Friday, 9 September 2016

Capture container swings in iCOS LIVE

For a long time we have had container operators inquiring about how they can capture costs and on-charge their clients for additional swing-on or swing-off's done by swing lifts in their fleet.

We are happy to announce that today we are releasing a feature for iCOS GO which will allow you to capture these events, showing in your job history when swings occurred, and optionally tracking costs and charges associated with them.

In this model, you still only allocate work to your vehicles which are actually carting a container.
This may be skelly trucks, or swing lifts if you are doing swing-and-cart.

In the future we may release a module which allows you to allocate work to both a swing and skelly at the same time, so that they both get notification via iCOS GO to meet at a location for a swing.

We don't have a timeline for release of that module, as it requires some re-architecting of some core iCOS LIVE systems; but in the mean time we hope that this new feature allows you to at least capture costs and charges associated with swings.

We have observed that due to the always-in-motion nature of container operators fleets, many operators prefer not to pre-dispatch work to their swings anyway, letting them dynamically self-dispatch depending on needs and proximity to skellys requiring a swing.

How does it work?

Set up swing capture for your fleet

The first thing you will need to do is contact your account manager or iCOS LIVE customer service, asking for the swing capture feature to be turned on.

You will be asked to provide the following:

1: A list of which vehicles in your fleet can swing-on/swing-off

2: A list of which iCOS GO user logins you want to have the feature enabled for; typically logins for your skelly trucks.

3: The cost, charge, and financial code for swing-on and swing-off

What it looks like for your drivers

For drivers who log-in to an account with the swing feature enabled, a new button becomes available where you would normally load (uplift) or unload (offload) a container.

Once selecting swing on, a driver can then select which vehicle is swinging the container

The procedure is exactly the same for swinging a container off

The swing button records that the swing was done by the selected vehicle, and also uplifts or offloads the job.

What recorded swings look like

You can see swing events recorded against a job by opening a container job (or the quick-access column on dispatch, utilisation, or invoicing workbenches), then selecting the Costs & Charges tab.

The swings are visible, indented under the leg they were done on. They also list which vehicle did the swing (if a different vehicle to the one which carted the container)

The charge value applied can be pre-set per client, or a general value.
The cost value applied can be pre-set per contractor (if a contractor is swinging), or a general value.

Swing charges will flow through to your invoicing package the same as any other manually added extra charge.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Live-load and live-unload containers via iCOS GO

We are happy to announce support for container live load and unloads via our iCOS GO mobile application.

With this new feature, if you are doing live loading or unloading of a container, your driver won't need to wait for a dispatcher to re-allocate the second leg after he has waited for the container to be loaded/unloaded.

This will also work great for those of you who 'tip' your containers.

Here's the steps:

1: Dispatcher allocates an empty container to be picked up and taken to a site for loading, or a full container to be taken to a site for unloading

2: The job appears on the drivers mobile device, telling him where to pick up from.

3: Once picked up, the driver sees a new option in addition to the usual 'Offload' button he normally seens:

4: After pressing 'Live Load' or 'Live Unload', the system automatically offloads the container, then allocates a new task back to the driver to take the container from it's pack/unpack location to either dehire or a port for export.

If you are interested in this new functionality, please contact your iCOS LIVE representative and ask that the feature be enabled for your account.

You may elect to have this feature turned on for certain drivers/vehicles only, rather than all of them.

We hope this new feature improves your workflow in iCOS LIVE!

Map view - live vehicle tracking

For some time now, iCOS LIVE has had a map view where you can see where historical events occurred on a map.

This works great after the fact, when a job is delivered; however for in-progress jobs it didn't give you up-to-the-minute information as to the location of a consignment.

This has now changed, with a new feature which enables live-tracking of consignments in the map view for jobs which are currently in-transit.

This feature is available both for operators, and also for your clients if they log in and want to see where a consignment is.

To access the map view as an operator, you can open a job and navigate the the 'moves' tab.
Once in there, clicking on any of the move icons will bring up a map view.

For clients, they may access the map view the same way, or more quickly by clicking the 'Place' icon on their job list.

For those of you who do not want to give your clients this sort of visibility, this is an opt-in feature.
If you do not specifically enable this feature for a client, they will not see the current vehicle location.

To enable this feature, ask someone in your organisation with super-user access to open up the companies screen, navigate to the 'Profile' tab, and tick on 'Client Map View - Display Truck Location' for each respective client.

Optionally, iCOS LIVE support staff can turn this option on across your entire company on request.

Please note: vehicle position information is dependent on an integration with a fleet management package such as EROAD or Navman Wireless. iCOS LIVE cannot control the quality of position data provided by third party services or devices such as phones or tablets.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Quick access to job details - now available to all

Following on from our update on May 26th, Dispatchers: Quick access to job details (click to view), we have now updated our invoicing and utilisation (job and leg view) workbenches with the new feature.

We hope this brings increased productivity to your general workflow when working in these screens.

Both the utilisation and invoicing workbenches already had the '$' column, which gave you quick access to job costs & charges.

The new quick access column also includes this functionality, plus more, so we have removed the '$' column from the system - but we have been careful to ensure that where the '$' column showed for you before, the new quick access column now shows in it's place.

As always, if you have feedback or suggestions, please get in touch with us and let us know!

Friday, 27 May 2016

Dispatch: Colour coding for Next-Milestone

Those of you who use the Bulk or Container iCOS LIVE modules will already be familiar with the colour coding which shows on dates in the 'Next Milestone' column in the iCOS LIVE dispatch workbench.

As of today, Freight jobs also have this feature enabled, which we hope will help you easily identify which jobs are not due for delivery for a while, which ones are due today, and which are overdue.

What do the colours mean?

Here's a table showing what the colours mean, and at which point they change from one colour to another.

Dispatchers: Quick access to job details

We have had a lot of feedback about the number of clicks required to view information which you need at your finger-tips quickly as a dispatcher, without losing your place on the dispatch screen.

We listened to that feedback and have been preparing the plumbing of parts of the system for some time now, to enable a new feature we are happy to announce to you today.

The job 'quick access' dispatch column

If you scroll across your dispatch screen looking at the various columns available to you, you will now find a new column with no name, full of 'plus' symbols.

This new column likely has appeared to the far right so as not to alter your existing custom layouts.

We suggest you drag this column to the far left of your dispatch layout, perhaps next to the tick-box column, for easy access

Familiar job detail tabs - all in a single click!

Clicking on the plus symbol in the quick access column for a row expands out an extended details view, where you can click through the same tabs you would see if you open a job the normal way - including adding notes, or adding/changing costs & charges!

With quick-access open, the plus symbol changes to a minus symbol, which you can click again when done to hide the quick access panel for that job.

You can even open quick access for more than one job at once!

Friday, 13 May 2016

Manually Supplying Cost, Revenue, and Charges

We are happy to announce a new feature for managing costs, revenue, or charges - accessible in the Cost & Charge viewer (seen as a tab when viewing a booking, or as a sub-item in the utilisation or financial screens)

The new update allows you to better manage costs, revenue, or charges - especially in cases where the system was unable to rate automatically, or you want to use a specific rate.

Manually supplying values
Manually type in dollar amounts to bypass automatic rates. You must have permission to be able to do this.

'Pin' values to prevent the system from automatically recalculating them
If the system has calculated an automatic rate, but you know the rates are going to change, and you want to prevent the system applying the new rates to this job, you can 'pin' individual items at their current value.
When you supply a value manually, your value is automatically pinned. You can un-pin it by right-clicking.
For revenue allocation, pinning a single item will keep it at it's set value, but revenue allocate the remaining charge to the rest of the un-pinned items.

System 'locked' values
Values become 'locked' when they have reached a point in the system where changes are no longer allowed.
For charge and revenue, this is once a job has been verified. For costs, at this stage values are never locked.


As with any part of the system where a user can manipulate financial values, it is wise to be able to see who made changes.
iCOS LIVE writes an audit history of any changes made via this new feature, which can be seen in the 'History' tab in a booking.