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ARCOS automates callout for NorthWestern Energy

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COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 19, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — ARCOS® LLC has implemented its automated callout system for NorthWestern Energy, a provider of electricity and gas to 709,000 residential and business customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. The utility runs ARCOS around the clock to call out first responders across its electric and gas operations to respond to system and customer needs. NorthWestern Energy also uses the ARCOS solution to determine which additional resources the utility should activate for restoration work.

Until implementing ARCOS, the utility relied on a manual process for calling out resources after hours. NorthWestern says the manual tracking done to tally the percentage of callouts accepted by an employee was prone to errors. The errors made it difficult to determine which employees weren’t accepting a reasonable amount of call outs.

ARCOS now helps with reporting and tracking and provides supervisors with an opportunity to understand who accepts callouts on a regular basis. According to NorthWestern Energy’s managers, the process has truly become the responsibility of the employee, which makes individuals more accountable. NorthWestern Energy’s supervisors also say the ARCOS solution gives workers the flexibility to make themselves available or unavailable for callouts during time periods that align with what’s happening for them professionally or personally. For example, if workers are in training or sick, they can take their name off the callout list. When employees have a commitment outside of work, they can set a callout schedule (covering a period of up to 72 hours) that accommodates time off.

With ARCOS automating callouts, the utility’s after-hours dispatchers in Montana have noticed that the time it takes to reach the utility’s first-responders has gone from several minutes to seconds. Since callouts are no longer handled manually, the dispatchers now have more time for analyzing and responding to situations affecting the system and their customers. With NorthWestern’s workers’ shifts contained in ARCOS, managers can better plan daily shifts, easily report on who is and isn’t working and efficiently respond to interruptions in service.

ARCOS to help EnergyUnited prep for emergencies, track rest-time for line workers

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – February 5, 2019 – This spring, ARCOS® LLC will implement its resource management solution to automate Statesville, N.C.-based EnergyUnited’s process for managing callout opportunities, providing emergency training and tracking rest periods for its line workers.

“Tropical storms Florence and Michael and snowstorm Diego and winter storm Gia directly impacted our system within a three-month period,” said John McMurray, chief operating officer for EnergyUnited. “With our present method of manually calling employees, it detracts from our dispatchers’ attention on storm restoration. Dispatchers are busy notifying crews, while outages are placed on hold to monitor and provide equally distributed employee opportunities for outage restoration.”

EnergyUnited, the largest electric cooperative in North Carolina, plans to launch the ARCOS Callout and Scheduling Suite during the second quarter of 2019. The utility will use ARCOS as its platform for responding to, restoring and reporting on outages. According to McMurray, equitably spreading callout opportunities among all qualified field personnel provides additional emergency training situations that boost workers’ skills.

In the future, when major storms threaten EnergyUnited’s system, says McMurray, the utility will know that all its line workers are better prepared to collectively respond to co-op members. The ARCOS solution will also ensure that when EnergyUnited’s field workers are between shifts they take the required rest period to recuperate and prepare for more work. With its manually handled rest-time process, EnergyUnited relies on its managers and employees to write down or recall the number of hours they worked and rested.

“We’re relying on people’s memory; we want to automate and document the process for rest time,” adds McMurray. “Automating the process with ARCOS means we’ll more efficiently distribute emergency work and track responses and rest periods.”

With the ARCOS solution, managers, dispatchers, substation personnel, line workers and a variety of other classifications will be able to plan, launch and track the status of automated, after-hours calls from their desktops, tablets and smartphones. EnergyUnited delivers electricity to approximately 250,000 people via 195 miles of transmission, 8,100 miles of overhead distribution and 4,300 miles of underground distribution lines. 

For inquires and questions, contact us here.

ARCOS launches Incident Manager software to automate emergency response

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – January 14, 2019 – ARCOS® LLC – a provider of resource management software and services for critical infrastructure industries – has released its new Incident Manager software to help utilities and other industries automatically plan for and respond to emergencies ranging from storms to security breaches.

“A company might have its own methodology for emergency response or follow FEMA’s Incident Command Structure, or ICS. Either way, supervisors can use Incident Manager to automatically activate employees for their emergency roles and carry out drills,” said Bill Brackett, vice president for Services and Support at ARCOS. “Executives can use Incident Manager to capture a real-time view of their entire organization’s state of operational readiness, including any gaps in resources.”

ARCOS designed Incident Manager for organizations to use in preparing for emergencies, including mobilizing staff to respond to emergent events. But the tool also plays a valuable role in recording real-time actions and data reports that are part of emergency response. As both an emergency and blue-sky, or daily, operations platform for any event, employers can use Incident Manager to replace paper files, emails and phone calls with dashboards, computerized ICS templates and IVR and SMS.

“With Incident Manager, company leaders can outline an emergency scenario and develop an organizational structure with the resources and roles needed for response,” added Matt Mikula, senior director of product management for ARCOS. “Organizations can then create a cloud-based action plan alerting personnel, confirming employee response and documenting progress during the event, including winding down operations and releasing workers from emergency roles.”

As employers either ramp up or scale back their emergency response, Incident Manager will fire off notifications to any grouping of employees, while determining employee readiness and location. Through APIs, ARCOS can integrate Incident Manager with an organization’s document management system to archive action reports (e.g., ICS Form 215A “Incident Action Plan Safety Analysis”) and written directives during an event, tapping this storehouse afterward for best practices. Executives can also draw from Incident Manager’s archive to quickly develop reports for government agencies and other third parties. Incident Manager’s ability to create templates and store documents gives managers closed-loop reporting and feedback that no manual process can mirror. Incident Manager complements the ARCOS Resource Management platform, which organizations use as a platform for responding to, restoring and reporting on daily operations and interruptions in service.

To see a sneak peek of Incident Manager in action, watch this video.

ARCOS named 2018 BizTech Award Honoree for Role in Keeping Utilities, Airlines and Manufacturing Plants Running

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – December 5, 2018 – Columbus Business First has selected ARCOS LLC as a 2018 BizTech Award honoree in the Outstanding Product category for the software maker’s resource management platform, which utilities, airlines and manufacturers use to respond to daily and extraordinary disruptions to service and operations.

“During daily operations and unplanned events, which interrupt service, companies use our platform to locate, dispatch and track workers who can restore service,” said Bruce Duff, chief executive officer of ARCOS. “The platform ARCOS has today was born in 1997 when our founder Mitch McLeod automated the process of assembling utility crews for emergency work.”

Since then, the ARCOS platform has grown to become a critical resource management system for airlines and manufacturers. Prior to ARCOS, there was no single way to fully automate contacting and managing crews. The process was almost exclusively a manual one, linked with phone calls, spreadsheets and paper lists. These manual processes result in cancelled flights, an inability to keep production lines running at capacity, and employee grievances sometimes totalling $100,000 or more. With complex rules for how and when employees get overtime, employers relying on manual processes often struggle to get workers where they’re needed, which can delay flights or extend a power outage. Flawlessly mirroring these rules and scenarios is a hallmark of ARCOS’s crew management software, damage assessment solution and automated callout system.

The BizTech Awards highlight companies, like ARCOS, that are technology and innovation leaders across Central Ohio. The Outstanding Product Award recognizes firms that have achieved success launching unique, innovative solutions.

“Our technology finds resources wherever they are and sends them to wherever they’re needed, often within minutes” added Duff.  “Utility companies say our technology is a ‘game-changer’ because it helps them better gauge restoration costs; airlines can use our platform to reduce canceled and delayed flights; manufacturers can automate the scheduling of hundreds, or thousands, of workers covered by dozens of bargaining agreements across multiple shifts, which ensures every line in a plant is covered.”

The ARCOS platform consists of solutions such as:  ARCOS’s crew management software, which managers use to automatically assemble available crews, analyze crew response and report outcomes; the ARCOS Damage Assessment solution for shortening from days to hours the process of surveying damage caused by major events like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma; and, ARCOS Resource Assist™, which automates the manual process of managing contracted or mutual assistance workers and equipment.

About ARCOS LLC

ARCOS is a leader in delivering SaaS solutions for managing the resources of critical infrastructure sectors. The ARCOS solution goes beyond the callout of crews and automatically plans for all types of events, and reports on the up-to-the-minute location and status of equipment and crews via mobile technology for utilities, airlines, manufacturers and industrial facilities. The ARCOS resource management platform helps utilities, airlines, manufacturers and industrial facilities save time and money, while improving customer satisfaction and the efficiency and accuracy of operations. Learn more about ARCOS resource management software at  https://www.arcos-inc.com

ARCOS automates call for help in ‘Land of the Midnight Sun’

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ARCOS moose

ARCOS® LLC – a provider of resource management software and services for critical infrastructure industries – will soon implement its solution for automating the way Fairbanks, Alaska-based Golden Valley Electric Association responds to, restores and reports on outages.

Using the ARCOS Callout and Scheduling solutions, GVEA’s supervisors, dispatchers and line workers, among others, can plan, launch and track the status of automated, after-hours calls for emergency crews from their desktops, tablets and smartphones. GVEA will begin rolling out the ARCOS suite to line crew sections, then plant workers and, eventually, non-union workers needed for storm roles.

Gary Betsill, vice president of Operations for GVEA, joined the utility from Georgia Power where his former colleagues still use ARCOS to mobilize crews for after-hours emergencies and storm response.

“When I arrived in 2017,” said Betsill, “the in-house callout program we used was rudimentary.  It could do a straight callout, but if you introduced a second- or third-man scenario, it didn’t work.”

With ARCOS, GVEA will ensure it calls out lineworkers according to the bargaining agreements in place with the locals of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and International Union of Operating Engineers. The agreements with the unions confirm, in part, the equitable distribution of overtime. In fact, mirroring complex work agreements is a hallmark of the ARCOS solution.

“I sold ARCOS to our management by telling them the product’s claim to fame is absolutely emulating the contractual obligations for callout procedures, every time,” added Betsill.

But Alaska will surely offer some new and unique callout circumstances for ARCOS.

“We’ve had snow drifts so high a moose has walked into the power line and caused an outage,” recalled Betsill. “We’ve had eight-foot drifts where caribou have walked over the fence, right into a substation.”

Based on his past experience, Betsill also believes the ARCOS solution will reduce GVEA’s System Average Interruption Duration Index, or SAIDI, which will be a bonus for the cooperative’s members. The ARCOS platform will also serve a role in helping union workers participate for the first time in GVEA’s Incentive Employee Program. Among the IEP goals for line workers is achieving a 50-percent callout acceptance rate, which the ARCOS solution will track.

According to its website, GVEA operates and maintains 3,216 miles of transmission and distribution lines, 35 substations and 8 generating facilities covering a 5,973-square-mile service territory.

About ARCOS LLC

ARCOS is a leader in delivering SaaS solutions for managing the resources of critical infrastructure sectors. The ARCOS solution goes beyond the callout of crews and automatically plans for all types of events, and reports on the up-to-the-minute location and status of equipment and crews via mobile technology for utilities, airlines, manufacturers and industrial facilities. The ARCOS resource management platform helps utilities, airlines, manufacturers and industrial facilities save time and money, while improving customer satisfaction and the efficiency and accuracy of operations. Learn more about ARCOS resource management software at  https://www.arcos-inc.com.

ARCOS among Central Ohio’s 50 fastest-growing companies

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – October 18, 2018 – ARCOS LLC has again won 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 #38, at 31.8 percent growth. The Fast 50 Award recognizes companies for financial growth and performance over the past three years. ARCOS has made the list ten times in the last 12 years. Of the nearly 460 companies that have been on the list since it began in 1996, only two – Progressive Medical, Inc. (14) and Sequent (12) – have made more times.

“Being on this list year after year is a testament to our employees and their commitment, teamwork and responsibility,” said Bruce Duff, chief executive officer of ARCOS LLC. “They’ve built a bond with our customers that’s unheard of – 100 percent of our clients are referenceable; we have a 100-percent success rate implementing our technology.

“We’re committed to solving the toughest challenges for our customers working at utilities, airlines and other critical infrastructure companies,” added Duff. “We help them respond with crews, restore service and report response details during daily business disruptions or outright emergencies.”

Since appearing on the 2017 Fast 50 list, ARCOS acquired Des Moines, Iowa, RosterApps to expand its offering for the airline industry with ground crew-management and scheduling software.

Mitch McLeod, founder of ARCOS, laid the foundation for the company by identifying a crucial need in the utility industry that was critical to the firm’s early success. More than eighty-seven percent of U.S. households are served by utilities that use ARCOS technology to accurately track restoration time and speed up crew mobilization.

Today, North American electric, gas and water utilities along with power generation plants, major air carriers, manufacturers and industrial facilities rely on ARCOS to keep operations running. 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, which informs executives, employees, first responders, regulators, media and the public.

ARCOS provides SaaS solutions solve resource management challenges that critical infrastructure companies face. The ARCOS Resource Management platform helps customers plan, respond, restore and report actions taken during normal operations or unplanned service interruptions.  Using ARCOS, utilities, airlines, manufacturers and industrial facilities improve response time and improve efficiency of resources while improving customer satisfaction.

ARCOS unveils first of its kind mobile app for utility workers

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COLUMBUS, Ohio October 9, 2018 – ARCOS® LLC has released a mobile version of the ARCOS Crew Manager® software to give utility field supervisors and crews a real-time view into the location and availability of crews, vehicles, and equipment from their hand-held devices, so workers can improve collaboration and communication during construction, maintenance, and restoration work. This real-time view will save time and money for supervisors and crews who want to make decisions in the field about the availability of resources as circumstances unfold or change. Read More

ARCOS acquires RosterApps, expands airline industry solutions to include ground crew scheduling platform

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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

ARCOS resource management software to help Cleco Power accelerate cost recovery

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Columbus, Ohio – October 1, 2018 – ARCOS® LLC – a provider of resource management software and services for critical infrastructure sectors – is implementing its solutions for automating the way Cleco Power: responds to storms and major events within its service territory; restores service; and reports on associated costs. Cleco Power employs approximately 1,200 people who serve nearly 290,000 retail customers in Louisiana via 12,000 miles of distribution lines.

“ARCOS will support our efforts to assemble and direct our internal and external crews,” said James Lass, general manager for Distribution Engineering & Emergency Management at Cleco Power. “ARCOS will help us provide data on response team personnel, including who was involved in the event, what they accomplished and for how long. That lets us quickly validate data and prepare a cost-analysis report.” Read More

ARCOS Software and Processes Certified by SOC 2 Type II Audit

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Columbus, Ohio – August 15, 2018

ARCOS® LLC successfully completed a Service Organization Control (SOC) 2 Type II audit for the period October 1, 2017, through March 31, 2018, to ensure the software maker is protecting its utility industry customers. Plante Moran, PLLC, a public accounting and consulting firm, conducted the independent SOC examination and evaluated and tested ARCOS’s internal operational controls and processes.

The six-month audit led to a certification, which ARCOS received in June 2018. The certification expires in June 2019. ARCOS has made its SOC 2 Type II reports available for clients and prospective customers since passing its first audit in 2014.

As hackers increasingly threaten power grids in the U.S. and abroad, software providers that serve utility companies must be vigilant about protecting their customers. According to a May 2016 article from The Hill, “There are more reported cyber incidents in the energy industry than in healthcare, finance, transportation, water and communications combined …” Read More