Technology with a Purpose

All posts in Company News

New Save and Assign Tool Enhances TargetSolutions’ Activity Building Capabilities

 

If you’ve been waiting for an enhancement that allows both platform managers and users to complete different portions of the same activity, you’re in luck! In May, TargetSolutions released its new Save and Assign application, enabling platform managers to partially complete an activity before delivering it to users.

The Save and Assign application is accessible through the Administration tab under Record Completions. This new tool was built for organizations needing more flexibility in tracking evaluation forms, performance reviews and certificate completions. We’re confident all public entities will find value in this enhanced assignment-building tool.

Platform Administrators can assign different parts of the same Activity to supervisors and users for completion.

“This new application makes it simple for our clients to complete different portions of the same activity. This is a big win for groups managing performance reviews or professional certificates with our program, among other things,” said TargetSolutions’ Strategic Risk Management Business Unit Manager Kelly Zielinski.

“Our technology team is always looking for ways to enhance existing applications. This enhancement to Activities Builder gives platform managers more flexibility when creating custom activities.”

In particular, school districts will benefit from this tool when site managers are scheduling performance evaluations, questionnaire surveys, inventory updates or bus checks.

The Save and Assign application immediately helped the DeKalb Fire Department in Georgia when the entire department was required to attend a customer service class, but employees attended at different times. The Save and Assign app enabled the individual users to fill-in information specific to their own class like instructor, class location, etc.

“Save and Assign helps keep training records consistent,” said DeKalb’s Chief Bill Voorhies. “By giving users the ability to fill in information related to a location, or an instructor, and then send it back complete is important to the integrity of our training records.”

TargetSolutions recently recorded a live tutorial on the new application. Please click here to view the presentation. If you’d like more information about this application, or any application inside TargetSolutions, please contact us today!

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions is the leading provider of web-based technology solutions for public entities. These solutions enable organizations to maintain compliance, reduce losses, deliver curriculum, and track all tasks, certifications and training activities.

TargetSolutions Enhances Its Online Course Catalog for School Districts

 

School district employees are required by law to report any suspected incidents of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of students. And along with protecting our young people from those incidents comes a responsibility to educate those in charge of our kids on how to handle these types of situations.

The newly revised TargetSolutions course, Reporting Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of Children, will do just that. The course covers signs of an abusive situation, how to respond if you suspect abuse, neglect, or exploitation, appropriate interaction with students, and what to do if a fellow staff member seems to be acting inappropriately.

“TargetSolutions has courses that help train some pretty important people – firefighters, EMTs, police officers,” said Content Architect Jeremy Lynch. “But the parent in me thinks you’d be hard pressed to find a course in our catalog that’s more important than this one.”

This new course isn’t the only update the School Districts section of the catalog will be receiving, however. Two new titles – Special Education: Proper Use of Seclusion and Restraint and FERPA: Privacy for Students – are expected to be released in the coming weeks.

“Looking out for the children in our communities is everyone’s responsibility,” said Kelly Zielinski, who serves as TargetSolutions’ risk pool business unit manager. That’s why we’re excited to be able to deliver these new courses that empower educators with the information and training they need to make our schools safer.

Our newest revised course, Reporting Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of Children, gives our users the tools they need to confidently identify and react in difficult situations where a child’s well-being is in jeopardy.

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions is the leading provider of web-based technology solutions for public entities. These solutions enable organizations to maintain compliance, reduce losses, deliver curriculum, and track all tasks, certifications and training activities.

After Overhauling Training System in ’11, TargetSolutions Produces More Innovative Development in ’12

Another year is nearly in the books and TargetSolutions couldn’t be more pleased with the platforms’ advancements in 2012 – as well as what’s to come in 2013. After redesigning the training and records management system last year, the company spent this year enhancing numerous features and has even more innovative development planned for the coming year.

“We’ve always been committed to creating the very best training management applications possible, but I think we made a lot of significant upgrades to our system in 2012 that clients are really going to benefit from for a long time,” said Product Manager Misty Pratt.

“That being said, I’m really excited about what’s to come. We’re going to continue looking for ways to create better, more robust tools that help our clients streamline training activities. Our goal is to never stop innovating.”

Here is a look at a few of the upgrades clients saw in 2012:

Reporting Capabilities: TargetSolutions’ team of engineers have made several interface upgrades that have made the reporting engine more intuitive. The team also enables administrators and supervisors to run reports on individual users, search more thoroughly with additional filters and utilize components more effectively. In addition, the team developed an automatic reporting mechanism that makes retrieving valuable employee training records quicker than ever before.

We listened to feedback from some of our clients for improving the usability of our reporting capabilities, said Pratt. With components now working the way they do, its easier than ever for departments to pull the exact type of completion data they need.

File Center: The File Center serves organizations as an online location for storing all types of electronic files, word documents, videos, etc. In 2012, TargetSolutions created a tool that allows multiple files to be uploaded at once – and then managed and updated directly from the upload page. The way files are viewed during processing has also changed. It is now easier to tell when files have been successfully uploaded.

File size restrictions have been removed, as has the session-timer limit on the upload page, said Pratt. That means that you can upload a large file and there is no risk of being logged out due to inactivity.

SCORM: Pulling reports from customized content, such as SCORM gives clients the ability to upload their own courses and deliver them through our platform, said Borghi. This helps clients pull more data than if they were delivering content with a custom activity. We’ve got a number of clients who are benefitting from this powerful tool.

“We wanted to make the new feature as easy to use as possible and I think we’ve done that,” said TargetSolutions’ VP of Operations Alex Day. “We find that our users log in to the platform at different rates, but most people check their e-mail regularly. Having these alerts go directly to e-mail made sense for clients. Now they will be able to know right away when they have new training that needs to be done and it will help improve compliance.”

With those highlighted accomplishments now completed, TargetSolutions is turning its attention to 2013. As far as what’s to come next – you can be confident TargetSolutions will continue to innovate and find answers to our clients training challenges. The best enhancements, however, are a direct result of recommendations from clients. TargetSolutions welcomes and encourages clients to provide feedback so it can continue to deliver the best, most powerful and productive tools for managing training.

“Our platform wouldn’t be what it is today if not for the feedback from clients,” said Day. “We have always listened to their ideas and worked to make our platform more functional for the people using it. We truly value the insight our clients have provided over the years because that is what has helped us create tools that help fire departments increase operational efficiencies and reduce costs.”

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions is the leading provider of web-based technology solutions for fire and EMS departments. These solutions enable departments to maintain compliance, reduce losses, deliver curriculum, and track all station-level tasks, certifications and training activities.

Creating Customized Activities with TargetSolutions Is Essential to El Dorado Irrigation District

The El Dorado Irrigation District in Northern California began operating in 1957, providing drinking water for homes, schools and businesses, as well as recycled water from its wastewater treatment plants to irrigate residential and public landscapes. Water is an essential link within El Dorado County and continues to be an important cog in shaping the county’s economic, ecological and cultural face.

The organization needs a simple and reliable pathway to distribute and track various training requirements. With the organization managing water, wastewater, hydroelectric plants and recreation centers, El Dorado Irrigation District has utilized TargetSolutions since 2009 for organizing and manually setting up training schedules for multiple departments.

“The main reason we use TargetSolutions – and it has been awesome – is to record any type of training our employees have had, including personnel documents,” says Human Resources Technician Dianne Matteson.

“We first started using it for the Sexual Harassment and the drug and alcohol courses for employees and supervisors, workplace diversity, and workplace violence. As we gained momentum, we started creating our own activities. With the Activities Builder application, we have come up with 100 or so activities.”

TargetSolutions has enabled El Dorado Irrigation District to build “custom activities” that cater to specific needs and requirements of the organization. One particular activity this organization has created includes safety inspection lists for managers to record data when inspecting various areas of the plant.

“When creating activities it is easy to do and manage,” Matteson said. “You can add components to it like ‘text’ and ‘certificates.’ ”

From the finance department to the organizations engineers, El Dorado Irrigation District’s employees need to remain compliant with standards that are required by OSHA and wastewater management. With the powerful reporting application the organization is able to generate weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports for supervisors to provide them with vital statistics on incompletion or completions of courses and policies.

The TargetSolutions report generator has saved El Dorado Irrigation District many hours or manual recordkeeping. Eliminating file cabinets and keeping records of training, certificates and personnel documents within the platforms File Center helps the organization make data easily accessible.

In order to avoid fines of thousands of dollars, El Dorado Irrigation District trains, tracks and reports online with TargetSolutions. With OSHA checking on the organization periodically, the report generator is able to provide accurate and detailed documentation of course completions.

“TargetSolutions is wonderful,” Matteson said. “If people aren’t using it or have never used it before, they should definitely give it a chance because it is probably one of the best programs I’ve used.”

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions is the leading provider of web-based technology solutions for fire and EMS departments. These solutions enable departments to maintain compliance, reduce losses, deliver curriculum, and track all station-level tasks, certifications and training activities.

West Pierce Fire Rescue Reaps Huge Benefits from TargetSolutions’ Powerful Tracking Applications

In years past, West Pierce Fire & Rescue in Lakewood, Wash., faced numerous challenges managing its records and maintaining compliant. With seven stations it was extremely difficult meeting requirements without a comprehensive and powerful training management platform.

“We had a records management system that was not user-friendly,” said Captain Jay Sumerlin, who is responsible for ensuring the department is properly trained and is using its available resources to become the best, most efficient department possible. “We would have to type in every class individually. It offered no starting point.”

The complicated process did not end with the department’s old and cumbersome computerized system. Sumerlin also had to manage various paper files the old-fashioned way, which was extremely difficult and time consuming.

“Some stuff was on paper, some was online,” said Sumerlin. “We were relying on two or three different platforms to track training records.”

With the training demands that are placed on fire departments at a national and state level, depending on numerous tracking methods to maintain compliance was becoming increasingly inefficient for West Pierce Fire & Rescue. Fortunately it found an affordable and viable option for increasing efficiencies and maintaining compliance in TargetSolutions in July of 2010.

“TargetSolutions gave us the ability to schedule classes for individuals and hold them accountable for training,” Sumerlin said. It is great for tracking exactly who did what and when they did it.

The first-hand experience of dealing with the difficulties of using multiple sources to track training and maintain compliance makes Sumerlin grateful that TargetSolutions provides a platform that brings everything together.

“The best part is that it puts everything in one place,” Sumerlin said.

Sumerlin also enjoys the overall functionality TargetSolutions offers. With tools like e-signatures, sending out documents and ensuring they have been read is simple.

“Whenever there’s a change to a policy, we send it out through TargetSolutions and each member can check the box that lets us know that they have read and accept the new policy – whereas before, we would have to set aside time in meetings to give them the new policy and then have them sign a piece of paper saying that they read it,” said Sumerlin. “With all of those paper files, who knows where they all ended up.”

West Pierce Fire & Rescue also takes advantage of Web Events, which is an additional service TargetSolutions offers for departments to conduct live training exercises without having to take personnel out of their stations for group sessions.

“We use Web Events to host online meetings that we broadcast live to all of our stations and then create courses that coincide with the lesson,” said Sumerlin. “This keeps everyone at their stations, which shortens response times and makes them that much closer to potentially saving lives.”

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions is the leading provider of web-based technology solutions for fire and EMS departments. These solutions enable departments to maintain compliance, reduce losses, deliver curriculum, and track all station-level tasks, certifications and training activities.

The Time Has Come, TargetSolutions Is Switching All Clients to Upgraded Platform in December

If you’ve been waiting to make the switch to TargetSolutions’ new platform, the time has come. Over the next few weeks, TargetSolutions will be transferring all of its remaining clients who haven’t switched to the upgraded system yet. All sites will be updated by Friday, Dec. 14.

For those who have waited – get ready for a whole new experience. TargetSolutions is confident you’re going to love the new features.

“The reaction has been tremendous,” said Jenny Fergason, who serves as TargetSolutions’ Director of Client Services. “The clients are finding it to be more intuitive and easier to navigate. Our tech team really did a great job enhancing the platform.”

Clients already on the system have gushed over the systems look and functionality. It is more engaging and user friendly, with many new features, like the web-based Help System, the ability to notify a user the minute a new assignment has been assigned, a real-time progress dashboard and more robust reporting capabilities. They are also enjoying the recent upgrades to the File Center and the new Shift Calendar, while users have benefited from the new Notification System.

“The ability to pin credentials to the top of the schedule on the home page is really simplifying the process for users,” Fergason said. “Now, when they login to the website, they immediately know where to go and what they have to do. It’s just more engaging and effective.”

The new system was first made available in late 2011 and TargetSolutions has systematically moved clients over. But the time has come for a mandatory switch, Fergason said.

We are confident in the upgrades to the system and know you’ll enjoy the benefits of our new system, Fergason said.

TargetSolutions’ Client Services team is always ready to answer questions at (800) 840-8048.

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions is the leading provider of web-based technology solutions for fire and EMS departments. These solutions enable departments to maintain compliance, reduce losses, deliver curriculum, and track all station-level tasks, certifications and training activities.

Clients Find Exactly What They Need with Fire Department File Sharing in TargetSolutions’ Community Resources

Tim Riley still remembers the first time he was able to put TargetSolutions to work for his organization. It was late in the summer of 2009 and H1N1 was in the news on a daily basis. The powerful influenza virus was reaching pandemic proportions when Riley, formerly the training chief with the Pinellas Park Fire Department in Florida, was tasked with testing out his organizations new online training system.

“It didn’t take him long to realize the departments new training management platform was going to make his job easier.”

“We were just coming on board and I was told to go back and play with it,” Riley said. “The first thing I took a look at was Community Resources. I just did a quick search on H1N1 and low and behold, there was the exact type of PowerPoint I was looking for from a department in California. I immediately saved it to my desktop, changed the references of California to Florida, changed the references of earthquakes to hurricanes, and assigned it to my people. I knew right then and there Community Resources was going to be a tremendous tool.”

Riley was instantly enamored with Community Resources because it keeps training officers from having to recreate the wheel every time, he said.

“There are so many things that have been shared in Community Resources, its truly an invaluable tool,” said Riley, who now works as a Product Specialist with TargetSolutions and is responsible for helping TargetSolutions build its ISO Tracking solution. “We’re all trying to do more with less. This is one way we can help each other do that – by sharing resources that can be customized for different departments.”

The two highest-rated resources, which were posted in August of 2009, are still the most popular with TargetSolutions’ network of users. Together the two resources have been viewed more than 11,000 times and have been utilized by more than 100 organizations.

Jeff Clyons, who worked as SDFDs assistant training officer when the videos were created, said his department’s firefighters were having issues with ventilation, so it attacked the issue with a multi-pronged training approach. The department spent three months focusing on ventilation by incorporating the PowerPoint and video with in-station drills and an in-service training session where crews had the chance to work with chainsaws during a manipulative drill.

“We realized our recruits had learned one way to cut a hole in a roof and we realized when they got out in operations, that one way was restricting their ability to do other things,” said Clyons. “It was limiting what our personnel were doing when it came to ventilating a roof. So we wanted to teach our existing personnel multiple ways to do this. We wanted to raise the bar on our ability to use a saw and raise the bar on cutting holes. Our message was well received. I think it assisted people who were tactile learners, people who were visual learners, and people who were auditory learners. They all had a chance and it hit all the senses, so we definitely felt retention was better.”

There are literally hundreds of resources thanks to fire department file sharing in the repository and with such a powerful search engine, clients can usually locate the topics they are seeking. In fact, Community Resources has been nicknamed, Google on steroids for firefighters.

“The search engine is helpful if you go into it looking for a certain topic, like forcible entry, or something – you will find material in there,” said Wes Djuplin, who is a firefighter/instructor with the Kenosha Fire Department in Wisconsin.

With such a tremendous tool for finding material to help with teaching and keeping firefighters prepared for duty, clients are benefiting from TargetSolutions.

“Community Resources is a way for instructors to network and share information,” said Eddie Buchanan, who is the Past President of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors. “If there is a program they have done that they are proud of, they can put it out there for everyone to use. They can also look at what others have done for some help. It’s really a great way to share in a community setting. I think firefighters are just very resourceful and when something benefits them they’ll try to find a way to put it to good use.”

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions is the leading provider of web-based technology solutions for fire and EMS departments. These solutions enable departments to maintain compliance, reduce losses, deliver curriculum, and track all station-level tasks, certifications and training activities.

‘Phenomenal’ Recordkeeping Tools Make Training Management Easier for Haines City Fire & Rescue

Like all fire departments, Haines City Fire & Rescue is looking to achieve total excellence in its daily operations. The department is continuously striving to improve so it can better serve the growing community of more than 38,000 citizens (during winter) in Haines City, Fla. With two stations and 30 personnel members – doing more with less is a philosophy the department has learned to accept.

But in order for the department to reach its optimum efficiency, Capt. Kim Miller must ensure each individual is properly trained and that all of the departments records are up to date and well organized.

Maintaining an accurate training file for each individual without a powerful system like TargetSolutions hinders the efficiency of any department. Miller knows as well as anybody how difficult and time-consuming it is to manually track training records.

“In the past, I had to check with each individual daily to get their training information and manually enter it into a spreadsheet. The process was extremely time-consuming,” Miller said. “That method of tracking individual training also makes it difficult to ensure that the reports are completely accurate.”

The department needed a solution that would put an end to yesteryears time-consuming and outdated system of manual recordkeeping. With the implementation of TargetSolutions in 2010, Haines City Fire & Rescue found its answer – transforming a once inefficient process into one of the department’s greatest strengths.

“The recordkeeping is absolutely phenomenal,” said Miller. “The accuracy and simplicity of TargetSolutions is outstanding.”

Managing records has never been easier for Capt. Miller, who feels confident the utilization of TargetSolutions will enhance the departments ISO rating whenever its next audit is conducted. Miller has already seen the benefits TargetSolutions offers with an easy-to-use application for tracking training specifically created for ISO purposes.

“It will definitely improve our ISO rating,” Miller said. “It only takes 10 minutes to generate reports for every shift captain to let them know exactly what they need to do for ISO by the end of the year. The speed is amazing.”

Haines City Fire & Rescue is not only benefiting from TargetSolutions by efficiently managing records – it also extensively uses the platform and more than 250 hours of Fire and EMS recertification courses to provide online training for personnel.

“We get so much training,” said Miller. “We assign at least six TargetSolutions courses every month. I call it ‘free training’ because the records management aspect of the platform alone is worth the price. All of the training that comes with it is a bonus.”

About TargetSolutions
Founded in 1999, TargetSolutions is the leader in online training and records management for public entities. More than 2,000 organizations across the country use our technology to solve their training needs. We work hard every day to understand our clients’ challenges and deliver powerful tools that save time and money.

Customer Driven Innovation Fuels TargetSolutions’ Online Training and Records Management System

TargetSolutions has always listened to the recommendations of its clients. The reason is simple: You know your job better than we do. As a result, you know how our online training and records management system can help you the most.

“Our platform wouldn’t be what it is today if not for the feedback from clients,” said TargetSolutions’ Vice President of Operations Alex Day. “We have always listened to their ideas and worked to make our platform more functional for the people using it. We truly value the insight our clients have provided over the years because that is what has helped us create tools that help fire departments increase operational efficiencies and reduce costs.”

There is no greater example of TargetSolutions listening to its clients’ requests than the creation of the ISO Training Tracker, which was built with the help of Tim Riley and Guy Keirn of the Pinellas County Training Group. Riley and Keirn worked with TargetSolutions during the early stages of the tools development in 2010, and today the ISO Training Tracker is one of the most popular features inside the TargetSolutions platform.

“We’re extremely grateful to the Pinellas County Training Group for giving us great insight and helping us create a robust application,” Day said. “Our ISO Training Tracker helps departments automatically accumulate proper documentation for their next ISO audit. It makes the entire process easier.”

Riley, who now works with TargetSolutions as a product specialist and previously worked for the Dunedin Fire Department in Florida, was like most other training chiefs who have suffered multiple headaches preparing for an ISO audit. The simple fact is that if records are not collected properly, departments will not receive Class 1 status from ISO. But thanks to Riley, Keirn and other clients who offered advice, there is now a better way through TargetSolutions.

TargetSolutions provides access to customizable ISO training record template for training officers to deliver to employees. After that they can rest confidently knowing the industry’s most powerful records management system will automatically track completions and generate detailed reports, eliminating the hassle of searching through endless paper stacks and spreadsheets.

“This has really streamlined the process for ISO inspections,” Riley said. “In years past, you’d have to take all your records as best you could, pull everything out and pour through everything. But with the Training Tracker you can be proactive instead of reactive. You know the answers before ISO gets there. This keeps you from being blindsided by deficiencies in training records. It’s an incredible tool. It really makes peoples jobs easier.”

The ISO Training Tracker and ISO training record template are just the beginning. Credentials Manager in 2009 and the platforms major interface overhaul in 2011 were a few other monumental accomplishments fueled by the recommendations of clients. To continue receiving this type of feedback, TargetSolutions created a web-based Enhancement Request Form earlier this year so clients would have an efficient way to contact TargetSolutions and suggest improvements to the platform.

“Our tech team has traditionally heard about what we should do next from our account managers,” said TargetSolutions’ Product Manager Misty Pratt. “But the enhancement request form gives us a way to track requests and prioritize what projects should come next more effectively. Our goal has always been to constantly improve our platform. And what advice is better than that of clients who are using it every day?”

A recent success involved a request to allow e-mail notifications to be sent when courses are assigned. By July, this particular request jumped to the front of the line based on feedback received. TargetSolutions was able to build and release this feature in August. The month before, TargetSolutions released improved reporting functionality, based on the feedback from Jay Sumerlin of West Pierce Fire and Rescue in Washington.

Improved functionality of the home pages Bulletin Board, the File Center Upload Tool and the soon-to-be-released User Selector upgrades also came out of the Enhancement Request Form. At the end of the day, TargetSolutions is committed to providing the industry’s most useful applications that streamline training management and increase operational efficiency. We know that paying attention to our clients’ wishes is the best way to make that happen.

“Listening to our clients is our No. 1 priority,” said TargetSolutions’ Client Services Manager Kelly Zielinski. “We take what they say seriously and we are focused on building tools that they will benefit from in a timely fashion and then communicating the upgrades to our clients. What we hear from our clients is the best way for us to learn what we should build next.”

About TargetSolutions
Founded in 1999, TargetSolutions is the leader in online training and records management for public entities. More than 2,000 organizations across the country use our technology to solve their training needs. We work hard every day to understand our clients’ challenges and deliver powerful tools that save time and money.

Manage Credentials Tool: The Ultimate Way to Achieve Total Compliance

As an employer, you are responsible for ensuring that your employees are legally qualified to perform their job functions. To keep them safe and minimize your organization’s exposure, TargetSolutions has developed the Manage Credentials application.

With this easy-to-use tool, you can track the status of:

>> EMS certifications
>> Firefighter and police job qualifications
>> Compliance tasks
>> Drivers licenses and auto insurance
>> Virtually any type of data that includes a date or identification number

You can also use the Manage Credentials application to create, deliver and record organization-specific certifications that include:

>> TargetSolutions online training courses
>> Your organizations own courses and training materials
>> Other web-based assignments and tests

The Manage Credentials application gives you complete control over what certifications you create and what training components are necessary for the employee to fulfill. It also allows you to:

>> Define areas of training – and their corresponding training hours.

>> Categorize training (Medical, Fire Qualifications, OSHA Compliance, Certifications, etc.).
>> Send automated alerts to the credential holder and others in the organization.
>> Quickly see the status of all credentials, with the ability to easily filter data.

For more information on the Manage Credentials application, please check the Help section inside the platform or contact your TargetSolutions account manager at (800) 840-8048.