Some people have embraced the entry of computers into their lives, while others have shunned or reluctantly allowed them into their offices. Could this reluctance to embrace the wonderful world of computers be fear of the unknown? Unwillingness to experiment with new technologies? The presumption that computers can't help?
Companies offer hundreds of software programs designed to streamline your business, to help you keep track of your fleet, store customer information, or monitor employee work schedules.
Most of the companies that make this software understand that their end users are busy people and don't have time for complicated programs. They strive to make their programs not only time-saving tools, but the ultimate in user-friendliness.
MxVision WeatherSentry Construction Edition
Meteorlogix is a commercial weather services provider with an internal team of meteorologists that perform extensive weather research. A year ago Meteorlogix launched the Construction Edition of the popular MxVision WeatherSentry. Chris Wittinghill, director of inside sales at Meteorlogix, says the system currently has 4,000 customers, from small operations run out of people's homes to large companies with dozens of crews.
The system offers weather information through any number of computer screen terminals at various locations that a company might need to have weather updates. Meteorlogix can also send out a "tap on the shoulder," or weather alerts sent via text messaging on cell phones.
"It really works best with both, and that's the one thing that's unique about our services," Whittinghill says. "If you were to solely rely on just a dispatch operations center, unfortunately there's a little bit of a risk there. If that dispatch person's not available, our system can contact a crew via cell phone and get critical weather information right into their hands wherever they are — rain is going to come in 37 minutes, and it's going to last for an hour and 22 minutes."
Whittinghill explains that although there is weather information available via the Internet, radio, and National Weather Service, those sources aren't always accurate for a specific point a crew might be working in. He says knowing exactly where rain is going to hit and when can save a company money.
"When you get global, county-wide forecasting, a storm could go through the north side of a county and never hit the south, and never affect operations," he says. "Literally we can pinpoint for a specific location when rain will start and stop. It's a latitude/longitude point on a map, when rain is going to intersect that location and how much rain is going to fall."
E&B Paving in Rochester, IN, has about 20 asphalt and concrete crews that work all over Indiana. They installed a Meteorlogix system about a year ago, with a terminal at each batch plant. Neil Douglass, concrete plant manager, says the system saves the company money because they're on top of the weather.
"When we're pouring concrete, it lets us know early enough that the rainy weather is coming in, and we can stop pouring so we don't lose any concrete to the rain," Douglass says, "When the concrete is on the ground, in the summer, it takes 2 to 2 ½ hours before you don't have to worry about the weather. So we should know about rain 2 to 3 hours before it happens, and that's what this system does."
In addition to the up-to-the-minute forecasting, Douglass says the advanced forecasting is also helpful.
"The 5- and 10-day forecasting really helps out, too, so we know what we can do days down the road," he says.
Whittinghill adds that the Meteorlogix system isn't just helpful in protecting the work contractors do, but also offers a safety cushion for employees.
"Lightening and severe storms come through and you certainly wouldn't want to put your crew in the position of being stuck outside without any safety measures," he says. "And that's where some of our storm tracking capabilities come in."