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Reduce Your Costs Through Automated Labor

Through fully automated labor data integration and tracking, Briggs & Stratton was able to significantly reduce costs.

Through fully automated labor data integration and tracking, Briggs & Stratton was able to significantly able to reduce costs.

With 9 U.S. locations, 6000 employees globally, and an average production of 10 million engines per year, Briggs & Stratton is the world's largest producer of gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment. Several years ago, the company determined that its manual and paper solutions were no longer viable, and decided to seek a highly efficient and intuitive solution to integrate all its workforce management functions.

In 2005, the company selected a comprehensive workforce management solution, the Workforce Central (WFC) suite, from global software company, Kronos Incorporated. The Kronos solution met Briggs & Stratton's three primary criteria. It was affordable, extensible, and easy to use.

"By adopting workforce management software, we were able to successfully implement our strategy for diversification and rapid expansion into the marketplace," says Christopher Albanese, business analyst at Briggs & Stratton. "The software enabled automation and integration among timekeeping, absence management, employee scheduling, and smoothly integrated payroll with existing legacy payroll, financial, and ERP systems. Activities are now accurately tracked and updated in the ERP system, making the entire process very simple and intuitive for employees to use at all our locations."

Integrating labor costs for full-time employees and contractors under a single system was part of the winning formula. With Briggs & Stratton locations cycling up and down due to the seasonality of its products, it was crucial to determine how much temporary staffing was needed for each location. The software solution allowed Briggs & Stratton to pull hard data and project the cost of temporary labor on a weekly basis. It also supported integrated flex-staff invoicing, which helped the company save significant costs in flex-staffing.

"The most immediate benefit we experienced after implementation in the first year was a major reduction in overtime, giving us a quick return on our investment," says Albanese. "This, in turn, led to an increase in what we like to call 'effectivity,' which is a calculation of what productivity really costs in terms of regular, overtime, and double time hours. We now have the ability to track not only direct and indirect hours, but also overtime hours in a way we've never seen before."

By tracking indirect time of employees, especially downtime, associated costs and hours were automatically removed from production-related time, so managers knew the true cost of labor. In the first year alone, says Albanese, there was an 11 percent increase in effectivity, which translated into cost savings for the Company.

One of the most subtle, yet significant cost savings came from the use of rounding rules, which were applied consistently to all temporary and hourly employees. By capturing only a few minutes per person of early clocking in or late clocking out, costs savings can be achieved annually.

Before implementing Kronos, absentee reporting was tracked differently from one location to the next, making it one of the company's biggest reporting challenges. With the improved reporting provided by its workforce management software solution, Briggs & Stratton standardized the attendance policy and the way in which absentee reporting was captured across all locations. By using absentee tracking codes, such as sick time, personal time, and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), reports were generated in microscopic labor detail in real-time to reveal who was not there, and why.

With the Kronos software's ability to report detailed data on the shop floor, Briggs & Stratton was also able to see precisely which labor hours and dollars were caused by vendor defects, an improvement that led to annual savings related to vendor chargebacks.

With the software's accuracy in time tracking, schedule creation, and real-time visibility, the workforce management solution has enhanced compliance management and minimized risk with federal, state, union, and other labor laws and regulations. "Our auditors appreciate the program because the audit portion is so detailed," notes Albanese. "One screen shot and the audit is over."

After reaping multiple benefits and significant cost savings, greater compliance management, and widespread managerial acceptance, it's no surprise that the expansion and upgrade of the Kronos software solution remains a major operational objective for Briggs & Stratton in FY2012 and beyond.

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