Alex Neubert, the newest member of the TrackAbout Support and Implementation Team, polls her co-workers about their favorite TrackAbout feature they think our customers will love.
As the newest member of the TrackAbout Support and Implementation Team, I began to swear by the TrackAbout Wiki to learn the ins and outs of TrackAbout and to help solve problems for clients. To assist in growing my knowledge, I relied on my fellow TrackMates to help me along the way. I used their expertise to learn as much as I possibly could. Day by day, as they told me about their favorite features, different modules, and the tips and tricks that one could only learn with years of experience, I realized how much more I had to learn. So it made me wonder – have our clients missed out on anything? Are there awesome features that somehow slipped through the cracks amongst all of the great things that TrackAbout has to offer? Are there tips that could make our users’ experience better? This inspired me to share the knowledge of my TrackMates with our readers and introduce them as the experts they are.
This article, written by Rhea Healy, originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of gasworld. It is reprinted with permission.
It seems that in today’s world, the need for immediate and mobile data is now the norm, with smartphones and the internet practically essential to keep connected to the world. Any information you desire is now just one click away in most cases.
As these trends infiltrate everyday life, they do of course also extend into the industrial gas industry, where the role of ‘smart’ technology has become a staple asset in cylinder tracking and similar industrial applications, eradicating the traditional pen and paper method of a seemingly distant era.
More and more high-profile companies are implementing tracking systems with ‘smart’ features, but just how much further can this evolve and what other technological trends could possibly emerge from this point?
This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of gasworld. It is reprinted with permission.
TrackAbout co-founders Jim Glessner and Tim Fusco, and Vice-President of Sales, Doug O’Dell discuss the shared vision of eradicating the ‘black holes’ in the industrial gas supply chain.
Founded in 2000 by former Butler Gas Products employee Jim Glessner and software developer Tim Fusco, Pennsylvania-based TrackAbout, Inc. has become a leading authority in industrial gas asset management. The company’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions to tracking, managing and maintaining gas cylinders have filled a significant gap in the market over the past 16 years and helped to put an end to the loss of invaluable data that may otherwise have slipped through the cracks.
It all began from Glessner’s own experiences in the industry, having witnessed just how much time was wasted disputing cylinder balances with customers, correcting data entry and ultimately searching for ‘lost’ cylinders. He realised that gas distributors could gain significant benefits if only they had the tools to manage their business with more efficiency. Against this backdrop, and with a technology revolution rapidly unfolding, TrackAbout was launched.
The company has continued to evolve through an active relationship with its customer base since then, which includes world-class organisations in 17 countries; but there was a time when its future did not seem so certain to be realised. Glessner explained, “Your question about our company’s inception makes me pause because it was never very certain we would ever get off the ground, let alone become a leader.”
I’m sitting around the table after dinner, and like most everyone else I’m listening to Jim, Louise, and Jessica sing an old but familiar tune while they sway together arm in arm. The murmur of a few muted side conversations over coffee and dessert doesn’t seem to bother them at all, and they even get some help from some of the rest of us during the chorus. Their song concludes to the sound of some encouraging applause and perhaps a little laughter. The smiles and chatter carry on.
If it sounds to you like I’m describing some kind of Dickens-esque family gathering, you might be surprised to hear that this is actually a scene from a software user conference, namely from the most recent TrackApalooza. Last month we closed out this 2015 edition of the TrackAbout user conference with a dinner at the historic Allegheny County Airport, and it was there inside a charming little Art Deco building that the impromptu musical number took place.
This story comes from Louise Pickett, TrackAbout Senior Support Specialist.
Every day on the TrackAbout Support Team, we have the pleasure of helping our clients with their asset tracking needs. In the eight and a half years that I’ve been with TrackAbout, I have received a wide variety of requests, from loading data to researching why TrackAbout handled data a certain way, and everything in between.
One particular day a couple of years ago, I responded to a most unusual request. The phone call was from a police officer in a far-away state. He had found a rugged handheld device along the side of the road. Amazingly, it was still functional, and when he turned it on, he could see the TrackAbout mobile application! After some quick detective work, this officer was able to find the phone number for TrackAbout and, voilà, he was on the phone with me! I was able to quickly guide the officer to giving me a unique identifier for the device and was able to put the client in touch with the police officer to recover their lost handheld.
Daily, TrackAbout saves clients money by keeping asset balances correct to minimize lost rental revenue, by helping clients to find unused equipment rather than purchasing new assets, and a whole host of other ways. On this particular day, we saved our client the cost of replacing a handheld.
This article originally appeared in the May 2015 issue of gasworld. It is reprinted with permission.
Thanks for taking 10 minutes out with gasworld. What have we interrupted in your schedule today?
I’m travelling back to my home in Lincoln, Nebraska. I spent the past few days in Las Vegas attending Medtrade, a trade show focused on the home medical equipment market and medical gases.
You know, it’s amazing how many companies don’t do a good job of tracking their equipment – especially their medical oxygen cylinders. Knowing the regulations and the risks of noncompliance, you’d think they would be more prepared. In many cases, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) could shut down their business for a failed lot recall or undocumented device inspection, yet many continue to take that risk.
TrackAbout Developer Mike Mertsock published the following post on his blog Running | Code. Drawing on his experience developing TrackAbout’s APIs, Mike provides 11 tips for successful collaboration between mobile and API development teams.
API-driven mobile app development requires more than good engineers and the latest technology. Whether your organization is a startup, or an established company expanding into the mobile space, you may be creating the app and API in parallel. The mobile and API teams will need to collaborate effectively in order to launch a successful product. In fact, I would say that communication and teamwork can be more important than the choice of server-side and client-side technologies.
Mobile and API developers can write great code in their respective silos, but if the interaction between the two teams is not top-notch, the interaction of the app and API will reflect that. Teams will end up with divergent understanding of the work. Timelines will get out of sync. Developers will be fighting to get the client and server to work together as anti-patterns and incompatible interfaces emerge. Every new feature will repeat a cycle rehashing the same bugs, fighting the same structures, duplicating slight variations of boilerplate “solutions” to the architecture problems. Friction will rule both the programming work and team dynamics.
TrackAbout is committed to helping our customers achieve their goals. No matter what industry they serve, all of our customers have common objectives of saving money, increasing revenue and improving productivity. A few of them took a break from TrackApalooza, our annual user conference, to describe how their companies have benefited from our asset tracking software. Hear what they had to say in the video below. Read about other customers on the Stories section of our website.
They say fun, humor and laughter make work more enjoyable by reducing stress, improving morale, enhancing creativity, energizing people and bringing them together. I can testify that this is true at TrackAbout.
Not a day goes by that many good, honest belly laughs don’t ring out from the halls of cubicle land. I’m blessed to work with some of the most intelligent and witty people I’ve ever known. On those days when there seems to be too much to do or I’m working through a tedious project or when marketing isn’t the glamorous profession many assume it is, I’m thankful for the comedic brilliance of my coworkers which keeps me moving forward.
In a few weeks, we’re hosting our user conference, which we’ve amusingly named TrackApalooza. We’re working hard to infuse a sense of fun to what some might perceive as another boring business conference. (Not that asset tracking software isn’t the most interesting and amazing thing since sliced bread.) To promote the event, we created a short video titled “Top 10 Reasons to Attend TrackApalooza”. It’s one example of the kind of fun we have at work every day.
We just concluded a three-month-long marathon of recruiting developers here at TrackAbout. We hired six new developers. This post is a follow-up and summary of lessons learned from this most recent round of hiring. I began writing this in Evernote for my own reference so I could review my lessons learned the next time. I shared it with TrackAbout, and they said, “Blog it!” Who am I to argue?
Please see my post On Hiring Developers for background regarding how our hiring process has evolved and some of the tools we use.