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The ARCOS Sunday Read: The Increase of Solar for a Brighter, Sustainable Future

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The ARCOS Sunday Read thinks about the impact of solar and other renewable energy sources and how committed utilities are in their implementation. Are we focused enough on future sustainability? This story from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies paints a pretty picture. What do you think?

https://e360.yale.edu/digest/utility-scale-solar-could-grow-by-double-digits-over-the-next-two-years

 

 

Technology that Takes the Risk out of Innovation

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According to the Department of Homeland Security, a large swath of the manufacturing industry falls under an umbrella term dubbed “critical infrastructure,” specifically the “critical manufacturing sector.” This subgroup includes entities like manufacturers of steel, aluminum, turbines for power generations and earth-moving and agricultural equipment. Output and throughput in these industries is a top priority. To ensure processes run smoothly every time, plant managers and front-line supervisors have to remedy interruptions as soon as possible. That often requires elaborate systems to monitor performance and reach assembly, maintenance, warehouse and other kinds of workers around the clock.

I’ve walked into many manufacturing facilities, however, that were coated in Excel spreadsheets and charts because the processes and lines of communications mentioned above were still being done in an analog way, by hand. For instance, assembling a response crew to fix a service interruption, without an automated system in place, can take hours of a front-line supervisor’s time, and leave other parts of a plant understaffed or underpowered.

In these critical infrastructure sectors, union rules often come into play and supervisors navigate the rules manually. I’ve worked with companies that had union rules so complicated that assembling people to fill shifts or parts of shifts nearly always ends with the company paying out  grievances, even to the point it’s considered a necessary expense.

Oftentimes, the reason manufacturers stick with these outdated processes comes down to return on investment. Some worry that the cost of purchasing and implementing a new, automated system, as well as training employees how to use it, will negatively impact the bottom line.

This is where ARCOS comes in. We create automated systems that allow manufacturers to take these complicated analog processes and transform them into automatic ones, freeing up employees, front-line supervisors and plant managers to work on other tasks that increase overall productivity.\

We’ve developed resource management software that mirror the way companies work through years of helping America’s largest utilities and the airline industry. We take on tough challenges, do what we say and work as a team, and, in return, ARCOS has a 99-percent customer satisfaction rating. If you want an ROI, take advantage of the latest innovation in workflow automation. If you’re in the critical manufacturing sector, consider what ARCOS has to offer.

A framework of trust and technology puts crew convoys in high gear

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Jim Nowak’s latest Electric Light and Power article has been posted. Read about how you can get your crews in gear with trust and a touch of technology.  https://www.elp.com/Electric-Light-Power-Newsletter/articles/2019/03/a-framework-of-trust-and-technology-puts-crew-convoys-in-high-gear.html

The Sunday Read…could Energy Corridors be the future of America and its borders?

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What if the US-Mexico border became an energy corridor? It’s an exciting glimpse into the future that engineers and scientists are forecasting could make a huge difference in providing energy to the United States. In this provocative article from Renewable Energy World, it doesn’t matter who pays for what, it’s the ideas that need discussed as we look into a tomorrow of sustainability and clean energy. Let us know your thoughts. http://bit.ly/2SRRrH5

ARCOS speaks at the Riverside Company Annual Conference

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Bruce Duff, ceo of ARCOS, spoke today at the Riverside Company annual conference of portfolio companies. Along with Dave Tiley, senior operating partner of the Riverside Company, they shared ARCOS’ journey and how action and urgency have played key roles in our success. The strategic importance of creating and living your corporate mission vision was also highlighted. Solving the toughest challenges for critical infrastructure industries is something ARCOS takes seriously and we are very grateful for our partners who let us help them respond, restore and report to daily planned and unplanned events. Thank you, Riverside, for the recognition and chance to tell our story.

The ACROS Sunday Read: Green Practices for Electric Utilities

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The world of tomorrow is here, but will it last for our kid’s kids? What are the steps Electric Utilities must take to really become sustainable? Our Sunday Read takes a look and lists a few. Can you think of others? https://www.fleetcarma.com/sustainability-electric-utility-industry-electric-companies-can-become-sustainable/

The Rising Cost of Flying and increasing Airline ROI

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From journeying abroad for pleasure, to bleisure travel (the new term for extending a business trip for leisure), global trips are on the rise. Planes are transporting more people than ever before, and over the next 20 years, airlines are projected to double the amount of annual flights – accompanied by rising ticket prices and other fees. But if an increasing number of travelers are continually paying more to fly, then why are airline profits free-falling?

According to the IATA (International Air Transport Association), airlines globally made less money in 2018 than 2017. From 2017 to 2018, airplane arrival delays went up 26.8%, and the number of cancelled flights increased by 36%. (United States Department of Transportation)

Variables contributing to a decreasing ROI for airlines include: 

  • Paycheck overpayments when shifts are not logged correctly
  • High turnover among ground crew employees and schedulers
  • Keeping a larger number of reserve pilots than needed
  • Using more time and resources while scheduling air and ground crews during an IROP
  • The increasing cost of fuel for American airline carriers (up 4% from 2017 to 2018)
  • Delays and cancellations caused by national disasters and weather events 

Sound familiar? There is a way carriers can handle how they deal with these challenges. By investing in innovative technology that provides control over most of these diminishing factors of revenue, airlines can turn things around before it’s too late.

With Ascend and RosterApps, ARCOS resource management solutions can provide ROI that can raise any airline’s bottom line, with benefits like:

  • Cutting admin costs and time
  • Completely eliminating the need to pick up the phone and make manual calls
  • Operational efficiency gains and reduced turnover
  • Giving your employees the tool they need to do their job

Don’t wait to start seeing a return on your investments in 2019 and help make this year your most successful yet.

The Ever-Evolving Role of Airline Labor Rules and Regulations

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Pilot shortages. Union trends. Grievances. These themes wove their way through headlines in 2018, and will have a place in airline news for years to come. With the need for more pilots, and an increasing spotlight on labor rules and regulations, what kinds of industry union trends are emerging?

A recent report from CAPA (the Centre for Aviation) revealed that during the first half of 2018, published aviation new articles had an increase in the use of the word “strike”. Their summary report also highlights 2226

Other findings from CAPA’s report include:

  • Globalized business models are challenging unions
  • It’s crucial to ensure that airlines and unions have needs that align in the industry’s best interest
  • The current pilot supply is not keeping up with the demand for new pilots

Over the past five years, the airline industry has also seen an increase in mobilization and a defense of a right to organize among ground crews and subcontractors. One common theme between airlines, unions, and public officials alike is safety for travelers.

According to an article on skift.com, a boost in pay and more training opportunities for airline employees contributes to safer conditions for passengers and an elevated employee retention rate. If an airline has high turnover, then employees may be less prepared to handle incidents. This factor alone can give unions the upper hand when advocating for policy changes.

As labor rules and regulations continue to adapt and change, it can be extremely difficult for schedulers to remember who they are allowed to call when a spot opens for both flight and ground crews. Our research shows that schedulers go through a variety of tedious processes to fill open spots – from pouring over paper lists, folders, and complicated spreadsheets, to shifting through files in large boxes to confirm their union rules and that they are calling the correct employees.

ARCOS solutions are configurable to your specific labor rules for flight and ground crews, eliminating the need to determine who you have to call, and automating the manual call process all together. With evolving rules, pilot seniority, paid time off, and sick leave – you have enough to remember. Let our software do the work for you and keep your unions, and airline happy.

The ARCOS Sunday Read…What are consumers to think?

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The ARCOS Sunday read dares to ponder what consumers think when utilities report losing millions of dollars but still beat Wall Street’s expectations. What can we do in terms of reputation management and justifying higher rates? How do we educate consumers on what daily operating costs truly are and showing that the industry is ultimately keeping rates down and more money in user’s pockets? Food for thought…http://bit.ly/2GCCBm5

What’s in place to ensure your ‘stream’ of service?

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Many of the businesses and industries (e.g., utilities, airlines, manufacturers, critical infrastructure) I work with at ARCOS every day have customers who depend on the smooth, uninterrupted operation of technology. Take the airline industry as an example. Aircraft makers design air-frames with multiple, built-in fail-safe elements. Planes have to be able to fly with a failed engine, land with broken landing gear, and have a backup power source, among many other redundancies.

For utilities who depend on cloud services to organize day-to-day operations, the principle is the same. A constant, unbroken “stream” of water, gas, or electric service is imperative to utility customers, and thus, fail-safe measures are built into the network to ensure this. There are a few different layers of redundancies that can be built into cloud systems. The first layer of redundancy should always be physical. If you need a server operating constantly to keep the system going, there should be a backup server in the event the first goes down.

Another important fail-safe layer is called location redundancy. In addition to physical hardware in a single city, it’s important to have redundant systems set up in other cities. If, for instance, there were a problem in ARCOS’s Columbus, Ohio, office, those services could be shifted to a similar facility in another city.

Finally, if a business relies on a vendor-provided service, it is imperative to have a layer of vendor redundancy. A good example is a business’ internet service provider (ISP). If constant internet service is critical to the business model, there should be a managed plan in place that if that ISP goes down, another one picks up immediately.

Ultimately, when uninterrupted service is a top priority, it is the responsibility of a business owner to look for every fail point and implement fail-safe measures to bridge that gap. These examples are just a few of the places that technology professionals and business managers can build fail safes into cloud systems to ensure service is always on point.