Payroll in a Comprehensive ERP Software System Saves Manufacturer Time and Money
Wisconsin Plastics, Inc. (WPI) is a full service manufacturer in the Green Bay, Wisconsin area with four divisions and 230 employees. Pleased with the increased success it has experienced at its company since the adoption of IQMS’ manufacturing ERP software, EnterpriseIQ, WPI has embraced the philosophy of utilizing IQMS for as many of its day to day operations as possible (For a detailed look into WPI’s successful initial implementation of EnterpriseIQ, please read it’s earlier Case Study.).
WPI determined that introducing new modules at moderate intervals, rather than as a lump sum of new functionality all at once, works best for its business model and has been improving its operations at a steady rate.
In an effort to decrease maintenance costs from its legacy payroll system and have more individuals taking advantage of the EnterpriseIQ software, WPI recently selected to implement the payroll and time and attendance modules as its next improvement project. Because the single-database EnterpriseIQ system is so integrated, WPI found the transition to be seamless across its four facilities, a large time saver and very cost effective. In only three short months, WPI completely paid for the additional software modules for a rapid return on investment.
Here is a focused look at one small part of the EnterpriseIQ system and the difference two modules can make when they are part of a comprehensive system:
A Weekly Manual Affair
Before utilizing IQMS’ payroll and time and attendance modules, WPI was struggling with the ABRA™ Payroll system by Best Software. Unfortunately, the legacy software package was complicated to use, resulting in only a few people using it, and maintenance costs were expensive. Tax updates were not timely, the software lacked vacation accrual capability and getting standard reports of the system was difficult. To top it all off, quarter and year-end close outs had to be contracted with an outside vendor to ensure everything was completed.
But that’s not the worst of it. WPI’s former payroll process involved paper-based punch time cards that were printed out weekly for approximately 230 employees! At the end of each week, the paper time cards had to be collected, hand tabulated, sorted, totaled and verified. With no way to adjust for early or late punches, supervisors had to review each time card in detail and then the time cards had to be manually keyed into a spreadsheet for import into the payroll system – a very time intensive process for the accounting team as well as the supervisors who were required to spend valuable hours verifying the details.
To add flame to the fire, vacation and absence tracking was also a manual process. After reviewing the approximately 230 paper time cards, any vacations or absences were hand keyed into the old payroll software. But there was no tallying of vacation time accrual once entered, just a list of events in the legacy system. Add it all up and payroll processing at WPI was no small get together, but a rather extravagant affair.
A Paper Cut
After purchasing the payroll and time and attendance modules from IQMS, WPI participated in only two one-hour training sessions before they felt comfortable with the package. Because the IQMS system is comprehensive and all the modules are integrated (rather than third party disparate packages), WPI’s employees immediately felt comfortable with the new modules. Knowing how to maneuver around the system, rather than having to learn a new interface, is half the battle.
WPI no longer prints paper-based time cards. They have become completely digital and employees now sport modern badges complete with a personalized employee barcode and photo. With just the swipe of a badge, the IQMS payroll and time and attendance modules automatically adjust the clock in time to correspond to the shift start time.
Rather than review every single time interval, supervisors now need only review the exceptions, which can be done on a daily basis, rather than waiting until the end of the week. Pay weeks are no longer a laborious chore, as payroll can be processed in much shorter time periods because all the information has previously been verified online and does not need to be rekeyed. Additionally, vacation time accrual tracking went from a being non-existent functionality to being easily tracked.
“With the implementation of the IQMS payroll module, I have gained at least a day and a half of my work week,” said Allison Cornelissen, human resources assistant at WPI. “When we made the full conversion to IQMS, I was able to stop the manual entry of hours and process payroll in a much more efficient manner. The system is so user friendly and easy to learn, I only wish I had it sooner!”
A Seamless Transition
In only three short months, WPI completely paid for the price of the software. WPI was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to implement the new modules and was ready to launch earlier than anticipated. Since WPI had to wait until the quarter’s end to finish up the legacy system, they had employees utilizing the new system weeks ahead of time. This parallel system meant that when the actual “go live” date arrived, employees saw no change and the first payroll on IQMS was a seamless transition across all four plants.
Valuable time was WPI’s largest area of savings. Before, employees were spending three to four hours a week printing paper time cards and one to two hours per week keying information into the legacy system. Supervisors were spending three to four hours per week reviewing time card details. Today, supervisors only spend one to two hours a week and other employees tasked with payroll have saved one and a half days (approximately $10,000 per year!)
In addition to the massive time savings, WPI also experienced cost savings. Besides the environmental benefits, WPI now saves $3,000 per year in paper costs by eliminating paper-based time cards. Maintenance fees for the legacy payroll system were more than $4,000 per year, and that did not include any integration with IQMS. WPI now pays less than a quarter of that cost for a better system.
A seamless transition across four plants, cheaper, easier to use and significant time savings … now those are phrases WPI can succeed by.
WPI’s next business improvement project focuses on increasing shop floor control with IQMS’ RTStation device. Designed for easy data input and operator feedback, the RTStation is a rugged, touch screen product that becomes an IQMS user interface at each shop floor work center. Complete with tools to clock in and out, log rejects, print work orders and view a graphical representation of machine downtime and real-time production details, the RTStation will help WPI further enhance daily operations and improve operational efficiencies.