Skip to main content
search
Category

Press Releases

Great River Energy picks ARCOS automated callout for control center staff

By Press Releases

COLUMBUS, Ohio – March 23, 2021 – This summer, ARCOS® LLC, the market leader for utility and critical infrastructure resource-management solutions, will roll out its ARCOS Callout and Scheduling Suite for Minn.-based cooperative Great River Energy, a provider of wholesale electricity to 28 member-owned cooperatives in Minnesota and Wisconsin, so the co-op can automatically identify available employees after business hours and direct them to restoration work.

“For years, Great River Energy has made manual calls for communications between our control center and field crews,” said Mark Peterson, system operations manager for Great River Energy. “Automating callouts will save time for our control center staff, so they can focus on their core responsibility, operations.”

With Great River Energy’s manual, after-hours callout process, control center operators search (one call at a time) for available employees. Once they reach a worker, they describe the problem and dispatch them. Staff manually input worker status through established work rules tied to seniority, hours worked, scheduled time off and proximity to a job site. A recent winter storm sped up the decision by Great River Energy to take the chore of manual callouts off the operators, so they could automatically launch calls with ARCOS and focus, instead, on front-end analysis linked to restoring substations, identifying transmission infrastructure damage, or starting peaking generation.

“Our operators have tools to pinpoint issues and analyze conditions, but it takes concentration and dedicated time to make the most of these tools,” added Peterson. “Every minute spent on a manual callout is a distraction that reduces situational awareness in the control center.”

Approximately 200 Great River Energy employees will be listed in the ARCOS System including control center workers who log in to launch and analyze callouts. According to Great River Energy, managers will measure the success of automated callout in two ways: First, the number of people reached through the system (versus a manual process) and the success rate for each call; second, how much time automation shaves off the callout process per event.

ARCOS Receives Strategic Growth Investment from Vista Equity Partners

By News Articles, Press Releases

Utility and critical infrastructure resource-management leader will accelerate hiring, drive innovation in core products and expand suite of offerings

COLUMBUS, Ohio March 17, 2021 – ARCOS® LLC, the market leader for utility and critical infrastructure resource-management solutions, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to receive a majority investment from Vista Equity Partners, a leading global investment firm focused on market-leading enterprise software, data and technology-enabled businesses. ARCOS and Vista will partner to accelerate investment in hiring, continue driving innovation in its core products and expand its suite of offerings – solving the toughest resource management challenges for utilities and other critical infrastructure industries.

Since 2005, ARCOS’ technology has helped hundreds of the largest electric and gas utilities and airlines manage their crews and resources, especially in unplanned scenarios where resources are needed on short notice. ARCOS helps these organizations identify which crews and resources are available, reduce the time needed to assemble crews and perform callouts, and confront a host of other resource-management challenges such as overseeing contractors and managing service disruption incidents.

“For essential workers in industries like utilities and critical infrastructure, the ability to assess resources and respond quickly can make the difference between success and failure,” said Bruce Duff, CEO of ARCOS. “With Vista’s partnership, we will continue to bring our best-in-breed technology solutions to these industries, as well as explore new areas for product expansion and help our clients continue to modernize practices and processes, so they can respond and restore services quickly. We are thrilled to have Vista’s backing as we chart our next chapter.”

“The partnership between ARCOS and the utility industry has been one of collaboration that has provided us with solutions to effectively respond to, restore and report both planned and unplanned events that occur every day of the week,” said John Tyler Anthony, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Pepco Holdings. “We look forward to continuing to work with ARCOS as they begin their new partnership with Vista Equity Partners, and we appreciate their continued focus to expand their products and ensure comprehensive resource management capabilities for us and other critical infrastructure industries. Providing safe, reliable and affordable service is the industry’s primary mission and having technology providers like ARCOS is critical to our collective success.”

“Bruce and his team have built an indispensable business by helping their customers be nimbler and more responsive in managing their resources,” said Patrick Severson, senior managing director in Vista’s Foundation Fund. “ARCOS’ customers are providing power, water, gas and other essential services to people across North America, and these customers rely on ARCOS to keep those services online. The ARCOS team is extremely driven by this mission, and we are excited to help them have an even greater impact by investing in their people, products and customers.”

ARCOS and Vista Equity Partners expect the transaction to close in the second quarter of 2021. The investment by Vista follows The Riverside Company’s investment in ARCOS in 2013. William Blair & Company and Lightning Partners served as the financial advisor to ARCOS and The Riverside Company, and Harris Williams & Co. served as the exclusive financial advisor to Vista Equity Partners. ARCOS management will remain meaningful shareholders of the company along with Vista Equity Partners.

About ARCOS LLC

ARCOS is a leader in delivering SaaS solutions for managing resources, ensuring accurate, compliant shift scheduling and automatically planning for all types of events. The ARCOS solution reports on the up-to-the-minute location and status of equipment and crews via mobile technology for utilities and other critical infrastructure like airlines, manufacturers and industrial facilities. The ARCOS resource management platform helps organizations save time and money, while improving customer satisfaction and the efficiency, safety and accuracy of operations. Learn about ARCOS resource management software at https://www.arcos-inc.com. Follow ARCOS on LinkedIn, @ARCOS LLC, and Twitter, @ARCOS

About Vista Equity Partners

Vista is a leading global investment firm with more than $73 billion in assets under management as of September 30, 2020. The firm exclusively invests in enterprise software, data and technology-enabled organizations across private equity, permanent capital, credit, and public equity strategies, bringing an approach that prioritizes creating enduring market value for the benefit of its global ecosystem of investors, companies, customers and employees. Vista’s investments are anchored by a sizable long-term capital base, experience in structuring technology-oriented transactions and proven, flexible management techniques that drive sustainable growth. Vista believes the transformative power of technology is the key to an even better future – a healthier planet, a smarter economy, a diverse and inclusive community and a broader path to prosperity. Further information is available at vistaequitypartners.com. Follow Vista on LinkedIn, @Vista Equity Partners, and Twitter, @Vista_Equity.

Media Contacts:

ARCOS
Bill Perry
bperry@arcos-inc.com
614-975-7538

Vista Equity Partners
Dafna Tapiero
vista@laurelstrategies.com
202-776-7776

SMECO digitizes planning, tracking crew moves with ARCOS Crew Manager

By Press Releases

COLUMBUS, Ohio – February 22, 2021 – ARCOS® LLC, the market leader for utility and critical infrastructure resource-management solutions, has implemented ARCOS Crew Manager® at Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO), so utility managers can not only see where, what and how long the co-op’s 40 service and construction crews are working but also create a digital snapshot of which crews and equipment are available minutes, hours or even weeks ahead.

“Crew Manager is an evolution from the ARCOS Callout and Scheduling Suite we installed in 2006,” said Ronnie Wise, Distribution Operations manager for SMECO. “ARCOS callouts use algorithms to call crews in the order our business processes dictate; with ARCOS, we’ve assembled 14-person crews in 24 minutes. Before that we made callouts by hand, one call at a time – it could take an hour to build a crew.”

During normal business hours, SMECO’s distribution system operators (DSOs) use Crew Manager alongside the work and outage management system to keep tabs on crews’ field work and customer appointments. Crew foremen, which SMECO calls operations supervisors, begin their shift and enter the status of crew members into Crew Manager. The software then tracks and computes hours worked, breaks and availability – on a dashboard for the DSOs.

To manage resources for a forecasted storm, SMECO’s managers access a visual display of the status, skill sets and location of crews and equipment in Crew Manager via color-coded icons. Managers drag and drop icons across the utility’s territory to create different restoration scenarios. If a scenario shows a gap because, say, a crew will have worked too many hours or there aren’t enough resources to cover a set of circuits, SMECO can reorder its plans in Crew Manager and quickly see an alternative or know precisely how many contractors to call on.

SMECO has also relied on Crew Manager during the COVID-19 pandemic to split its crews into blue and gold teams to better manage, or mitigate, a potential outbreak. The system allows DSOs to quickly see if a field assignment might cause crews from different teams to inadvertently converge at a work site, which helps to prevent crossover.

DSOs also rely on the crew management software to set up attributes, or badges, for resources. For instance, next to a truck’s serial number in Crew Manager, a DSO can link a color-coded badge reading “digger-derrick” or “single-bucket truck.” Before Crew Manager, SMECO relied on an ever-evolving number scheme to track truck types and other equipment.

Wise added, “Cooperatives that don’t have these systems will ask, ‘Why do I need to buy a software system to make calls and track crews when I have dispatchers?’

“We gave our DSOs these tools, so they can put more time into researching what crews need, or formulating a game plan for restoration,” said Wise. “In the midst of chaos, it’s made life less chaotic.”

Central Georgia EMC trims time off outages with automated callout

By Press Releases

COLUMBUS, Ohio – November 9, 2020 – ARCOS® LLC, the market leader for utility and critical infrastructure resource-management solutions, has implemented its ARCOS Callout and Scheduling Suite for Central Georgia Electric Membership Corporation, so the co-op can automatically contact available workers to restore service in the wake of any sudden event or an incident outside normal business hours.

“We run a very lean organization and had a pop-up storm requiring an all-hands call for help; using ARCOS, more than 80 percent of our workforce responded within two minutes,” said John Harkness, senior vice president of Distribution Services at Jackson, Ga.-based Central Georgia EMC (CGEMC). “With our manual method, that all-hands call would’ve taken up to an hour to complete; ARCOS helped us restore power 30 to 45 minutes sooner, which has a positive impact on CAIDI, SAIDI, customer satisfaction and revenue.”

Before installing the ARCOS SaaS platform, CGEMC – a non-union, 59,000-meter customer-owned electric cooperative serving 14 counties south of Atlanta – relied on its system operators and supervisors to manually call crews to find workers available for restoration work. With ARCOS, CGEMC system operators push a button on their keyboard or mobile device and let the automated callout system organize the calls for help, which has also improved the rate at which workers accept calls.

“Our employees wanted a better way of knowing when they’re needed after hours and where they fall in the callout rotation,” added Harkness. “We wanted a seamless, efficient way to contact employees outside normal working hours, get a response and track the outcome.”

According to Harkness, his line department’s employee performance appraisals, and ultimately salary adjustments, rely partially on how line workers respond to after-hours callouts. Prior to ARCOS, the co-op’s operators and crew leaders documented (often with pen and paper) whom they called, how often and the response. Typically, the process occurred outside the office, at a crew leader’s home by phone requiring the caller to bring documentation into the office and type notes into a database. Documentation errors could undermine employees’ confidence in performance and salary reviews. Since automating callout tracking, Harkness says the errors are gone and employee confidence has improved. Using ARCOS reports, the co-op publishes a weekly scorecard of callout responses on an electronic billboard that employees see by job classification. The co-op resets the scorecard as each performance review period begins.

“Some of our lower performers in years past are now doing far better and pointing to the scoreboard,” remarks Harkness.

Inside the ARCOS software, CGEMC was able to construct a variety of callout types:  on-call; volunteer; assistance-needed; and all-call. The co-op can launch each type in seconds and get a response in minutes.

“Automation gets everyone equally participating in callouts and improves our restoration times, which means happy customers and reductions in CAIDI and SAIDI,” says Harkness.

Harkness also says automating the callout process gave his co-op a way to think about how the non-union, member-owned utility does business. Even before ARCOS, CGEMC discussed speeding up response times and improving the capture of data related to productivity, so the co-op could take the burden off the staff. With a non-union workforce, CGEMC had flexibility in transforming its callout approach. Implementing ARCOS provided CGEMC with the chance to improve processes for its line department and managers.

“We knew we wanted to better distribute work and reward performance, but we couldn’t manage that with a manual system,” recalls Harkness. “Automation, specifically ARCOS, gave us software to track exactly what’s happening and acknowledge and reward employees for their contributions.”

 

For 11th time, ARCOS makes list of Central Ohio’s 50 fastest-growing companies

By Press Releases

COLUMBUS, Ohio – October 20, 2020 – ARCOS LLC has again earned a place on the Columbus Business First Fast 50 – the annual list of the 50 fastest-growing emerging companies in Central Ohio. This year ARCOS ranks #27, a climb from #38 when ARCOS appeared on the list in 2018. ARCOS has made the list 11 times since its first appearance on the list in 2007. Of the nearly 500 companies on the list since it began in 1996, only two – Progressive Medical, Inc. (14 years) and Sequent (12 years) – have appeared more times than ARCOS. The Fast 50 Award recognizes companies for financial growth and performance over the past three years.

“One of our founding principles is:  We take on the toughest challenges for our customers whether they work at a utility company, airline or in another critical infrastructure industry,” said Bruce Duff, chief executive officer of ARCOS LLC. “Our employees’ willingness to work as a team and go to great lengths to help our customers is rewarding personally and professionally, and it’s part of why ARCOS regularly earns a place on the Fast 50 list.”

ARCOS’s early success came from automating a complex, manual process that utility managers relied on for identifying and calling out crews for after-hours emergencies and restoration. ARCOS went on to win business from the largest investor-owned utilities, municipalities and co-operatives; approximately 90 percent of U.S. households are served by utilities that use ARCOS technology. ARCOS next deployed its solutions for crew scheduling and management as well as damage assessment to help gas and water utilities. ARCOS then turned to helping the airline industry save millions of dollars by automating the way managers fill complex schedules (often disrupted by weather) for flight crews and ground crews. ARCOS has recently implemented its workforce management and scheduling solutions for manufacturers and logistics companies.

ARCOS resource management solutions help customers respond to after-hours and major events; restore service by quickly and safely assembling crews; and report the outcome to executives, employees, first responders, regulators, media and the public. The ARCOS® Callout and Scheduling Suite is a SaaS platform for managers to automatically assemble available crews, analyze crew response and report outcomes. The ARCOS Damage Assessment solution helps utilities shorten the process of surveying damage caused by major events like hurricanes from days to hours. ARCOS Resource Assist™ automates the manual process of requesting and managing third-party resources and equipment.

ARCOS Supports MultiSpeak Tech Spec to Help Utility Munis, Coops

By Press Releases

COLUMBUS, Ohio – September 22, 2020 – ARCOS ® LLC, the market leader for utility and critical infrastructure resource-management solutions, has signed an agreement to support the MultiSpeak® technology specification, which municipal and co-operative utilities and participating vendors rely on to standardize the exchange of data between software systems that handle things like field work, outage management and distribution operations. ARCOS is now offering utility managers the MultiSpeak interface as part of its resource-management platform. The interface will help utility managers easily take data about a power outage from, for example, NISC’s Outage Management System (OMS), create a work order and assign that order to the closest available crew via ARCOS Mobile Workbench.

If, for instance, a hurricane damaged hundreds of meters, web services available through the MultiSpeak specification could carry XML-formatted data from the utility’s OMS and launch an automated callout for damage assessors via the ARCOS Damage Assessment solution. Once in the field, damage assessors using mobile devices and GIS could send data back to the utility via data packets that would in turn launch a callout for repair crews via the ARCOS Callout and Scheduling Suite.

“MultiSpeak links a utility’s enterprise software systems and eliminates duplication of data entry, and manual processes, to give managers one picture of what’s happening,” says Lisa Federico, vice president of Marketing & Product for ARCOS. “By supporting MultiSpeak, we’ve done the upfront work of building a connection between our platform and other software systems before our customers buy ARCOS’s solution.”

The benefit for utility customers is that ARCOS is delivering a pre-defined connection point between its resource-management software and the outage management systems, SCADA systems and work management systems commonly used by many cooperative and municipal utilities. By adopting the MultiSpeak specification, neither ARCOS nor a utility’s information technology team have to undertake a software services engagement or develop APIs.

“Without this integration, a utility would have to build its own interface between systems or just rely on manual, time-consuming tasks like phone calls, entering and rekeying data and watching minutes slip by that could be better used to restore service,” adds Federico.

MultiSpeak is an initiative of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, or NRECA.

Dakota Electric Association automates call outs, boosts safety and efficiency

By Press Releases

COLUMBUS, Ohio – August 20, 2020 – ARCOS® LLC has implemented its ARCOS Callout and Scheduling Suite for Farmington, Minn.-based Dakota Electric Association, so the utility’s dispatch operators can better prepare crews working on after-hours emergencies in the field instead of spending time to call out available crews. Before putting in place ARCOS, Dakota Electric Association operators would scour handwritten lists and make phone calls to find crews available to meet first responders at an emergency outside of regular business hours. Since last fall, operators, supervisors and other authorized managers have launched hundreds of automated callouts from their laptops, tablets and mobile devices. For each callout, the ARCOS suite mirrors the union and business rules Dakota Electric Association has in place.

“With an outage, there’s a lot of automated data coming; using ARCOS to call out crews means operators can now process things like SCADA data, sift through it and work with our OMS to pinpoint what’s out,” said John Thurmes, control center manager for Dakota Electric Association. “The operator has more time to locate an open circuit, zero in on a probable component and tell a crew where to patrol, which improves efficiency and safety.”

The utility has uploaded information into ARCOS for more than 100 workers, including information technology staff, who the company can identify by job description and availability for after-hours emergencies. According to Thurmes, the utility also used ARCOS to set up and test emergency notifications for field crews, IT staff and office workers should events related to the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 require outreach to employees. The ARCOS solution ties into Dakota Electric Associations’ HR system to maintain up-to-date employee contact information. And the utility integrated ARCOS with Kronos; so, when employees punch out of work, they automatically make themselves available for a callout, unless they indicate otherwise.

“Manual callouts were long and painful, and operators could spend up to two hours finding an available crew after hours,” added Thurmes. “Operators now push a button, launch a callout and, in the meantime, they can spend time analyzing things like a possible overloading of a transformer or gathering information about the outage from a member’s call; they can work with our SCADA system and, if needed, close a circuit remotely ahead of the crew’s report from the field.

“ARCOS is worth its weight in gold for tracking who’s reacted to a call out and the outcome of the job,” said Thurmes.

About Dakota Electric Association

A customer-owned, non-profit utility since 1937, Dakota Electric Association provides electricity to more than 109,000 members throughout Dakota County and portions of Goodhue, Rice and Scott counties. Dakota Electric, a Touchstone Energy cooperative, serves its member-owners with integrity, accountability, innovation and commitment to community.

ARCOS earns place on Inc. 5000 list for sixth time

By Press Releases

Columbus, Ohio – August 19, 2020 – For the sixth time, Inc. magazine has named ARCOS® LLC to the Inc. 5000. This year, ARCOS ranked No. 3,319 on the list. ARCOS delivers SaaS solutions that continually report on the location and status of equipment and crews via mobile technology for utilities and other critical infrastructure industries like airlines and manufacturers. According to Inc. staff, “In the history of the Inc. 5000, only two percent of companies have made the list six times.”

“We’re on this year’s Inc. 5000 list, in part, because we’ve worked as a team to continually improve the way managers of utilities, manufacturing facilities and airlines keep their operations running,” said ARCOS CEO Bruce Duff. “The software solutions we’ve developed automate many of the manual, behind-the-scenes processes that:  restore electric, water or gas service; staff manufacturing lines; and get planes and their crews back in the sky.”

“The 2020 Inc. 5000 achieved an incredible three-year average growth of over 500 percent, and a median rate of 165 percent,” wrote Inc. magazine in a press release. Inc. Editor-in-Chief Scott Omelianuk said, “From health and software to media and hospitality, the 2020 list proves that no matter the sector, incredible growth is based on the foundations of tenacity and opportunism.”

The 2020 Inc. 5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2016 and 2019. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2016. They had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2019. The minimum revenue required for 2019 is $2 million. The 2020 Inc. 5000 list, including company profiles and an interactive database, is at http://www.inc.com/inc5000.

ARCOS launches Resource Planner to speed up restoration, boost situational awareness

By Press Releases

COLUMBUS, Ohio – June 29, 2020 – ARCOS® LLC has launched ARCOS Resource Planner, so utility managers can have one software platform to quickly plan for and see the resources – organized by type and location – they need to restore service. Using Resource Planner, along with ARCOS’s complementary products Resource Assist and Resource Assist Lite, managers can automatically track resources at the moment they acquire them from other divisions, neighboring utilities and contractors.

In contrast, manually planning for resources (e.g., distribution workers or tree experts) and making phone calls to secure their help often yields a final number of resources arriving at a utility that is higher than requested. Often a request for, say, 800 resources ends up yielding as many as 880. The difference can be attributed to various reasons such as responders sending additional support staff and crews. Among the first priorities utility managers have when running an event is capturing basic numbers, including how many people are on their property and how many they need. Acquiring a true picture of the data saves a utility time and money when calculating how many hotel rooms, meals and gallons of fuel it needs; what a utility truly has on hand also impacts how it calculates an estimated time of restoration.

“The sooner a utility organizes and sees all resources the faster it can restore power,” says Jim Nowak, senior director of Operations, Product and Services at ARCOS. “A utility has to validate the classifications of workers being sent and process the right number of people and titles.”

Once a utility learns of a pending storm or other situation, managers go into Resource Planner and begin capturing the number of resources they need by resource type (e.g., distribution, transmission, damage, tree, etc.). Resource Planner then tallies requests and responses to show executives how the acquisition of resources is progressing. Operations managers can quickly see shortfalls and ask for workers from:  areas of their utility unaffected by the event; neighboring utilities or contractors. With a storm prediction model, the utility supervisor can take what’s been modeled for, say, the number of required distribution workers and plug that into Resource Planner to construct a profile of what’s available at that moment.

Through ARCOS Resource Assist, operations staff from different utilities and contractors can share people and equipment via a common language that draws from the standard resource types in the Edison Electric Institute’s National Response Event RAMP-UP tool.

“Making the naming conventions within Resource Planner, Resource Assist and the ARCOS platform the same as RAMP-UP eliminates confusion and standardizes requests,” adds Jason Singer, director for Resource Management Services for ARCOS. “The values a manager enters into Resource Planner are taken from damage assessment data, historical knowledge or outage prediction modeling.”

For ARCOS customers, there is no separate licensing fee for Resource Planner, and the solution links to ARCOS Resource Assist and ARCOS Crew Manager. Download the Resource Planner Data Sheet and learn more here.

ARCOS launches Managed Services to help utilities, airlines and other CI firms reach business goals, ROI faster

By Press Releases

COLUMBUS, Ohio – May 11, 2020 – ARCOS LLC, the market leader for utility and critical infrastructure resource-management solutions, has launched ARCOS Managed Services to help critical infrastructure customers speed up the deployment and adoption of their ARCOS solution, which spells a faster ROI and assures ongoing value for managers and workers.

“If you consider how technology gets implemented, before the system even goes live, a customer has to think through project management, how to roll out the technology, change management, training,” said Ted Schneider, chief technology officer for ARCOS. “Employers don’t always have the talent pool or skilled resources available to make sure they get value from the technology they’ve invested in.” 

Critical infrastructure companies face a variety of pressing challenges to manage union or other skilled workers. ARCOS Managed Services offers CI companies the technical experts and project managers who can successfully plan and launch ARCOS’s solution and stay involved to ensure the solution keeps paying off for users, even as new business challenges arise.

With Managed Services, ARCOS customers get dedicated experts (beyond the implementation team assigned to each ARCOS project) from various disciplines who help customers measure and monitor their investment in ARCOS products.

The ARCOS Managed Services portfolio contains:

  •         ARCOS PM Select, which includes a dedicated project manager to help customers simultaneously implement multiple ARCOS products;
  •         ARCOS PM Plus for customers who can’t spare an employee for project management, but need an on-site or remotely based project manager;
  •         ARCOS ACTivate™ to add ARCOS experts who go beyond a traditional rollout by managing and implementing the project, including developing a rollout schedule to ensure a single business unit or multiple divisions get the most benefit from the platform;
  •         ARCOS Business Ready, which includes workshops for change management, technology adoption and training and communication plans;
  •         ARCOS Premier Training, a tiered offering beyond the standard training program to help customers reinforce instruction or target a specific work group’s need; and
  •         ARCOS Advisory Services that assign a dedicated customer success manager to review and analyze customer progress, including an annual assessment of results and seat for one user on the ARCOS Customer Advisory Board.

“An employer could call its internal IT to analyze and adjust its system, but other business interests, or a crisis, can stretch resources thin,” added Schneider. “Managed Services brings a safety net – a dedicated team who can help at a moment’s notice.”