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To Manage Growth and Restore Power Faster, Texas Coop will Turn to ARCOS

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Columbus, Ohio – November 5, 2019 – ARCOS LLC, the market leader for utility and critical infrastructure resource-management solutions, will implement its ARCOS Callout and Scheduling Suite this winter to automate Bastrop, Texas-based Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative’s after-hours crew call outs. According to Bluebonnet managers, the cooperative’s customer base is growing at a rate of approximately 500 meters per month; six years ago, the utility set about 1,500 meters annually.

“Our western territory touches Austin, so we’re seeing more growth. We believe the ARCOS software will have time-saving advantages for us from the get-go,” says Paul Herzog, operations superintendent for Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative.

The ARCOS suite simplifies an electric cooperative’s ability to respond to and restore outages and report on the outcome. ARCOS will replace Bluebonnet’s manual call out process that includes control center operations staff juggling an online calendar system, phone calls and lists to find available workers to respond to after-hours outages. With Bluebonnet’s existing manual system, finding, assembling and dispatching a crew after business hours with the right skill set to repair a broken pole or transformer can take up to an hour.

“During our daily shifts, we rely on a radio system to dispatch crews. But after normal business hours, ARCOS will be our system of record for automatically calling out and scheduling approximately 150 journeymen, substation technicians and helpers,” notes Herzog. “In the future, we’re planning to call out contractors with ARCOS.”

As Bluebonnet’s level of operations goes from normal to storm planning and, ultimately, major events, the cooperative will use the ARCOS system to check lineworkers’ availability and call them. According to Herzog, with ARCOS in place, control center operators can launch a callout from a keyboard or mobile device and then return to analyzing messages and details about an outage to help prepare crews for what they can expect on site.

About Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative

Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative is one of the largest electric cooperatives in Texas and has been serving its members since 1939. Bluebonnet serves more than 102,000 meters, and owns and maintains 11,750 miles of power lines, located across more than 3,800 square miles within 14 Central Texas counties. Bluebonnet’s service area stretches from Travis County to Washington County, and from Milam County to Gonzales County. For more information about Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative, go to bluebonnet.coop and follow the co-op on Facebook and Twitter.

With Help from Utility Customers, ARCOS Innovates Resource Planning, Sharing

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Columbus, Ohio – October 8, 2019 – In the fourth quarter of 2019, ARCOS LLC, the market leader for utility and critical infrastructure resource-management solutions, will unveil new resource planning and sharing capabilities with the launch of Resource Planner™, Event Awareness™ and Resource Assist Lite™, a free version of ARCOS’s leading contractor management solution Resource Assist™. Resource Assist Lite will be an easy-to-use, web-based tool available to ARCOS utility customers and participating contractors to help the utility industry respond, repair and restore service faster during mutual assistance and other major events, such as hurricanes and wildfires. Available as a SaaS solution, these capabilities build on the ARCOS Resource Assist platform, which launched in 2018 for contractor management. The new capabilities expand a utility’s ability to plan for and focus on damage assessment, repair, restoration and the safety of all crews by minimizing the manual planning, entry and tracking of emergency resources.

When utilities prepare for events like hurricanes, the planning process includes identifying where managers can obtain resources (e.g., crews). Utility managers and contractors work closely by phone to refine the number and type of crews available and the distance over which crews will travel. Information on available crews, equipment and material comes to requesting utilities in many formats (e.g., spreadsheets, phone calls, emails). Due to the manual nature of managing this information, during major events, managers and staff can spend up to 100 hours to obtain crews, assess skills, enter data, make calls and send emails to vet who and what is truly available and disperse the information in a consistent way.

“Manual processes around resource planning and acquisition are a bottleneck for restoration,” says Bill Brackett, vice president of Product for ARCOS. “With our new Resource Planner solution, we’ll enable utilities to better model crews and logistical needs; we’ll also give utilities and contractors a streamlined way to account for and exchange equipment, material and crew rosters including non-employee resources, such as contract line crews. With our ‘Event Awareness’ capabilities, utilities can roll up and catalog the planning and resource management activity that occurs during an event, start to finish.”

“The complex process of getting the right mix of resources for quickly and safely restoring power is far-reaching,” adds Bruce Duff, chief executive officer of ARCOS. “For example, our data shows a utility with one million customer outages can require, on average, 3,200 resources. From what we’ve seen, companies can burn up to seven or eight person days managing and documenting resources by hand. With guidance from our customers, we continue to add capabilities to our resource planning tools to eliminate bottlenecks.”

With Resource Assist Lite, ARCOS offers utility customers and any participating contractor a way to easily upload and share crews, equipment and more, so they can plan for and secure the right number of FTEs for restoration. Utility customers using the ARCOS Crew Manager® software will also see rosters flow from the portal without retyping data. The portal supports
utility mutual assistance and complements the resource planning work of Regional Mutual Assistance Groups.

“The soon-to-launch capabilities, along with Resource Assist Lite, will help the industry overcome a long-standing challenge,” Duff says. “A lot of our success comes from partnering with customers and other utility professionals who voluntarily give us time and advice to help their peers. Providing these new resource planning and sharing capabilities is one way we can pay it forward.”

Lincoln Electric System Picks ARCOS to Speed Response, Restoration

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – September 10, 2019 – ARCOS® LLC will implement its Callout & Scheduling, Crew Manager and Resource Assist solutions to centralize and automate Nebraska-based Lincoln Electric System’s manual process for responding to power outages ranging from a single broken pole to major events. According to LES, the ARCOS platform can expedite contacting and dispatching crews to respond to outages with the goal of decreasing LES’s System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI).

“While we’ve always been successful getting crews to where they need to be to restore power, we have a very manual, cumbersome process for doing it,” says Fredrick J. Rumery, coordinator for T&D Construction at LES. “Especially when it’s all-hands on deck, our manual process is time-consuming when contacting, securing and reporting on the status of crews.”

Lincoln Electric System’s 500 employees service approximately 200 square miles within Nebraska’s Lancaster County, including the city of Lincoln. When an after-hours emergency occurs, LES dispatchers alert troubleshooters. If a job requires more work than a troubleshooter can handle alone, a dispatcher will call a duty supervisor who turns to a paper list of crew members updated and printed daily. The duty supervisor is typically a design engineer, construction manager or substation manager. These individuals are not always best suited for deciding what type and make-up of crew is best for any given job.

“Each week we provide our duty supervisors with a packet showing who’s available; if there’s an after-hours callout, they’ll mark who they contacted and turn it in the next morning for data entry by our operations staff,” adds Rumery. “There can be errors with a paper process.”

According to LES, the utility is launching the ARCOS platform in November beginning with the Callout & Scheduling solution to create a central repository for all crew data. Once launched, Rumery expects to see the average time to call out and secure a four-man crew drop from 45 minutes to a few minutes or less. LES will also replace its homegrown system for tracking the status of crews during normal business hours with Crew Manager. The Crew Manager system will give LES a real-time look at where its crews are working as well as how managers can deploy crews for changing circumstances such as forecasted storms or construction projects.

“During a storm event, the ARCOS platform will track when employees work and provide visual warnings when crews reach the end of their 16-hours-on, 8-hours-off schedule,” adds Rumery. “ARCOS starts the clock automatically when an employee is called in and accounts for their work. Currently, this is done by staff using spreadsheets.”

LES will also implement ARCOS Resource Assist to replace the computer spreadsheets the utility relies on to solicit and intake resources from contractors and neighboring utilities during major events. The data entry involved in capturing how many crews are available and inputting their make-up and equipment takes LES operations staff added hours better used elsewhere.

“Crew Manager and Resource Assist are going to speed up restoration and increase efficiency,” says Rumery. “The reporting capabilities will help us show our union partners exactly how many crew members and crews are called and working. Reporting everything accurately will be a huge benefit because it gets the right people for the right jobs equitably and efficiently.”

ARCOS Named to Inc. 5000 List for Fifth Time

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For the fifth time, Inc. magazine has named ARCOS® LLC to the Inc. 5000, a list of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States. This year, ARCOS ranked No. 3,295 on the list. ARCOS delivers SaaS solutions for:  managing resources; ensuring accurate, compliant shift scheduling; and automatically planning for all types of events.

“Appearing on this year’s Inc. 5000 list is due, in part, to our work expanding our resource management cloud-based platform for utility companies and helping other critical infrastructure industries like airlines and manufacturing automate the way they manage their resources,” said ARCOS CEO Bruce Duff. “There’s always a demand to make sure people are where they need to be to restore service, keep planes flying or run production lines.”

According to Inc. Media, “Companies that made the list, on average, have grown sixfold since 2015.”

Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, is at http://www.inc.com/inc5000.

“This is your fifth time on the Inc. 5000, which is a truly extraordinary accomplishment,” wrote Inc. Editor-In-Chief James Ledbetter in a letter to Duff. “Of the tens of thousands of companies that have applied to the Inc. 5000 over the years, only a fraction have made the list more than once. A mere four percent of companies have made the list five times.”

The 2019 Inc. 5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2015 to 2018. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2015. They had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2018. The minimum revenue required for 2015 is $100,000; the minimum for 2018 is $2 million.

Envoy Air to take off with ARCOS RosterApps airline scheduling

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – June 28, 2019 – ARCOS® LLC has been selected to implement its ARCOS RosterApps workforce management solution at Envoy Air Inc., replacing and automating the air carrier’s multiple computer and paper systems that schedule and track time and attendance for 13,000 ground employees. Envoy currently relies on a custom-built automated time and attendance system and manual processes requiring several thousand hours per year in staff time to maintain.

ARCOS RosterApps will give Envoy managers a centralized, automated way to track overtime and schedules, update policies and ensure compliance with changing regulations. Managers will see overtime requests in real-time, so they can compare requests against available budgets. Currently, managers receive overtime calculations one week after each pay period ends, making it cumbersome to manage potential cost overruns.

“We’re rolling out the system in four phases for our agents, fleet service clerks, aircraft mechanics and managers,” said Stephen Collins, manager for attendance and central administration at Envoy. “RosterApps will make our scheduling process transparent, which means each step of the scheduling process will be visible, in real-time, for employees and managers. It’s incredibly easy to use, too.”

According to Collins, the product was intuitive enough that Collins, his coworkers and a test group needed no training. In contrast, says Collins, the current scheduling system, comprised of manual and computerized steps, requires new employees to take hours of training to learn the scheduling and bidding process.

With the mobile component of ARCOS RosterApps, ground staff will be able to manage schedules, shift requests and bids from computers or their smartphones, at work or home. Notifications will come via email and text, and supervisors can approve and deny requests, assign overtime and see a complete shift history for reporting and analysis.

“It gives us consistency across approximately 150 locations, which is difficult to achieve now,” added Collins. “All of our shift bidding is now done on paper, which means each quarter up to 4,000 employees have to go to a hub administration office, select a shift they want to work and check back on approvals. With RosterApps, all that will happen automatically; the system will assign employees a time to log in, and they’ll bid on schedules from a mobile device.”

ARCOS RosterApps will integrate with existing systems to ensure Envoy continues to strictly adhere to the requirements of its work agreements with labor unions. “We believe RosterApps will make it much simpler and faster to ensure an equitable scheduling process for ground staff,” said Collins.

“To efficiently manage exceptions, you need a consistent view of everyone’s schedules,” adds John Brant, managing director of RosterApps Projects for ARCOS. “With RosterApps, Envoy will have scheduling flexibility, control and dynamic updates; it’s self-service, yet mirrors union and company policies.”

About Envoy Air Inc.

Envoy Air Inc. is the largest wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group, operating more than 185 aircraft on 1,000 daily flights to over 150 destinations. The company’s more than 17,000 employees provide regional flight service to American Airlines under the American Eagle brand and ground handling services for many American flights. The company was founded in 1998 as American Eagle Airlines, Inc. following the merger of several smaller regional carriers to create one of the largest regional airlines in the world.

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.

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.