Category Archives: Uncategorized

Field Service Automation: Why Should Your Company Consider Automating Field Operations?

Field Service Automation allows you to streamline your field operations to boost the overall efficiency and productivity of your mobile workforce. It also helps you centralize all your company’s data and makes that data accessible to all teams at all times.

Modern platforms include powerful features that encompass all functions involved in field operations. These functions include time and attendance monitoring, payroll, field data collection, employee safety monitoring and escalation, compliance monitoring for regulatory requirements, customized business rules and exception reporting, integration with back-office systems and more.

Every business has its own unique way of doing things, and the same is true with field operations. One of the most important traits of a good field service automation software is its ability to be customized to fit in with your unique business style.   

FSA is all about automating field operations, and here are some of the key high-level features:  

  • Work order and job scheduling
  • Integrated time and attendance monitoring
  • Field data collection, including
    • Custom forms
    • Signature
    • Photo capture
    • QR and Barcode scans
  • Location and Geofencing
  • Business logic and rule engine to monitor exception
  • Safety monitoring
  • Integration with back-office CRM, HRMS, and payroll systems

With features that cover the entire field service workflow, all the day-to-day tasks can simply get automated: the back-office operations team assigns jobs to the field technicians directly via the scheduling, planning and work order system. Once the job assignments are dispatched to employees, the FSA system starts monitoring attendance and reports any exceptions and delays to back office for contingencies.

Meanwhile, the field technicians collect data from the field via the mobile app and make the data available to other teams instantly.  Finally, all the data gets pushed to respective back-office systems such as CRM, accounting and payroll making the entire process seamless.

  1. Automation Setup : Create a work plan for your field techs and assign jobs. If you use a third-party scheduling software, just connect it with myGeoTracking. The system automatically records employees’ attendance and hours of service using Geofencing.  
  2. Daily Dispatch Reminders: Assigned jobs get sent to employees via text, app notification or IVR call. You can also send manual or automated reminders to your employees regarding shifts and tasks at the jobsite.
  3. Field Data Capture: Your field techs can collect on-field data with mobile forms, capture signatures and photographs, scan QR codes and more.
  4. Real-Time Alerts: Set up custom rules to get notified based on any event in the field involving people, place and time, such as arrival or departure from a jobsite, or unscheduled stoppage.
  5. Integration with Back Office: Integrate mGT FSA with your back-office ERP, CRM and FMS systems using web APIs.

According to TSIA,  around 52% of service companies still use manual methods for the bulk of their field service tasks.  So it’s likely that your competitors haven’t rested their pens and papers yet. Field Service Automation goes beyond savings and productivity gains, it can give the competitive edge to your business.

The benefits of cost reduction and gains in productivity from field service automation are tangible and measurable!

myGeoTracking  helps automate field operations for various industries  Here are a few examples:

  • Healthcare: myGeoTracking deploys a highly customized SaaS and mobile phone solution that complies with EVV. The solution includes IFTTT workflow triggering business actions, GPS location tagged messaging and notes, time tracking, and caregiver performance analytics.
  • Property Management: The myGeoTracking app combined with geofencing of property sites will automatically record each employee’s time and attendance at the facilities and job sites. Taking notes, scanning QR codes, and integrating with backend property management software are some more features offered by myGeoTracking.
  • Sales Reps.: Integrates with CRM to set up schedule on planned visits for the day.  Automates visit tracking and logging back into the CRM. The reps use the mobile apps to fill data relating to customer visit.
  • Construction: myGeoTracking’s field service automation allows construction companies to deliver seamless on-site services by deploying work order via app, and managing tools inventory via QR codes and forms. Track your employees’ hours of service and keep track of job-site attendance with geofence, and integrate your Payroll software with back-end.

About myGeoTracking

myGeoTracking helps SMBs and Enterprise businesses better manage mobile workforce and field operations with tools such as real-time location, GPS time and attendance, geofence visit logs, Lone worker safety, Mobile forms and more! All the tools can be highly customized to fit each use case. The platform features powerful rules engine and integrates with popular back-end CRM, HRMS, and Payroll systems to automate day-to-day operations.

myGeoTracking serves customers from a wide range of industry including field service management, trade services, emergency responders, sales reps, transportation & logistics, oil & gas, home health care providers. These customers do report improvement in productivity and savings in payroll.

If you have any questions or need additional information, let us know at sales@abaq.us or call us at +1 415-496-9436

New York EVV Requirements

What is Electronic Visit Verification?

The 21st Century Cures Act, passed in December of 2016, encouraged reform and supplementation in multiple aspects of health care practices. One component of this act is the need for all Medicaid personal and home health care providers to implement Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) by January 1, 2019. Failure to meet this deadline will result in a decrease in Federal medical assistance for those providers. The Federal EVV mandate requires affected providers to electronically verify:

      • The type of service performed
      • The member receiving the service
      • The date of service
      • The location of service delivery
      • The care provider responsible for the service
      • The time the service begins and ends

While the EVV mandate is a part of the federal 21st Century Cures Act, many states, like New York, have additional requirements that providers must adhere to in order to be EVV compliant.

New York Office of the Medicaid Inspector General describes EVV as a “EVV is an electronic means used to capture the services provided to a Medicaid beneficiary at the point of service”.

Who Is Affected?

              • Certain home health providers whose services exceed $15 million in Medicaid fee-for-service and in addition to Medicaid care reimbursements per year.
              • Participating providers must be:

1. Certified home health agency
2. Long term home health agency
or
3. Personal care provider

What Do EVV Requirements Mean for Your Business?

  • Your Verification Organization (VO) and EVV does not have to come from the same vendor.

1. The State of New York does not certify or enroll EVV providers. Affected health care agencies have the freedom to choose an EVV solution that fits their needs and complies with state standards.

  • A Verification Organization (VO) must ensure that the EVV system of  New York agencies:

Additional Resources

For more information on New York EVV requirements,

Visit:  http://www.ny.gov/agencies/office-medicaid-inspector-general

Call: Office of the Medicaid Inspector General

(518) 402-1470.

Abaqus, Inc. is a provider of a powerful platform, myGeoTracking, an EVV solution for in-home care providers.  myGeoTracking leverages the advancements in the modern technology in the smartphones/sensors, apps, location-based services, and cellular communication to provide you with a scalable and robust in-home care workforce solution to help meet EVV requirements for Medicaid compliance.

If you have any questions or need additional information about the Electronic Visit Verification we offer, please reach us at sales@abaq.us or call us at +1 415-496-9436

Texas EVV Requirements: What do They Mean for Healthcare Providers

What is Electronic Visit Verification?

The 21st Century Cures Act, passed in December of 2016, encouraged reform and supplementation in multiple aspects of health-care practices. One component of this act is the need for all Medicaid personal and home health-care providers to implement Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) by January 1, 2019. Failure to meet this deadline will result in a decrease in federal medical assistance for those providers. The federal EVV mandate requires affected providers to electronically verify:

  • The type of service performed
  • The member receiving the service
  • The date of service
  • The location of service delivery
  • The care provider responsible for the service
  • The time the service begins and ends

While the EVV mandate is a part of the federal 21st Century Cures Act, many states, like Texas, have added additional requirements that providers must adhere to in order to be EVV compliant.

Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) describes EVV as a “telephone and computer-based system that electronically verifies service visits occur and documents the precise time service begins and ends”. The state of Texas required its Medicaid-enrolled Home Health Agencies to implement the State EVV mandate by June 1, 2015, more than one year prior to the passing of the 21st Century Cures Act, and four years ahead of the federal deadline.

Who Is Affected?

  • Certain home and community-based services provided by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC)
  • Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS)
  • Certain Managed Care Organizations (MCOs).

If you operate within the following programs: STAR + PLUS Dual Eligible Integrated Care Demonstration, STAR Health, STAR Kids, Acute-care Fee for Service, Community Living Assistance and Support Services, Medically Dependent Children Program, Community Attendant Services, Family Care, or Primary Home Care, reach out to Texas Human Health Services to see if you’re affected by the EVV mandate.

What Do EVV Requirements Mean for Your Business?

  • Health-care providers must use two things to record a service.

After providing services, a health-care worker must use an EVV system approved by HHSC and use the clients landline or an approved HHSC small alternative device.

  • Providers have a strict deadline to input service data.

Providers must enter comprehensive entry of data into the EVV system within 60 days of when the service was performed.

  • Providers will be assessed on their compliance with the EVV mandate.

HHSC will require an EVV Initiative Provider Compliance Plan score of at least 90% for each review period. This compliance depends on following protocol when changing EVV records already in the system, using provided reason codes.

  • Providers are free to choose their EVV provider.

HHBC allows providers to choose their EVV provider as long as they comply with their technical requirements.

Additional Resources-

For more information on Texas EVV requirements,Visit:

https://hhs.texas.gov/doing-business-hhs/provider-portals/resources/electronic-visit-verification

Email: electronic_visit_verification@hhsc.state.tx.us

Call: 1-800-252-8263

Abaqus, Inc. is a provider of a powerful platform, myGeoTracking, an EVV solution for in-home care providers.  myGeoTracking leverages the advancements in the modern technology in the smartphones/sensors, apps, location-based services, and cellular communication to provide you with a scalable and robust in-home care workforce solution to help meet EVV requirements for Medicaid compliance.

If you have any questions or need additional information about the Electronic Visit Verification we offer, please reach us at sales@abaq.us or call us at +1 415-496-9436

Four Reasons Why Your Business Should Stop Relying on Paper Forms

Increasing access to advancing mobile technologies has given business owners in nearly every industry unprecedented ability to automate tasks that were once difficult and time consuming. As business owners embrace these simpler replacements, one aspect of business affairs that continues to be practiced in an archaic fashion is the use of paper forms. The use of paper forms has persisted despite their decreasing ability to fulfill their purpose. A number of cloud-based mobile apps now offer the ability for business to create their own customizable forms and send, receive, and edit them in real time. In addition, these forms can be location-stamped and be accompanied by real-time data, messages, and signatures.  Digital forms via mobile apps, along with the various other capabilities they offer, come at a price significantly lower than what most business spend annually on paper alone. If you need more convincing, here are a few reasons why your business should stop using paper forms.

Cutting Paper Reaps Significant Savings

Even with mass efforts to reduce paper waste, in 2015, the average office worker still used about 10,000 sheets of paper annually, 45% of which end up in the trash by the end of the day. Based on these approximations, businesses are spending $80 dollars per worker annually on paper alone. Without even factoring in the loss of productivity that paper forms facilitate, mobile apps already prove to be more economical by offering a number of intelligent features for a comparable annual price per employee.

Productivity Increases When Mobile Records are Implemented

On average, an employee spends 30-40% of their time looking for information found in old emails or filing cabinets.  Every 12 filing cabinets requires an additional employee, thus a large sum of payroll costs goes toward maintaining files. Additionally, filing this soon-to-be-misplaced information costs an average employer approximately $20 per month of payroll costs per employee. The ability for mobile apps to store these files allows employees to spend less time doing administrative tasks and more time completing their own work.

Mobile Apps Allow for Easier Access to Accurate Files

More than 70% of today’s businesses would fail within three weeks if there was a catastrophic event that demolished their paper records.  This is an alarming statistic for any business that relies on paper records. The hassle of paper files can be replaced and improved with the use of cloud-based storage for your business’s forms, files, and data. The real-time ability to share information and files allows for greater accuracy in records by eliminating accounting for an event long after its passing. Forms can be accessed through the simple interfaces of these mobile apps.

Real-Time Information Allows for Readiness in Diverse Situations

The real-time ability to share files and information further ensure greater accuracy in records by foregoing delayed post-action reports. In unexpected field scenarios in which different protocols need to be followed, the capacity for real-time communication proves helpful in providing necessary resources for any situations.

Aside from being environmentally conscious in your business practices, shifting away from paper forms is the economical decision that will take your business further by cutting costs and boosting your productivity.

myGeoTracking is a cloud-hosted, carrier-grade location and messaging platform that helps SMB and Enterprise businesses better manage their mobile employees by improving productivity and accountability, while reducing payroll and operations costs with solutions such as GPS tracking & time clock, Lone worker safety, Automation of field activity monitoring, Mobile forms & data collection including signature, notes, pictures, barcode/QR code, etc. The myGeoTracking platform enables these solutions across a wide range of industries such as field service management, trade services, emergency responders, sales reps, transportation & logistics and home health care providers.

If you have any questions or need additional information, let us know at sales@abaq.us or call us at +1 415-496-9436

Louisiana EVV Requirements: What do they Mean for Healthcare Providers?

Louisiana EVV Requirements

What is Electronic Visit Verification?

The 21st Century Cures Act, passed in December of 2016, encouraged reform and supplementation in multiple aspects of health care practices. One component of this act is the need for all Medicaid personal and home health care providers to implement Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) by January 1, 2019. Failure to meet this deadline will result in a decrease in Federal medical assistance for those providers. The Federal EVV mandate requires affected providers to electronically verify:

  • The type of service performed
  • The member receiving the service
  • The date of service
  • The location of service delivery
  • The care provider responsible for the service
  • The time the service begins and ends

While the EVV mandate is a part of the federal 21st Century Cures Act, many states, like Louisiana, have added additional requirements for providers to follow in order to be EVV compliant.

The Louisiana Department of Health describes EVV as “a computer-based system that electronically verifies service visit occurrences and documents the precise time services begin and end via smart devices”. Louisiana has already successfully used EVV for center-based, vocational, and transportation services since 2016. In line with the 21st Century Cures Act, the state expects to implement EVV for Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services by multiple deadlines, ranging from November, 13, 2017 through February 19, 2018, depending on regions. The encouraged transition date is fast approaching, making it important for all relevant health care providers to be up-to-date on how to navigate EVV requirements in the state.

Who Is Affected?

In Louisiana, Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HSBC) are

  • Day Habilitation Services
  • Prevocational Services
  • Center-Based Respite services
  • All OCDD Supported Employment Services

What Do EVV Requirements Mean for Your Business?

  • Your EVV implementation deadline depends on your region within the state.

Region EVV Go-Live Date
3 11/13/2017
5 11/20/2017
6 12/04/2017
9 12/11/2017
8 12/18/2017
1 and 10 01/08/2018
2 01/22/2018
4 02/12/2018
7 02/19/2018
  • Providers will pay minimal personal costs for the initial implementation of an EVV system.

The state will cover all costs associated with development, implementation, and training of an EVV system. In addition, ongoing transaction costs will also be provided by the State.

  • Your business will be responsible for providing smart devices.

Smart devices will not be provided by the State. The Louisiana Department of Health believes “utilizing smart devices with internet access is at least cost neutral in many cases and will represent a cost savings to providers”. Some EVV solutions can be accessed through the personal phones of employees, thus eliminating the additional purchase of devices.

  • Providers are free to choose their EVV provider.

The Louisiana Department of Health allows providers to choose their EVV provider as long as they comply with their technical requirements. However, the SRI system is the EVV solution designated by the Louisiana Department of Health. If providers choose to use an alternate EVV vendor, the EVV system must pass a LaSRS data integration process prior to the implementation deadline.

Additional Resources

For more information on Louisiana EVV requirements,

Visit: http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/subhome/40

Email: EVVHELP@la.gov

Call: 225-342-9500

Abaqus, Inc. is a provider of a powerful platform, myGeoTracking, an EVV solution for in-home care providers. myGeoTracking leverages the advancements in the modern technology in the smartphones/sensors, apps, location-based services, and cellular communication to provide you with a scalable and robust in-home care workforce solution to help meet EVV requirements for Medicaid compliance.

If you have any questions or need additional information about the Electronic Visit Verification we offer, please reach us at sales@abaq.us or call us at +1 415-496-9436

Ohio EVV Requirements: What Do They Mean for Healthcare Providers?

What is Electronic Visit Verification?

The 21st Century Cures Act, passed in December of 2016, encouraged reform and supplementation in multiple aspects of healthcare practices. One component of this act is the need for all Medicaid personal and home health care providers to implement Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) by 2019. The Federal EVV mandate requires affected providers to electronically verify:

  • The type of service performed
  • The member receiving the service
  • The date of service
  • The location of service delivery
  • The care provider responsible for the service
  • The time the service begins and ends

While the EVV mandate is a part of the federal 21st Century Cures Act, many states, like Ohio, have added additional requirements for providers to follow in order to be EVV compliant.

The Ohio Department of Medicaid describes EVV as “an electronic system that verifies when provider visits occur and documents the precise time services begin and end”. Ohio has encouraged that all affected agencies have completed the certification process by January 8, 2018—a year before the national deadline. As the deadline looms closer in Ohio, it’s important for all relevant states and private health care businesses to be up-to-date on how to navigate EVV requirements in their state.

Who is Affected?
In Ohio, services included are:

  • State Plan Home Health Aide
  • State Plan Home Health Nursing
  • Private Duty Nursing (PDN)
  • Ohio Home Care Waiver Nursing
  • Ohio Home Care Waiver Personal Care Aide
  • Home Care Attendant
  • RN Assessment
  • Community Service Providers
  • Home-Healthcare providers

What do EVV Requirements Mean for Your Business?

  • Certification is required per provider ID

An agency in charge for several other agencies needs to begin the certification process for each individual agency, each creating their own provider ID.

  • The recommended date for EVV certification is 60 days before the deadline

Providers are encouraged to complete the certification process 60 days before January 8, 2018 deadline. Thus, providers should complete the process by November 9, 2017 in order to allow adequate time to train their staff and adjust to the system.

  • Providers are free to choose their EVV provider

The Ohio Department of Medicaid allows providers to choose their own EVV providers. However, Sandata is the state vendor. If providers choose to use an alternate EVV vendor, the agencies must email ConnectMyEVV@etraconline.net in order to begin the certification process.

  • Adopting EVV may improve your data accuracy

EVV System offers a reliable and accurate means for care providers and home care workers to capture care delivery data in real time while they are providing the services.

Additional Resources
For more information on Ohio EVV requirements,

Visit: http://www.medicaid.ohio.gov/INITIATIVES/ElectronicVisitVerification.aspx

Email: EVV@medicaid.ohio.gov

Call: 1-800-324-8680

Abaqus, Inc. is a provider of a powerful platform, myGeoTracking, for EVV solution for in-home care providers. myGeoTracking leverages the advancements in the modern technology in the smartphones/sensors, apps, location-based services, and cellular communication to provide you with a scalable and a robust in-home care workforce solution to help meet EVV requirements for Medicaid compliance.

If you have any questions or need additional information about the Electronic Visit Verification we offer, please reach us at sales@abaq.us or call us at +1 415-496-9436

Use Mobile Forms to Collect Customized Field Data

Mobile applications now have the ability to efficiently improve your business’ field service operations by simplifying the collection of data in the field. Modern Software solutions are able to completely replace paper-based forms with digital forms accessible via smartphone app in any working condition.

One of the greatest advantages that mobile solutions offer is the ability to customize field data collection based on just-in-time field operations needs. The flexibility offered by creating, editing, and sharing forms in real-time establishes mobile forms as an advantageous supplement in diverse field-tech industries.

Health Care

Forms that meet federal and state healthcare regulations can be created to ensure effective practices in client interaction. The requirement for all health care providers to use Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) by 2019 has inspired mobile applications to best assist in this growing need. Healthcare Effectiveness Data and. Information Set (HEDIS) Gaps analysis requires providers to visit members and gather non-clinical data.  Then, gathered data is is used to create a care plan. Valid place & time stamp on such forms creates audit logs and verification of visits- thus facilitating billing and avoiding fraud.

Construction

The use of mobile forms offers a simple, portable solution to record employee time, log use of materials, collect proof-of-service etc at geofenced work sites.  Recorded data is organized easily using forms and stored in the cloud in near real-time thus removing any risk of lost data in fast-paced work days and shifts.  Signatures and marks of approval can be edited in real-time instead of being transported with risk of human error.

Maintenance

Facility managers and maintenance crew can benefit from form and data sharing in real-time in handling unforeseen complications. Facility managers and maintenance crew would have the ability to collect equipment readings in the field and trigger immediate alerts if maintenance and repairs are required.

Shifting to a mobile forms solution can simplify a number of your daily tasks and business processes. Saving time and money is only the pinnacle of the advantages mobile capabilities can offer.

myGeoTracking is a cloud-hosted, carrier grade location and messaging platform that helps SMB and Enterprise businesses better manage their mobile employees by improving productivity and accountability, while reducing payroll and operations costs with solutions such as GPS tracking & time clock, Lone worker safety, Automation of field activity monitoring, Mobile forms & data collection including signature, notes, pictures, barcode/QR code, etc. The myGeoTracking platform enables these solutions across a wide range of industries such as field service management, trade services, emergency responders, sales reps, transportation & logistics and home health care providers.

If you have any questions or need additional information, let us know at sales@abaq.usor call us at +1 415-496-9436

Using Your Cellphone to Combat Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers

In the peak of the hot summer season, The Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA) is reminding affected businesses and their employees of their continuing campaign to combat heat illness for outdoor workers. In educating employers on the guidelines in place, employees experience a lesser chance of suffering from harsh outdoor work environments.

The following tips exemplify how both keeping your employees safe and complying with OSHA standards can be facilitated using only powerful mobile workforce management apps on your mobile devices.

Inform Workers of the Heat Index

Constant updates from managers regarding the change in temperature of their work site allow outdoor workers to take the preventative measures that are best suited for the specific heat index. These temperature updates can be shared manually when managers check the temperature at frequent intervals and use in app messaging systems to inform affected workers. Another option that is simpler and less time-consuming than manual weather updates is through automated alerts. Alerts can be automated to send out a warning to workers when the temperature reaches a threshold– like in the State of California, where state labor laws require employees to be notified when the temperature goes above 95 degrees.

Provide Water and Reminders

OSHA assigns providing clean, palatable water as an employer responsibility. Businesses should provide their outdoor employees with clear access to water at their designated sites. Aside from providing water, managers are responsible for reminding their workers to drink water throughout their shift. A general guideline for the high-risk level heat index (103 to 115 degrees) is to drink four cups of water per hour. It would quickly become difficult and excessive if managers were to hourly remind each employee to stay hydrated. Instead, using automated alerts through their mobile app, outdoor workers can be notified of a change in temperature and act accordingly, in this case, drink more water, based on the information on heat-related safety they’ve been given.

Provide Access to Timely Medical Service

In the case of a heat illness emergency,  medical care should be conveniently accessible for outdoor workers. Through the use of in-app messaging and real time location services, managers can be immediately informed of an incident and seek immediate medical attention. Having the most accurate location of field workers allows first responders to ensure a timely response to a heat-related injury.

Provide Rest Schedules that Account for Changes in Temperature

Periods of rest are highly encouraged by OSHA guidelines, and in states like California, they are mandatory. When the temperature reaches 95 degrees, the employer must ensure that the employee takes at least ten minutes of total break to cool-down every two hours. Having a preconceived rest schedule is important for any business, but having a system that allows you to automatically contact your field workers when a change in temperature requires a change in break schedule offers greater flexibility and caution. Making changes to work schedules to avoid high-risk heat is made easier with the use of app based alerts that can automatically notify mandatory breaks based on weather changes.

Establish Heat Protocol and Encourage Workers to Take Personal Precautions

Businesses should educate their employees on heat illness protocols related to their specific work. Based on the temperature and the specific protocol, employees can responsibly prevent heat illness among themselves and their peers. Automated temperature updates sent to employee phones encourages employees to act on protocols they are familiar with instead of their managers being responsible for constantly reminding them what to do.

Supervise Workers through Constant Communication

OSHA suggests that supervisors check in with heat-exposed employees several times an hour. The ability to message and send pictures, forms, and more in-app allows for constant communication between employees and their managers. Using one app platforms relieves supervisors of the headache traditional means of using multiple devices, numbers, and methods to reach employees often causes. Simple, effective communication that can be enabled at any time is key to being vigilant despite volatile changes in the heat index.

myGeoTracking is a cloud-hosted, carrier grade location and messaging platform that helps SMB and Enterprise businesses better manage their mobile employees by improving productivity and accountability, while reducing payroll and operations costs with solutions such as GPS tracking & time clock, Lone worker safety, Automation of field activity monitoring, Mobile forms & data collection including signature, notes, pictures, barcode/QR code etc. The myGeoTracking platform enables these solutions across a wide range of industries such as field service management, trade services, emergency responders, sales reps, transportation & logistics and home health care providers.

If you have any questions or need additional information, let us know at sales@abaq.us or call us at +1 415-496-9436

Ensure Accountability While Respecting Employee Privacy

Over the last decade, evolving methods of GPS technology and location based services (LBS) have increasingly allowed businesses and employers to use Global Positioning System (GPS) technologies to track their field employees. When GPS was first incorporated into business operations, a physical hardware (a wired GPS device) was primarily limited to tracking assets: machinery, vehicles, and loads etc.,

The advances in mobile and cloud technologies and the increasing popularity of smartphones and smart devices with built-in GPS chips allows businesses to easily expand location services to its workforce (the employees) and gain valuable insights on field operations.

The recent normality of GPS location services in employee management has encouraged business owners to better understand the relationship between employee privacy rights and employer rights to accountability and productivity. Phones used in location tracking can either be the employee’s personal phone or provided by the employer. Both scenarios cause many to ask the question: How do businesses track their employees without crossing ethical or legal boundaries?

Using cloud-based location services for employee management offers comprehensive benefits for businesses in the field service industry.

Significant savings

The increased productivity from both employers and employees caused by automating operations and logistics results in major savings for a company of any size. Features like mileage tracking and real-time dispatch response further cut costs.

Compliance

Support for Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) requirements, overtime calculation, and rest regulations.  A mobile workforce software offers the best solution to ensure businesses follow legal guidelines for complex labor laws.

 Productivity

The knowledge of real-time location,  job status, and availability helps streamline operations and increases the overall productivity.  Some of the best solutions, like the myGeoTracking.com can help automate any field operations workflow by letting businesses define their operations logic and workflow based on an IFTTT (if this then that) sequence.

So, on one hand, employees have a right to their privacy. On the other hand, businesses also have a responsibility to maximize productivity and efficiency for all stake holders i.e. customers, employees, vendors etc.  During work hours it is critical for businesses to improve the performance of employees who are in the field performing vital tasks such as field customer service, freight deliveries, property management and emergency response etc.

If location services are used responsibly, businesses can efficiently enjoy the benefits of GPS technologies. Employers can practice authority without breaching employee privacy by focusing on these tips:

Acknowledge state laws regarding employee tracking.

While GPS tracking of employees is still relatively new and thus not commonly addressed in State and Federal laws, some states enforce general employee privacy guidelines to abide by.

Select a good field service management tool that offers strong privacy controls

Modern tools offer strong privacy features that empower business operations with real-time status information about the employees during work hours without compromising privacy.

 Be transparent 

Having an open communication with employees on this topic and providing them the flexibility to manage their privacy is a good place to start.  Rigid guidelines should be set that abide by HR policy.

myGeoTracking is a cloud-hosted, carrier grade location and messaging platform that helps SMB and Enterprise businesses better manage their mobile employees by improving productivity and accountability, while reducing payroll and operations costs with solutions such as GPS tracking & time clock, Lone worker safety, Automation of field activity monitoring, Mobile forms & data collection including signature, notes, pictures, barcode/QR code etc. The myGeoTracking platform enables these solutions across a wide range of industries such as field service management, trade services, emergency responders, sales reps, transportation & logistics, and home health care providers.

If you have any questions or need additional information, let us know at sales@abaq.us or call us at +1 415-496-9436

The Best Way to Capture Customer Signatures in the Field

There are really only two ways to capture signatures in the field: on paper or digitally.  Technology has made both of these methods quite simple but is one way better than the other?

Capturing Customer Signatures on Paper

A pen and paper is a tried and true way to receive a customer’s signature.  When the job has been completed and the customer is signing off on it, they find a certain satisfaction in holding a physical pen while doing so.  And not everybody is fond of using technology – keep in mind that some people downright distrust it.

The problem is, in any situation where you need a physical copy of something and you’ve got workers in the field, you run the risk of losing that information.  While it may not happen often, this situation can turn into a huge headache for everybody involved.  Without the customer’s signature, you aren’t able to proceed in billing them.  Your workers have to return to the site, which is a waste of time and money.

Capturing Customer Signatures Electronically

People are, at this point in time, much more comfortable with the use of technology in their daily lives.  In many ways, the physical signature is becoming a thing of the past except for some specific legal documents.  Digital signatures make things easier in a lot of ways.   The employee can collect customer signature using smart phones, by installing a signature capture app.  These signatures can be collected and stored in cloud-based mobile workforce managements solution.  The modern mobile workforce management platforms also provides other features such as real-time mobile workforce tracking for accountability & compliance, mobile time clock with gps and mobile time card to help employees clock in clock out and record their time and attendance.   These features can save you thousands of dollars in payroll and also save you from the headache during the payroll week.

 

Also, when the signature your field workers are collecting is being stored in a cloud-based system, there’s no need to worry about losing the information, even if something goes horribly wrong with your device.

One minor benefit of capturing customers’ signatures electronically is that they will view your company as modern and up-to-date.   More and more, digital signature capture is becoming the norm.  And that means that companies who don’t offer the ability to capture signatures electronically may find that customers are put off by their “old-fashioned” methods.

The Verdict

The excellent news is that both of these methods work equally well with myGeoTracking.  Naturally, we recommend that you work with electronic signatures but that’s only because it’s the slightly easier of the two methods.   And yes, if you pick a modern mobile workforce management solution, you’ll have wide range of features (clock in clock out,  photo capture, real-time location etc) that will optimize business operations and boot productivity & savings.

How does capturing signatures on paper work, then?  Files can be attached to each job, including documents containing job information and photos (for example, many myGeoTracking users will take before and after photos of the job they’re working on both to establish what work needs to be done and to prove that the work has been completed according to their proposal/ invoice).  Once your worker in the field has received the customer’s signature, the next step is to take a photo of the signed document.  Once the photo is taken, they need simply to attach it to the job.

On the other hand, if the customer is not averse to technology, the electronic signature can easily be captured on the job screen and once received, will be available on the cloud.

For more information about myGeoTracking and how we can simplify and streamline your company’s interaction with your customers, visit mygeotracking.com or call 1 415-49-MYGEO (69436).

The 3 Ways Mobile Time Clock Saves Your Company Time

You know better than anybody else how important it is to keep track of your valuable time.  That way, you can spend more time on high value tasks and minimize your time spent on low value tasks.  Implementing a feature such as mobile time clock with GPS will allow you to save time in three important ways so you can focus on the more important tasks at hand. 

Gathering Time Cards

The downside of having multiple locations is having to gather up multiple time cards.  If you’re only handling one location, this might seem trivial.  But keep in mind that every minute you spend doing low value tasks is a minute that could have been used for doing something much more high value. 

You have to physically gather up these time cards and put them in order.  You have to make sure they’re all oriented the same way.  Unless you’re sending the information to your payroll provider on the spot (digitally or via phone using a clock in clock out app), you need to store and transport these cards.  Do you keep them in a folder or tie them together with a rubber band?  While it’s unlikely you’ll misplace this information, there is still the possibility of it happening.  Is the time card area organized and easy for employees to keep their cards in one place?

With the mobile time clock feature, all of the potential issues mentioned above are completely eliminated.  That includes the need to travel to multiple locations to retrieve cards, the need to worry about cards misplaced by employees or yourself and the need to sort out all of the information once you’ve retrieved it.    The employees simply record their time using the clock in clock out app from the phone and the system does all the smart work, it records the location and the time they clock in clock out and sends you the time and hours for payroll.  

Preparing Time Card Information for Payroll Company

Once you’ve taken the time to gather and sort out all of the time cards, it’s time to send the information over to your payroll services provider.  If you send your information via a dial-in phone system or a system that involves manually entering every data point, you might be investing too much time in something that could otherwise be streamlined for your convenience. 

With the mobile time clock feature, that digitally collects all time & attendance information, and the payroll reports automatically get processed in the back-end cloud based  mobile workforce management system.   And any modern mobile workforce management platforms link mygeotracking.com also provides other features such as real-time mobile workforce tracking for accountability & compliance, mobile time clock with gps and mobile time card to help employees clock in clock out and record their time and attendance.   These features can saves thousands of dollars in payroll and all the headache during the payroll week.

 Needless to say, all of the payroll information will be available when you sign in to access it.  And it’s easy to export so you can send it to your payroll provider. 

Tracking Long Term Attendance

Keeping long term records of time card information can be a huge task, even with the right clock in clock out  app.  If you’re manually entering the information in a spreadsheet, you need to compile every single set of timesheets you’ve ever done.  Think about how many sets of time cards you go through in a year.  If payday is once a week, that’s a total of fifty-two sets of entries.  Which means, if you have to move the information every time you enter all of it, you need to do so fifty-two times.  And, if it takes ten minutes to do, you’ve spent over eight and a half hours in the course of one year, which is longer than the average work day.

Or, you can utilize a mobile time clock app (installed on the employees smartphones) and allow it to keep track of all information automatically.  You’ll have easy access to the information in near real time.  Most importantly of all, you’ve got yourself an extra eight and a half hours to dedicate to high value tasks. 

myGeoTracking.com  makes all of this possible and this is only one aspect of how our software can streamline your workflow to optimize the use of your valuable time.

The 3 Ways Mobile Time Clock Saves Your Company Time

2016 – A Year of Change and Opportunities for USPS Carriers

myGeoTracking had the opportunity to speak at the recent Star Route Association for over the road USPS freight contractors in Memphis, TN. It was a very valuable chance to hear directly from members about their fleet management and contract management concerns, as well as hear from other industry experts on a wide range of issues, from new regulations to how weather predictions and oil prices will affect the transportation industry.

Amazon and Location Compliance for USPS Contracts

Now that the USPS has agreed to carry Amazon.com parcels 7 days a week there has been a tremendous package volume growth, putting additional demands on shipping facilities and Carriers.  These demands haven’t necessarily been reflected (yet) into more location compliance reporting requirements (aka logistics condition reporting), but the USPS has expressed interest in doing so. And while the USPS doesn’t require all Contracts to provide GPS location information, there is a growing awareness that if your company is tapped for a USPS contract audit, having a GPS location history trail can help you during the audit process.

Winter is Coming – Snow, Rain and Slush ahead

During the industry panel on fuel consumption and costs (happily predicted to stay flat through much of 2016 due to OPEC continuing high production to try and harm US oil fracking producers), the coming winter weather was discussed. A strong El Nino year and slightly higher temperatures in parts of the US will likely result in wetter-than-average conditions in the Southern Tier of the United States, from central and southern California, across Texas, to Florida, and up the East Coast to southern New England. Above-average precipitation is also favored in southeastern Alaska.  Drier-than-average conditions most likely for Hawaii, central and western Alaska, parts of the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies, and for areas near the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.

The impact of  heavier than normal rain and snow in effected area in terms of on-time rates can be mitigated to some extent by timely location and ETA reporting which allows transportation firms to better manage their loads and inform their customers about load status and on-time delays.    Ask your LCRS vendor whether they support logistics event alerts such as Geofenced arrive / depart, ETA, and basic check-call location alerts.

2016 – the Year of the Electronic Logging Device?

Star Route Association members were interested in understanding the impact of the long-awaited electronic logging device (ELD) final rule from the FMCSA. The ELD final rule has been released by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and OMB approval is the last step before the final rule is published in the Federal Register. Once that happens the ELD ruling will be in effect carriers and truck operators will have two years to migrate to electronic logging devices.

Even though there are exemptions for the ruling, most notably the “short-haul” radius exemption that allows the use of a time card instead of a log-book for drivers operating within a 100 mile radius of their “normal work reporting location” and not exceeding 12 hours on-duty, many Association members expressed the opinion that they expected this exemption to be eliminated in the future and felt they had to plan for implementing ELD across all their vehicles and drivers. myGeoTracking will be positioned to help the Members with the mandate, which also positions them for logistics condition reporting for compliance requirements as well.

ROI for Transportation & Logistics

myGeoTracking for Transportation & Logistics

The Untapped Profit Center – Your Supply Chain Operations
You can save hundreds of thousands of dollars, and earn thousands more, by using the myGeoTracking Mobile & Cloud based solution to help you better manage your Transportation & Logistics Operations.

What to Look For
In the modern day of smartphones and SaaS solutions, you don’t have to adopt a complex supply chain management system to reap the cost savings and productivity gains that come from automating your logistics operations. Just knowing when your drivers actually started and stopped a load run can save you thousands of dollars in billable hours and payroll expenses. In addition, if you can tell that the driver started from the origin site when they’re supposed to, and trigger exception alerts when they are late en route due to traffic, you can earn thousands more for your business through better resource planning and improved dispatch response.

How the Numbers Add Up
Here’s a pretty common savings scenario that myGeoTracking frequently sees with our customers (we often see a 5-10% payroll savings, and a 10-15% productivity gain). These numbers may not be yours, but should give you a good idea of how they can rapidly add up for you.

1. Cost Savings related to the back-office team & Drivers
(Avoid check-calls, save on processing proof-of-delivery, dispatch calls, etc.)
Let’s say that SCM Co. employs ten office admin staff, and they get paid an average of $23/hour (which is the median hourly wage according to the Bureau of Labor & Statistics). They do an average of 3-4 check-calls per haul / load run per day and work ~40 hour / week, across 48 weeks during the year.
In this scenario, SCM Co can save over $22,000 per year if they can just shave 5% off their payroll costs — or a half-hour of increase in productive paid time a day! Same savings can also be applied to Drivers hours-of-service logging.

2. Fuel Savings
By reducing wait time at origin / destination warehouses and check-points, there are tremendous fuel savings as the trucks are not idling while waiting to be off-loaded. Similar efficiencies can be gained by creating better route planning. A solution like myGeoTracking can show savings of above 20% in fuel.

3. Improve Customer Satisfaction and compliance with Client SLA With real-time alerts and notifications, you are able to stay in top of any exception.  Furthermore, with rules based messaging, you can keep your customers’ teams informed of realtime status on any truck at any time.   The data can be sent in form of emails / text OR live fed into the customer’s backoffice using a rich set of Web APIs.

4. Productivity Gains 
Real time alerts based on scans, arrivals, departure with ETAs can be used to adjust resource allocation just-in-time at origin & destination points.  The system can help with operations improvement by reducing wait times at origin/destination for drivers and warehouse staff.  Reports on data such as miles driven, number of trips, days in service etc. can be used to better utilize existing fleet & drivers.

Average myGeoTracking customer sees a big revenue boost from productivity gains – more accurate time management and exception awareness means your drivers & staff can complete a few more jobs a week than before. How does this benefit you? Let’s run the numbers. Let’s say that SCP Co charges $117/billable hour (another BLS average) for warehouse staff and each worker racks up six billable hours of work a day.

In this scenario, SCP Co. can take in an additional $168,000 in billable hours per year if they can score a modest 10% increase in productivity – just 1 or 2 extra jobs a week can add up fast for your bottom line.

The ROI for SCP Corp is close to $200,000 a year with a team of 10 operations staff!  All this without investment in any new equipment including smartphones or telematics devices.

If you haven’t used a Logistics management solution before, give us a call to setup a Demo.  If you are using one, take a look at the benefits vs the costs of your current service.
Check your own ROI here using this simple tool (Calculator).

Boost Profitability Throughout Your Seasonal ‘Boom & Bust’ Cycle of Business

Mobile workforce management services like myGeoTracking can become a new force multiplier to not only help you better manage your seasonal workers, but also help you build a consistent culture of accountability and efficiency across your entire business on a year-round basis.

But not all systems are a good fit for the seasonal, cyclical nature of your business. Continue reading

Geofencing and QR Code used to enhance Time-Clocking, Workforce Monitoring and Field Status Updates

Introduction
myGeoTracking Mobile App allows users to record time & attendance within Geofenced job sites.  The app also supports GPS-tagged QR Codes for time-clocking inside bigger indoor venues alongwith workforce accountability tracking and automation

Setting up the Job sites

The Company’s operations managers can use various web tools to create QR codes for their job site properties (or building floors). These QR codes can then be attached to the properties and scanned by security personnel to create attendance records during their daily rounds.  Here are a few resources on how to generate a QR code:

Website to generate a QR Code:  http://www.qr-code-generator.com/.

Generate QR Code in Google Docs: https://youtu.be/sRuObJ538pA Continue reading

Beware the Free App for Your Business – You’ll Get What You Pay For

Beware the Free App for Your Business – You’ll Get What You Pay For

The easiest way to start enhancing your business’ bottom line is to put the right mobile employee management tools into place. Businesses that implement the right tools can save and earn tens of thousands per employee per year in payroll and opex cost savings and productivity increases. However, navigating through the maze of solutions being offered today can be quite a challenge for both small and large businesses alike.

When choosing a solution, price isn’t everything. It’s good to keep a few key things in mind – your company’s goals and needs (including regulatory and contract compliance, auditing & liability issues, back office needs, etc.), the system’s capabilities and available customer support. So in this blog we’ve set out to review the capabilities of the “Free” location tracking or time-keeping App and why the fail to live up to the expectations of businesses that are trying to adopt a solution to increase earnings. Continue reading

Proof of Delivery with GPS-Tagged Photo Messaging

Proof of Delivery from any Driver’s Phone using myGeoTracking Load Tracking Service

Load Tracking & Verification of Load Delivery are two of the most important responsibilities for a Shipper,  Freight Broker and 3PL Company.  These businesses stake their reputation on their ability to get the right goods to their customers, on time and in good condition.

Tracking & documenting delivery, while combatting driver identity and load theft,  has become critical in this highly competitive industry.  The myGeoTracking Load Tracking Solution offers Proof-of-Delivery over any mobile phone as part of an end-to-end (mobile & web) solution that can be essential for operations improvement and happy customers.

Continue reading