their ERT.
  • Perform Audits
    Reporting and reviewing is key to understanding what went right, what went wrong, and where emergency management gaps could exist in a current policy structure. It informs future planning for teams, emergency equipment inventory, logistics, and even storm cost recovery and FEMA reimbursements.Be sure there is a process in place for this type of auditing and use software that keeps one true historical record of everything like the ARCOS Resource Management platform. You need the most accurate data possible to hone and evolve plans because there will always be a next time.

ARCOS has put together an “Automating the Foundations of Incident Management” video series that expands on these concepts and provides proven actions on how to improve any organization’s emergency response.

Final Questions
As we prepare for another storm season, ask yourself:

  • Is your organization ready to quickly respond with an ICS plan and automated resource management system already in place?
  • Can your current systems help you efficiently ramp-up from blue skies to a large event?
  • What are the steps your organization is taking to ensure that emergency and incident management practices are updated and implemented?

We would love to discuss the challenges your team is currently facing, and how our ARCOS emergency planning and incident management solutions can help support you. Contact us, and let’s be ready for anything together. 

How to Speed Up Restoration with Digital Utility Software

By Blog

See if this process sounds familiar to you: When an event occurs, you review a spreadsheet and notate crew assignments on magnetic boards. You copy that data into a spreadsheet on the computer. Then you email or call supervisors to communicate and update those crews. As the storm increases, you open storm centers and those centers communicate with local offices, passing info back and forth as needed, and releasing personnel when you think things may be passed.

That was the process used by one of our utility partners, ComEd (Commonwealth Edison), before they switched to the ARCOS Resource Management platform. It involved 11 steps and was used to manage as many as 800 crews at a time.

It worked, but it wasn’t efficient. Often, it took hours to figure out what areas were hardest hit. Company leaders initially didn’t know how many crews were active or how many contractors to send out. Updates were not made in real-time, and not always communicated with everyone who needed to know them.

The ARCOS Solution: ARCOS Crew Manager

With ARCOS, ComEd moved from an 11-step process to a four-step one and shaved hours off their response times. They eliminated much of the manual work by using an online portal that everyone in the company who had access to could see, allowing for instant coordination. Adding additional complexities or criteria into crews is easy, as ARCOS can configure how your interface works to fit your needs, both in the initial setup, and if anything changes down the road.

ARCOS Crew Manager helps you pair crews with work and equipment to speed up restoration. You can instantly see who is available and ARCOS can automatically assign them. You can make informed adjustments on the fly and push them immediately to the field and get full situational awareness in real-time. And you can even pre-plan so your crews can get out faster.

This solution can be used on an everyday basis as well as in emergencies, making the switch between blue or grey skies seamless. You can always see where each crew and resource is at any given moment, or at any point in time as you anticipate your needs. Users can also easily integrate your contractor crews into the same system with Resource Assist, while identifying and plugging any gaps in minutes, not hours, as an event progresses.

Customize With Ease: Viewing Data and Reporting

You control the views in your Crew Manager, and can make perspectives for any situation. Set up different screens to review blue sky and storm events. Choose which resources and crews you want to see with a few clicks. Manage your department, get an overview of the entire company’s response, or switch back and forth as needed.

Your ARCOS Crew Manager solution can be configured and color-coded so you can see employee classes at a glance, all shift times, accommodation needs, and contact information. ARCOS tracks how much time each employee, crew, and staff as a whole works. All of the data is available in exportable reports in real-time, and in the future as you review your response.

Real, Verifiable Results

When you use ARCOS Crew Manager, you have one source of truth for all of your information. You’ll have high confidence in the data because you can play back the entire event before, during, and after restoration. Furthermore, detailed reporting, automatically logged in the system, allows for easy invoice verification. This will help you increase cost recovery through transparency and access to a complete, accurate history.

Could the ARCOS Resource Management platform save you from tedious manual processes around managing crews? Contact ARCOS now to start partnering with us to improve your workflow, and view our Crew Manager case study to learn more.

Embracing Mobile and Boosting Data

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Achieve Your Goals with Automation


Like many utilities, the City of Ocala’s Electric Utility in Florida struggled with the time-consuming and manual processes surrounding callout for their field employees. Union rules made the order of employees called complicated, and their existing solution could not phone more than two workers at once. Even more challenging, the system was not able to provide reports on the callout results. Meaning they weren’t tracking when employees declined or failed to answer, or even when an employee was skipped.

ARCOS understands callout complexity and has an automated solution. Our software is configurable to automatically apply the rules and needs of any business, accounting for the agreements already in place. It provides real-time reporting, is flexible and agile, and can be scaled up or down for any size organization.

Ocala Seeks a Solution

The City Council of Ocala had a strategic goal of operational excellence. Their software was not meeting the organization’s needs for emergency calls. Besides only being able to run two calls at once, it did not take into account union rules, employee skills, or rest time. Employees reported being skipped or not being able to accept a call, but Ocala couldn’t verify these claims.

Marvin Ayala, director of Ocala Electric Utility, brought ARCOS as a solution before the City Council. He was certain that “The ARCOS callout system will improve system reliability, customer satisfaction, and transparency for both field employees and supervisors.” The City Council agreed, unanimously approving building a partnership with ARCOS.

Moving into the Future with ARCOS

The ARCOS Callout and Scheduling solution was a perfect fit for all of Ocala’s needs. Rather than being limited to two calls at a time, ARCOS can call all needed employees at once, avoiding bottlenecks and speeding up response time. Real-time reporting means that all those call attempts are tracked with specificity. Any call can be looked back on, and reports can be run on the whole callout or on series of callouts.

Using advanced algorithms, ARCOS can mirror exactly any number of workplace agreements that utilities have made with their employees. Seniority, availability, and skill are all considered when determining call order. This eliminates grievances almost entirely. ARCOS’s reporting means it’s easy for supervisors to check records if there are questions, providing transparency and forensic capability for all.

Going Mobile

The final cherry on top is ARCOS’s mobile app. With it, employees can see where they are in the roster order and their callout acceptance rate. They can accept a callout in the app or by text, as well as by answering their phones. Supervisors can see and adjust schedules and roster order through the app, too. At any time, they can check what resources are available. With the mobile solution, ARCOS gives visibility into operations from anywhere.

OEU found ARCOS to be the right solution for their 54,000 customers. With flexibility and configurability, ARCOS can be the right solution for any utility. Learn more about ARCOS resource management software by contacting us today.

ARCOS Releases a Premium MWM Software for Mobile Workforce Management

By Blog

Work management is a challenge for everyone, no matter the industry. You’re often using multiple systems that don’t talk to one another as you try to effectively coordinate workers, equipment, and jobs. Or maybe you’re using a paper process, which can result in a backlog of days or weeks to get updates entered into the system of record. With an increase in storms and generational turnover, this can get even more complicated to manage.

An automated system can make this whole process easier. It can serve as a single source of truth for all activities at once. It replaces paper with a portal every worker can log into and check at any given moment from any location, improving coordination and eliminating delayed updates. Assignments can go out to multiple individuals and crews at once, offering a standardized process for everyone.

The Flexibility of an All-in-One Solution

ARCOS Mobile Workbench combines all the work assignments, updates, and reports into one easy-to-use system, eliminating tedious manual work and seamlessly integrating your existing legacy systems.  Or you can run everything completely through ARCOS – whatever works best for your process.

If you already use ARCOS, Mobile Workbench is just another tab in your interface, right alongside Callout and Crew Manager, and can easily share data with those features. You’ll be able to see every project, every work order, every crew, and filter on them. You can review expected hours and any adjustments as they come, giving early warning before crews run over time and budget. You can export comprehensive reports back to your chosen system or download them in spreadsheets, and can even approve changes on the ground in real-time without needing to pick up the phone.

ARCOS has been integrating with various software solutions for about twenty years, so we have lots of experience integrating right into your existing system. This allows you to assign jobs in ARCOS or in the programs you already use. Similarly, ARCOS has a built-in unit library, or you can connect your own, so the rights parts can be selected for a work order and the associated details are automatically added. Basically, we work with you and your existing processes, whatever those may be.

Mobile Solutions to Common Challenges

A large challenge is keeping the back office and field personnel (including contractors and mutual assistance workers from other companies) on the same page. ARCOS Mobile Workbench connects them with live updates. Tickets can be assigned in the office or in the field, and workers get those assignments on their phone or tablet instantly, including all the details and information they need to complete the job. They can then make updates that are seen in real-time by the office staff.

The correct forms pop right up when employees access a job assigned to them, and you can customize ARCOS Mobile Workbench to include any forms you need. Workers can add their notes, photos, and red line edits – anything they would do in a paper or manual system – right into the app, or even scan in QR Codes. Locations are tracked ONLY when the app is running, and can automatically figure drive time, as well as provide navigation instructions in the employee’s favorite map system without needing a street address.

ARCOS Mobile Workbench is completely secure, with only those granted access by the server able to see the information. Data is encrypted both at rest and in transit, so you control who accesses it.

You can sync with ARCOS Schedule data, and your field supervisors can adjust hours as needed. You can easily track all your expenses, time, and equipment. There’s also a built-in GIS viewer. ARCOS licenses this by site, so you won’t have to use individual licenses for any employees, contractors, or anyone else who accesses it.

The Importance of Offline Capability

ARCOS Mobile Workbench is compatible with any mobile device, and even useable offline, with work orders and all associated data downloaded in small packets on your phone so it doesn’t take up memory. This is ideal for storm situations when signals may not be readily available. And as soon as you get even a tiny bit of connection back, the system will automatically instantly update without employees needing to manually submit anything.

If ARCOS Mobile Workbench sounds like a solution for your company, contact ARCOS now to get started. Or check out this on-demand demo at your leisure. (We promise, it will only take a few minutes.)

What is Mobile Workbench?

By Blog

Automate Your Processes with ARCOS


Companies across the world are setting green initiatives to prepare for a more sustainable and efficient future. Whether your utility is focused on combatting climate change, meeting new government and regulatory standards, or just becoming more efficient and paperless, automation and digitization will continue to play a key role in the industry going forward.

Any time new technology disrupts an industry, it can be a challenge to adapt. Thankfully, smart, well-considered software, like ARCOS’ Resource Management platform, is here to not only assist you in meeting your goals, but help your business thrive. Automation and digitization don’t have to be scary; they can make you more efficient, productive, and dynamic, and increase happiness for your staff and customers.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits to be gained through these advancements.

Ditching the paper.

One of the most basic things you can do is eliminate paper consumption and waste in your workplace. It takes about 390 gallons of oil to produce one ton of paper. That’s a huge amount of resources used, and if you’re like most utilities, you’ve historically used a lot of paper for everything from reports to memos to tracking.

By replacing paper with digital records, you not only help the environment, but also have a more reliable source of truth for your business that can be accessed anywhere at any time. You’re not going to misplace a digital record and can control who accesses it. Logs can show any changes made, creating an easy-to-use record of real-time and historical data. Not to mention, the costs saved by not having to constantly buy more paper for your operations and space saved by not having to store physical records.

This more convenient way to access information can also be extended to customers. A multichannel platform is a must for those who utilize your services to login, see their data, and pay bills. You can capitalize on this interface by helping shape and deepen customer relationships. You can give them the information they need for sustainable and energy-saving best practices in their own home and let them take a more active role in their utility usage.

Standardizing your data.

One of the benefits of moving from a paperless system to a digital one is instituting common interfaces and practices. If all data is input and tracked the same way, there is standardization across departments and locations. Mistakes can be almost completely eliminated, and you won’t have to worry about differing management or training affecting your records.

With this kind of consistency, it’s easier to make decisions in the office instead of on-site, standardizing your processes and choices, as well. Best practices can be identified and applied across the company rapidly. You can communicate to all crews, wherever they may be, and give them instruction based on real-time and complete information.

Automate your tasks.

Basic administrative tasks eat up time your team could be using for strategic planning. , an organization with 5,000 employees can spend up to four million hours per year on unnecessary tasks and inefficient processes. That’s a lot of wasted minutes.

Think about which tasks in your office can be automated. Do you do any tracking through manual processes? ARCOS automatically records everything done on our platform so you don’t have to, and delivers thorough reporting in real-time. Human error is taken out of the equation when software automatically tracks, making it easier to resolve errors and inquiries.

We’re not just talking about administrative work, either. Remote sensors and smart meters can keep your back office informed about what is happening in the field at all times. Smart grid technology can diagnose issues on the fly and help analyze whatever is happening. This way, you can be more responsive to a problem when it arises, or even before it occurs.

More robust reporting.

Automating allows for better and more accurate reporting, while allowing you to identify trends and areas for improvement more easily. Then, you can use that data to improve your operations and the company bottom line, becoming more efficient in terms of time or resources saved. It also allows you to perform predictive maintenance, analyzing where repairs and replacements will be needed next and being proactive in keeping your customers satisfied.

In ARCOS, there are a variety of standard reports built into the system for all of the most common data points you need. We can also build custom reports to track whatever your business most wants to see for their operations.

Connected in the field.

With automation and digitization, it’s much easier to send the optimal employee or crew to the locations that need served. Technology can help you find who’s closest to the trouble, who is most qualified to deal with the problem, and what resources are needed. This can increase workforce availability, reduce travel time, and eliminate repeat trips for a single issue. It can optimize your work schedule by making sure travel and shift fills are efficient, using technology to help you make informed, quick decisions.

With an app like ARCOS Mobile Workbench, crews can be dynamically and instantly redirected as needed. They don’t need to report to a central hub because they can get their instructions wherever they are. They can also communicate back, providing updates electronically. This gives the back office real-time insight into everything that is happening and allows easy adjustments on the fly. It keeps all your employees connected and your company cohesive.

To fully implement digital and automation services effectively requires an investment of time and money. Not only are there costs in setting up the systems, but employees need to be trained to use it and incentivized to do so consistently until it becomes the way things are done.

But as you can see from above, there are a lot of benefits to making this investment, and returns can add up quickly only implemented. Rolled out with a plan and specific goals for the staff to hit, you can soon transition to a more futuristic, modern organization, benefiting both your employees and your customers.

If you’re ready to make the leap, or are interested in hearing more about what a system like ARCOS can do for your utility and your green initiatives, contact us today.

One Source of Truth to Track Them All

By Blog

With major storms becoming more frequent, it’s important to have a system in place to keep track of the work you do. You’ll want to be able to review decisions, go through a playback of your organization’s activities, and add up the costs quickly, accurately, and with verification. You want to be able to use that knowledge not just now, but to plan for future events. And you’ll want to do it without having to spend weeks or months entering data into spreadsheets.

One Source of Truth

Thankfully, with today’s technology, data doesn’t have to be captured on paper that may get lost in the shuffle. Instead, there are electronic solutions that give you one source of truth for all your restoration activities and save you time searching for data for reporting in multiple places.

For instance, data collection for a Category 2 hurricane might take six months to compile without an electronic solution to log hours, crews, and resources. Typically, there will be interviews with employees, collecting pictures and notes, finding GPS coordinates for each repair, adding up meal costs, and reviewing documentation of every task.

The ARCOS Resource Management platform can help by pulling everything you need together in one place with real-time reporting, saving you weeks and months of compiling data during the recovery process. One of our utility partners said switching from a manual process to ARCOS cut their time spent for storm recovery in half.

Crew Manager Tracks It All

ARCOS Crew Manager can help you capture everything you need for reporting, such as the number and make-up of crews, as well as how long they worked. Our software logs employees, resources (such as lodging, food, and fuel), and equipment on a minute-by-minute basis. You can watch activities in real-time, and run comprehensive reports after the fact.

With ARCOS Damage Assessment, employees in the field can see where they’re going and what they’re doing instantly. Gone are the obstacles of communication and information lost in the handoffs of paper packets. Everyone can see what needs to be done clearly, in electronic form. Field workers can even add pictures to support the reports and any additional notes, everything they would have included on a paper log.

Contractors in the Same System

ARCOS Resource Assist adds contractors into your own system just as seamlessly. With a few keystrokes, you can request and confirm exactly the type of workers you need. Contractors can respond via their own portal within Resource Assist, even pre-building crews before the storm and swapping personnel as needed. You can see all updates instantly, fully integrated with your own staff in Crew Manager.

Storm Reporting Made Simple

Recovering the costs of storm restoration can be a challenge. It’s time-consuming, and much of the data you need may be with outside contractors. During restoration efforts, the focus is on getting service restored to customers, not sweating the details. But FEMA, regulators, and private carriers require adequate documentation in order to return the spending to you.

By using ARCOS, you can eliminate the guesswork, with an immediate and accurate gathering of the numbers you need. We streamline the process and put in place one source of truth for you to figure out what was spent and how it was distributed. There’s no digging through paperwork or comparing conflicting notes – if they were even kept and organized correctly. Everything you need is all in one place, and reports can be configured to your needs.

If you’d like to learn more, contact ARCOS now and review our Storm Cost Recovery Whitepaper. We’d love to provide a solution for you.

MWM Gets Work Done Faster with API Integrated Work Systems

By Blog

It can be difficult to manage both internal and external resources, especially with unexpected weather and other major events. You have to keep track of personnel, equipment, tasks, and both regular maintenance and surprise repairs as they come in. Whether it’s using a legacy system or paper and clipboard, each company has developed their own way of managing resources and work.
Many operations store all their assets at a central site. This makes sense, as it’s easy to think having everything in one place makes it simpler to keep track of what you currently have and what’s being used. Similarly, you may have a single system for each aspect of an operation. For instance, one to track trucks, one to keep track of employee hours, and one to map out routes.

As utilities continue to evolve, it is becoming more and more evident that the industry’s digital systems must be integrated. Work can be done faster with the right people when you can quickly view data from current active field crews alongside all available data from across your entire organization. Utilities can easily see trends and predictive analysis that could save teams hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. All that’s needed is a good API and platform integration.

Tackling the Challenge with ARCOS

Solutions like the ARCOS Resource Management platform can bridge new and legacy systems together, optimizing every bit of your operation. ARCOS can tie your existing systems right into our user-friendly interface, allowing you to combine multiple tracking methods into one.

This allows quicker, more accurate reporting that takes all your resources into account. By having solid tracking, you can plan ahead, for blue skies or grey. You’ll be able to see in real-time what’s working and what’s not, and where more assistance is needed. It lets you take a wide view or a narrow one, depending on your needs in the moment, and switch back and forth effortlessly.

Looking to ARCOS Mobile Workbench

Imagine GIS, Outage, and Work Management Systems all working together and utilizing the same data. A work order can come in and be shared with both the utility work management system and dispatchers, using ARCOS to assemble the crew. The extension of capabilities allows companies the ability to manage both people and work with a heightened knowledge of where crews are, how long they will be on site, and their estimated time to get to another job.

ARCOS Mobile Workbench combined with the ARCOS API can have systems cross-communicating and sharing what they know, adding more value and life to your existing legacy systems. It also provides instant communication between the back office and the field without the need to drive back and forth with paper packets.

Be Everywhere at Once

With all systems connected electronically, you don’t need to have everyone in the same place, supporting remote work and flexibility for your team. The right people will be on the right work at the right time, and supervisors can keep track of resources from anywhere. Multiple staging sites makes for more efficient deployment, bringing resources closer to where they’re needed and requiring less travel time. Integrating mobile apps also lets field workers stay in constant contact.

Through a full platform integration, the central staging area is digital. Whether you have a main office or employees working from home, they’ll have the same access to information. Branches don’t have to update one another because everyone communicates back through a single source of truth. Managers at every level can make informed decisions about the entire operation holistically.

In the digital age, there are better, efficient ways to help you get work done faster while streamlining flexible remote work processes. Through API integration, different systems can talk to one another, bringing all parts of your operation into a single platform that you can view through one lens. This gives better visibility for staff in the back office to see what’s going on in the field, and allows coordination of different types of resources all in one system. And embracing an integration project is easier than you think.

Find out more about the ARCOS API by contacting one of our experts today.

The ARCOS IdeaBank: Collaborating with our Utility Partners

By Blog

Let’s take a journey back in time, where some may remember seeing walls covered from floor to ceiling in post-it notes at past ARCOS User Conferences. Was it a fancy art project? No, not at all. It was a way for our users to share new ideas and features they would like to see in our solutions or thoughts on current functionality they felt could be enhanced or expanded upon. ARCOS would spend hours cataloging every single notion that was written on those little yellow squares and give them to our team of developers.  

User requests are always taken very seriously by ARCOS. We are one of the only software companies that truly built our resource management platform hand-in-hand with the individuals who were going to use it. The wall was vital to ARCOS’s future innovation and drive to take on the industry’s toughest challenges. Flashforward years later, and just as spreadsheets and paper have been replaced with ARCOS Callout, Crew Manager and Mobile Workbench, the post-it notes are gone and now exchanged with a new mode of direct customer communication – the ARCOS IdeaBank 

What exactly is it?​ The ARCOS IdeaBank is designed to provide customers with an online voice that gives them a seat to help co-design our solutions with the features, UX, and functionality that they need and find beneficial to their real-world and life situations. It provides ARCOS with a single source to gather ideas and feedback, so ideas can be researched and prioritized​ by our product and development teams. You can even vote on the features you would like to see.  

What can you do on the ARCOS IdeaBank?  

  • SUBMIT your product ideas and product feedback​ 
  • VIEW other’s product ideas and feedback​ 
  • VOTE on the product ideas you feel would help you and others most​ 
  • REPLY and RESPOND to anyone’s product ideas or feedback​ 
  • TRACK where product ideas are in the ARCOS Product Enhancement Process 
  • FOLLOW and SHARE posted ideas or feedback​ 
  • SEARCH for posted ideas 
  • RECEIVE notifications when the IdeaBank is updated 

And it’s open 24/7, so whenever an idea may strike, you can access the feedback forum and share what’s on your mind while it’s fresh and crazy enough to be the next big ARCOS solution.  

The ARCOS IdeaBank is live and running now, so check it out by clicking here. And don’t forget to give the ideas already posted a thumbs up or down. Items are prioritized based on the amount of likes and dislikes they have. Join your fellow users and start participating today. We look forward to seeing your thoughts on the ARCOS IdeaBank! 

Damage Assessment: Knowing What You Don’t Know

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Transformers were blown, poles snapped in two and wires dangled everywhere. The event had raged just as fast and hard as it left and now the time had arrived for restoration and clean-up. But after a grid crippling incident capable of this kind of destruction, where does a utility begin? How can they know what needs to be repaired first and what crews and equipment to send to a ravaged area? How can an operation make the most of emergency management minutes that are quickly wasting away valuable time, labor opportunities, and consumer confidence? 

At the foremost of things to do after an emergency is activating a mobile solution like ARCOS Damage Assessment. ARCOS Damage Assessment software transmits fast, accurate damage reports in real-time to OMS and ARCOS dashboards. This allows operators to act quickly to reduce the time it takes to repair any damage done by a storm or cataclysmic event. A guided assessment lets field operatives immediately report any jobs that need to be accomplished, and the materials and possible equipment needed to complete the work. All the data gathered is displayed on a map and layered on a utility’s GIS system. Estimated Time of Restoration (ETR) is made more exact, helping boost customer trust and ultimately, CAIDI and SAIDI scores.  

For municipal and cooperative utilities, ARCOS Mobile Workbench performs damage assessment in a similar fashion but in a more all-encompassing way. Not only can the solution map, define, and distribute equipment and inventory necessary to complete a job, it can create the work ticket and allow dispatchers to find the right crews to fix trouble spots and send them on their way. It gives a utility the ability to manage both people and work in one system. Through an advanced API, ARCOS Mobile Workbench can also be tied into existing systems so all data collected during a particular event can be leveraged by each application in any environment.  

What both solutions deliver is full situational awareness. It’s allowing field ops, dispatchers, administrators, and everyone involved in the restoration process a bird’s eye view of what’s really going on, what needs done, who can do it, and where they need to go next. It’s knowing what you don’t know, and that gives a response finesse, agility, and speed.  

Learn more about the ARCOS Resource Management platform and how you can improve damage assessment, emergency, and incident management 

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