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Integrated Timekeeping System Controls Labor Costs

A more flexible, integrated timekeeping system helps Country Maid monitor labor costs and manage employees.

Old timekeeping systemCountry Maid, Inc., based in West Bend, Iowa, is the manufacturer of Butter Braid pastries, a product nonprofit organizations use in fundraising efforts.

The company strives to maintain a consistent quality throughout the production process. “When you’re dealing with a bread dough or a high-quality pastry dough product, consistency is king for quality,” says Darin Massner, chief operating officer for Country Maid.

While the company consistently manufactured quality product, workforce productivity and labor costs were becoming an issue. An inflexible timekeeping system permitted only two shifts and led to higher labor costs. In an effort to boost efficiency, Country Maid searched for an automated timekeeping system and chose  the time and attendance solution from Chelmsford, Mass.-based Kronos Incorporated.

“In implementing Kronos, we decided to do things better than we used to do in the past. We weren’t just doing a straight replacement. We were going to take care of the shortcomings we had in the former process,” says Massner. This companywide reorganization set three key goals: gain insight into how each dollar of labor was actually being spent, facilitate multiple wage-rate differentials and manage employees more effectively.

The Kronos solution helped achieve these goals by allowing the pastry manufacturer to create varying shift start and stop times. This change also resulted in higher workforce productivity.

Because Country Maid’s former timekeeping system was not integrated with its Microsoft Dynamics® GP ERP system, management had no visibility into the distribution of its labor costs. Timekeeping data often “dropped” between the former PC-based collection device and the ERP system. To make matters worse, the gloves that factory workers wore on the shop floor made the touch-screen-only data-collection device unreliable. These inconsistencies made it impossible for Country Maid to make effective decisions about its workforce.

Now the Kronos time and attendance solution is integrated with the company’s Microsoft Dynamics GP ERP system. Country Maid is able to allocate all of its labor costs among five user-defined dimensions: company, department, work area, product line level, and position. The company now has the power to zero in on any potential area of concern and take action to optimize its workforce.

Managers can now run reports directly from Kronos and export routines to the Dynamics GP ERP system. The integration of the Kronos solution with Dynamics GP also means employee time data is automatically imported directly into the company’s payroll system.

The company also uses Kronos to automate compensation levels. When workers move from department to department, they are automatically paid the appropriate wages according to the jobs they perform, as opposed to the manual payroll process in the past. “We knew we were making mistakes in the older system,” says Massner. “Now, with Kronos, we have our confidence way, way up.”

As part of the Kronos rollout, Country Maid installed Kronos biometric terminals, adding finger-scan technology. The Kronos terminals verify employees’ unique identities during the data collection process, so “employees know that their punches are getting into the system. Incorrect punches have all but been eliminated. I don’t think we’ve had one yet,” Massner comments.

To help in its rise to the top, Country Maid is looking to roll out more Kronos functionality elsewhere in its operations. As it grows, Country Maid will be looking into the absence manager solution from Kronos to help manage the processes and control the costs associated with employee leave. “There are so many ways we can go with Kronos to further enhance our implementation,” says Massner. “We recognize that there is still a lot of opportunity on the table.”

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