Our founder and visionary, Mitch McLeod, was inducted into the 2018 BGSU Paul J. Hooker Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Hall of Fame. Mitch set us on our path – and we are so incredibly proud of him. Check out this video which pretty much sums up Mitch’s incredible leadership. Only four inductees were chosen this year, and we think you’ll agree – this award is pretty special.
Concise and quick communication is one of the most effective skillsets in an organization – when it’s going well, processes are smooth and efficient; however, on the flipside, poor communication leads to disorganization, inconsistencies, tedious processes and even potential safety issues. With a workforce that is more widely distributed and mobile than ever before, supervisors are facing extreme communication barriers. Handwritten logs, manual phone calls and time-consuming processes are just a few of the obstacles that could have an effect on safety in the field. As the expectations of customers rise and the number of incidents grows- safety is more important than ever before.
Let’s take a deeper look into how an active approach toward improving company-wide communication is a step in the right direction to keep safety issues at bay.
Columbus, Ohio – October 2, 2018 – ARCOS® LLC has acquired Des Moines, Iowa-based Sciengistics, Inc., doing business as RosterApps, a provider of airline ground crew scheduling software. This acquisition will combine RosterApps’ airline experience and shiftwork technology with the ARCOS resource management platform to fully automate the scheduling, shift-trading, callout and tracking of flight and ground crew staff.
“We acquired RosterApps to enhance our presence in the airline industry and build on our decades-long ground crew scheduling and resource management capabilities across multiple industries,” said Bruce Duff, chief executive officer of ARCOS. “The RosterApps product is very complementary to our existing ARCOS solution that helps airline carriers automate the process of finding qualified, available pilots and flight crew to fill open trips due to last-minute schedule conflicts or IROPS. Read More
In a world of mobile everything, instant connectivity and social media right at your fingertips, many companies are challenged with figuring out the most effective ways to manage the technology and make it work for the organization. During daily operations, social media is usually a communication medium solely used by marketing, however, when it comes to storms or other events, the strategy becomes much more critical to deliver timely, relevant and pertinent information. A key challenge for utilities is quickly collecting and disseminating the information to marketing so it’s communicated with customers and stakeholders in a timely manner. If you are scratching your head wondering how you can impact the information sent to customers keep reading for how to maximize social media efforts and keep your customers informed.
When was the last time you backed up your laptop, tablet or smartphone? I was recently asked whether or not there’s a link between cybersecurity and preparedness plans. If you have a good cybersecurity process in place, you’re always bracing for any situation – whether it’s an emergency response, a major storm, a terrorist attack, or other scenarios. Unlike a preparedness plan, which has a bit of a shelf life, a cybersecurity plan (and the technology underpinning it) changes daily.
With cybersecurity, you are (or should be) doing something daily to change the proverbial combination on your infrastructure’s lock.
As of Sunday, September 16, CNN reported that about 760,000 customers were without power in the Carolinas due to the impact of Hurricane Florence. Cities like Wilmington, N.C., are inaccessible due to rising flood waters.
As utilities from across the country send crews to help Wilmington and other places recover from Florence, technologies like mobile digital computers (MDC), rugged laptops and GPS have put data into the hands of field crews. Just a few years ago, one utility I know of had a stack of manuals for each of its trucks–topics ranging from construction standards to payroll–that would stand four feet high if stacked cover to cover. The days of the paper manual are quickly vanishing. But putting data where the work happens isn’t just about giving field crews the technology they need to restore service.
It’s a reality that emergencies and unplanned events are inevitable in most organizations- but what might be overlooked is that your response is the most critical. Utilities nationwide are jumping through hoops to eliminate operational headaches that negatively impact their overall emergency response and bottom line. Separately managed business systems, lagging technology and seemingly impossible to meet safety standards are just a few of the hurdles that plagued a Midwest gas utility. If the thought of any of these gives you a headache- keep reading to learn three of the innovative ways that improved business processes and helped others fix their problem.
A utility stands on the shoulders of its operation team–the people who keep the lights on, provide service for new customers and maintain or add to existing infrastructure. These teams include a supporting cast of dispatchers, supervisors, store room employees, supply chain professionals and schedulers.
Technology–such as outage management systems (OMS), work management systems (WMS), resource management platforms and damage assessment software–can link the team together, but not always. When daily or blue-sky operations shift to dark-sky work, some industry vets have called the changeover organized chaos. Utilities always bring the lights back on. But there can be disconnects as a team transitions from daily operations to restoration mode.
This summer the U.S. government created the National Risk Management Center to coordinate the defense of U.S. infrastructure – including energy companies – from cyberattacks. The NRMC isn’t the only group focused on security. EEI’s Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC) also partners with the government to protect the grid. And the American Public Power Association offers online tools to help its members with security concerns. Cybersecurity is a hot topic; the stakes are high.
It’s encouraging to see the government bring public and private players together. This reminds me of how lawmakers kick-started patient security via electronic health records more than a decade ago.
What makes someone secure are the practices they engage in around the clock and the type of platform they invest in. And, frankly, we’re better than most of our utility company partners in this regard only because generating power is a utility’s core competency; writing code and designing secure, cloud solutions is our expertise.
Utilities nationwide are investing in and deploying a new generation of network technology that promises to enhance the efficiency, reliability and resilience of energy distribution. This encompasses designing, implementing and managing new business models, organizational structures and mechanisms revolving around emergency response processes and systems that require significant shifts in workforce management.
Leading-edge digital technologies being tested and put to productive use in the field include;
- Wireless sensors
- Energy Internet of Things devices
- Battery-based energy storage
- Mobile-device apps
- Drones (aka unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs)
- Enterprise power grid and distributed energy resources management platforms
- Augmented and virtual reality systems
As the list continues to grow and expand, technological and organizational transformation at the speed, scope and scale utilities are undertaking today comes with correspondingly high challenges and risks.