IN THIS ISSUE
Who's in charge? Taking control of technology.
Announcing the Release of VCK-SQL 9.3.91
Learn by Doing at ASI Users Seminar
The Value of Smart Shred Software
Register Today for ASI Webinars
Tana's Tech Tip
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Tana's Tech Tip
VCK-SQL short-cut makes quick work of work orders
When you need to access a work order repeatedly, VCK-SQL’s Quick Edit Work Order feature makes quick work of the task. For example, you’ve just accessed Work Order #35, then saved and exited. Soon, you need to open it again for additional information.
Simply click “Quick Edit Work Order” and right-click. This recalls the last work order number (#35). A left-click displays the actual work order. Using this short-cut allows quick access to the order without the need to perform a multi-step process using standard work order lookups.
Register today for ASI Webinars
We've just released the latest in our webinar offerings, the WebShare Veri-Shred Series and the WebShare VCK-SQL Series. Even if you've missed the first webinar in a series, you can still register for one or both of the remaining instructional events.
They provide an excellent opportunity for new users to learn the basics and for existing users to acquaint themselves with the latest enhancements.
Visit the ASI Learning Center for loads of educational and support information available online and onsite.
PRISM Annual Conference
May 15-May 17, 2012
Las Vegas, NV
ASI Users Seminar
September 12-13, 2012
ASI Learning Center
Loads of educational and support information available online and onsite.
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Who's in charge? Taking control of technology.
Scott Bidwell, President/COO
Before my feet hit the floor this morning, I did what I always do…checked my email. Yep, along with my alarm clock and that book I keep on my bedside table in the hopes I’ll one day have time to read it, you’ll find my Blackberry. It’s become part of my bedtime and wake-up routine. Plug it in and do one final email check before lights out. Pick it up and do my first daily email check before I get out of bed.
Sound familiar? Many of us have become slaves to the very technology that is supposed to simplify and enrich our lives, enabling us more time to think, to create, to DO. On the contrary, what I find myself doing more often than not, is checking my various devices to ensure I respond in a timely manner to the “urgent” messages and am aware of “important” information. So is all this technological “progress” progress at all? My answer to this would be yes – when we take control of the technology and decide how/when to utilize it.
Let’s use software programming as an example. Programming is a right-brain activity. It is very conceptual and spatial, even artistic. Effective programming requires that you transition from your body's normal "left brain" mode into a "right brain" zone. Talk to any software programmer and he/she will tell you that programming cannot be done in less than three-hour windows. Really. I’m convinced this applies to many other lines of work as well. When you're in a three-hour zone, you’ve gathered your concentration, shifted into "right brain mode", and are focusing on a problem. In other words, you’re being productive.
How do we nurture and protect our three-hour productivity windows?
Turn off your email client. This doesn't mean you shouldn't respond promptly. Check your email at normal “interruption” times before you start work, before/after lunch and meetings, etc.
Put your desk phone on "do not disturb” and your cell phone on silent when you need dedicated time to focus on a project.
Get good headphones. Warn colleagues when you're "in the zone" to minimize interruptions.
Beyond taking control of our technology devices, it's important that we examine our business applications and best-use practices. We’re all guilty of using a small fraction of an application’s full capabilities, or getting comfortable performing tasks a particular way and not wanting to upgrade to the latest, potentially unfamiliar release – regardless of its professed improvements.
How do we maximize the value of our software applications?
Training and education is at the top of the list. When employees understand the software they are using and are fully trained to use it, they tackle daily responsibilities more confidently and utilize more of the applications functionality. It also enables them to be better problem-solvers. Aside from initial training, take advantage of User Seminars and additional training opportunities.
Install the latest enhancements and software upgrades. For example, ASI just released the latest VCK-SQL update which greatly improves performance (by 40% for some functions). By not upgrading, organization miss the chance to boost bottom-line efficiency.
When in need, refer to online support boards, FAQs, release notes, etc. offered by your software provider. When the answer isn’t readily available online, submit your support request or in an emergency, contact a support representative.
The key to using technology is to understand that it’s not the technology that makes us more productive. It’s how we choose to use the technology that makes us more productive. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some emails to respond to.
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Announcing the Release of VCK-SQL 9.3.91
With intensive testing and fine-tuning completed, the VCK-SQL 9.3.91 update rolled out earlier this month. This release
contains several enhancements. Most importantly for users is the application's greatly enhanced performance which, depending upon the task, can be as much 30-40%! With such performance improvements, it's not surprising that response is positive from users who have installed the update thus far.
Release notes for VCK-SQL 9.3.91 are available online. To ensure your business realizes the full advantage of the new features
and benefits offered by VCK-SQK 9.3.91, we encourage you to hold a meeting with your internal users to fully review this document..
ASI support representatives will work with you to run the update and answer any questions.
We will also publish a WebShare schedule for additional training in the near future.
For more information or to schedule your update installation, please contact ASI Support today.
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"Learn by Doing" at ASI Users Seminar
We're in the process of finalizing the agenda for this year's highly anticipated, information-packed ASI Users Seminar. Scheduled for September 12-13th in Cleveland, Ohio, this year's event features a dual-track schedule of classroom and computer lab educational sessions for both records centers (running VCK and VCK-SQL) and destruction companies.
Here's a sneak-peek at what we'll be offering users at the ASI 2012 Users Seminar:
- Selling InfoKeeper and VCKweb.NET
- InfoKeeper and VCKweb.NET Setup (Lab)
- VCK Daily Services and Work Orders
- VCK Customer Setup and Billing Options (Lab)
- VCK Data Entry and Data Entry Import
- VCK Warehouse Management
- Warehouse Design and Layout
presented by industry guest guru: Lori Palmer
- ASI Mobile 3 Driver Scanning and Other Useful Tips for the CN3/70 (Lab)
- VCK Super Tools
- Veri-Shred Customer Setup, Placements, and Scheduling (Lab)
- Veri-Shred Point of Sale
- Veri-Shred Bin Types, Routes, Trucks, and Calendar (Lab)
- Veri-Shred Rebuilding, Service Order Locks, and Calendar Alerts
- Veri-Shred Service Orders, Routes, Route Planning (Lab)
- ASI Mobile 3 for Shredding and Other Useful Tips for the CN3/70 (Lab)
- It's More Than Just Hard Drive Destruction Today
presented by Industry Guest Guru: Bob Haskins
- Veri-Shred Invoicing, Custom Invoices, and Custom Shred Certificates
- Veri-Shred Management Reports
There will also be industry experts on-hand sharing their tips and techniques on growing your business. We'll have a complete online brochure available shortly, with a complete educational agenda, social schedule and accommodations information.
We also invite you to visit the ASI Users Seminar page on our website for pics from our 2010 Users Seminar and for the latest updates on this year's exciting event.
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The Value of Smart Shredding Software
ASI Account Executive
Software affects most, if not all, aspects of your shred services business. It affects:
- Operations in terms of scheduling, routing, tracking bins, generating work orders and certificates of destruction, just to name a few.
- Billing in terms of invoicing and interacting with your accounts receivable program.
- Customer service in terms of issue resolution, meaningful reporting tools, and reliable and efficient service.
- Sales and marketing in terms of differentiating your service from your competitors and justifying a premium price.
Technology and software can be as important a resource to your shred operation as the people you employ and the equipment you buy, yet its value to your business can be difficult to measure. It’s easy to measure how hardware makes you money.
It's the truck that you drive from customer to customer. It's a shredder that rips the paper you sell on the back end. It's a bin that collects physical material you destroy.
All are items you can physically put your hands on and are tools that clearly help you make money.
What is often more difficult to quantify is how shred software – smart shred software – generates value and revenue for your shred business. This is one reason that software sometimes takes a lower priority in your business investments. It can be an expensive mistake. Not only does software – software that is purpose-built for your industry – help make money for your shred operation, it can also help you avoid losing revenue.
Smart shred software generates value for you and your customer
The importance of smart shred software is realized in terms of both sides of the business relationship, that
being your company and your customer (or prospect).
For your business, smart shred software will:
- Help your operations realize better efficiency, mainly by consolidating & automating tasks into ONE application. It will consolidate those major time-consuming activities you perform regularly – scheduling, routing, and invoicing, in particular. Instead of jumping back and forth between a combination of Outlook for scheduling, MapQuest for routing, Word for Service Orders, and QuickBooks for billing and invoicing, a smart software solution can provide you all of these functions…….AND the functions work together.
- Automate tasks and enforce standardization, saving time & promoting accuracy.
- Reduce fuel and labor costs and vehicle wear and tear through effective routing.
- Keep track of your inventory and service history through the use of barcodes and scanning.
Barcode scanning captures what was done, as compared to what was supposed to be done. It can also provide signature capture at point of service.
- Utilize a calendar, enabling you to view your activities by month or by week, filtered by route, customer, and/or service address and adjust routes as needed.
- Provide you with either built-in routing functionality or integration with a respected third-party routing application like Microsoft Map Point or Roadnet Anywhere, providing superior route optimization to service multiple addresses as well as immediate address validation. Click here to see an example of how route capacity planning can be achieved by monitoring the thresholds of your fleet of vehicles assigned to particular routes.
- Provide you easily produced documentation required to run your daily business including: work orders; certificates of destruction; service history; and invoices to name a few. More advanced software applications will allow you to go paperless with work orders, allowing you to upload them to a handheld computer and work off the device rather than paper.
- Provide meaningful reports that show you how your drivers are performing and help you make decisions to optimize results. For example, the Bin Average Report displays the average recorded capacity at the Customer, Address and Bin level over a selected date range. Because values are displayed as an an average, as opposed to individually captured capacities, the user is better able to determine scheduling frequency and manage the account more effectively. For example, a user can ask for any accounts that have averaged more than half full for a specified period of time The result could be to recommend placing a larger container to accommodate the volume of paper.
- Utilize flexible billing to accommodate your business’s current billing methodology or that of customers and prospects.
- Incorporate mobile functionality to streamline business processes to maximize service and ensure accountability. Click here for examples of VCK's mobile device screenshots. On the left is the route as planned by the dispatcher using the main application's route planning functionality. Under each customer and their address you see the different departments, stops and bins to be serviced. The address highlighted in red indicates a notifier to the driver that there is an important message about this stop that needs to be read.
- Reduce your dependency on “key employees” since rules and procedures are defined in the software, not by an individual.
Smart shred software is a sales and marketing tool
The sales and marketing benefit offered by a smart shred software solution is probably the most unrealized and yet quite possibly the most significant way it can generate value for your shred business. Smart software provides a way of differentiating yourself from the competition in the sales AND service setting. It should be considered as important a marketing tool as your website, your print ads, your truck, etc.
Ways you might showcase its value to a customer or prospect include:
- Take a handheld device with you on the sales call. Demonstrate its features and the benefits they deliver, including the audit trail it provides. This is also an opportunity for them to see that it is a technology investment that they are familiar with, from the likes of FedEx and UPS.
- Talk about and show signature capture and the receipt print out.
- Take some of the reports the software can generate and explain to the prospect how they allow the two of you to make intelligent decisions together on such things as service schedules, number of bins and bin placement, etc.
- Show them how the software keeps track of “what happened, when, and by whom.”
- Utilize the customer service features built into the software. For example, VCK service reminder e-mails can be automatically generated and sent to your client contact at the completion of route planning. It's a small, but very effective customer service tool.
After the prospect has met with you and seen how you utilize technology to their advantage, you will be the benchmark for your competitors, setting the expectation in your market. This in turn, allows you to justify a premium price since your investment in software and technology is proof to the prospect that you provide much more than shredding. You are offering a true understanding of their RIM management and security requirements, all of which helps you win more business. It should also be noted that, with a smart shredding software solution in place, your business is more valuable to potential suitors.
Clearly, investing in technology and software is an important factor for any shred services business. If you're in the process of selecting shred software for your business, are considering replacing your existing software, or adding shredding to your existing records center operation I hope this article has helped identify core funtionalities to look for as you select the software that is the smart solution for your business and its long-term success.
For more information on how ASI’s suite of smart software solutions work for your business, please contact our sales department. We also invite you to read our client case studies and client testimonials for first-hand accounts of how ASI software solutions have generated value for businesses such as yours.
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