Overview

A large refrigeration manufacturer based in the Southeast uses Kronos Workforce Central as its primary time management software allowing it to track employee actions involving hourly time and attendance. However, their Kronos system was outdated and didn’t provide the specific functions the company needed. To add these functions, the client engaged Surety Systems to assess and upgrade the systems at its Iowa and Georgia locations.

This project was implemented over several months and involved both in-person assessments by the project consultant as well as remote training and project delegation. Each location required an individualized approach for its upgrade. The project consultant decided that a phased software roll out would be necessary to help overall project visibility, maintain company organization and flow, and allow for a smooth transition throughout the process.

After upgrading each location’s software, the project consultant found a unique way to provide value and functionality to the Iowa location. Rather than having the client pay for the Workforce Activities module, the consultant presented an alternative solution that provided the same functionality at no additional cost. This creative solution, coupled with the unique one-to-one training approach used by the consultant, were a large part of the overall value provided to the client which would save them nearly $60,000 in software, licenses, and implementation costs.

At the end of the project, the new functionalities at both client locations were able to reduce the cost of materials, necessary manpower, and labor. The new modules installed provided a significant boost to client efficiency and administrative communication.

 

Challenge

While the older versions of Kronos were still effective, there were compatibility issues thereby making a consistent software version across locations necessary to prevent errors or glitches in the server. Surety worked closely with the client’s IT group to access database functions and gain the necessary privileges needed to integrate the new modules into the software.

Kronos Upgrade and Module Integration: Challenge

In addition, communication across multiple locations created some delay, due to there being multiple parties involved with the project. This barrier was minimized as Surety’s consultant was able to train management to act as their own on-site subject matter expert. This training was a critical part of upgrading the system architecture; lack of an on-site subject matter expert created usage challenges related to the more complicated functionality that was added to the existing system. The consultant was able to effectively work remotely to provide this training, saving the client the expense associated with bringing someone onsite.

 

Solution

As each client location needed specific functionality that its current software didn’t provide, Surety’s project consultant took a hands-on approach with each location to meet its unique needs.

The consultant began with an assessment of project goals and available resources.  The consultant collected activity statements of work and costs to determine what would need to go into a software upgrade. With this cursory knowledge, the project consultant suggested several strategies for process optimization with the help of available modules and began to phase this in.

Kronos Upgrade and Module Integration: Solution

For the Iowa location, these modules involved integration of time off and leave administration, as well as delegation of authority. Implementation of these modules came after upgrading the Iowa location from an unsupported version of Kronos to the more streamlined 7.0 version.  The Iowa location also received upgraded employee import functionality utilizing Workforce Integration Manager (WIM), along with innovative solutions to enhance its manufacturing capabilities.

The Georgia location required a system upgrade from Kronos WFC version 6.3 to 7.0, along with the implementation of the same modules as the Iowa location: leave administration, accrual calculations, time off requests, and delegation of authority.

Surety was able to take a one-to-one approach to this implementation process, providing specific training and documentation of the entire software upgrade for both locations. The teams at each location worked closely with the project consultant to discuss specific issues and barriers to implementation and applied feedback when necessary. Rather than simply directing the process, the project consultant worked to integrate herself into the client’s workforce as a team member. This allowed her to understand the specific needs and challenges with day-to-day software operation, as well as the best way to apply each new module for overall project success.

This project was implemented in two phases:

  1. In phase one, the actual software platform was upgraded. This was necessary to prevent software errors and operability issues that may have occurred when trying to integrate modules into potentially incompatible software versions.
  2. In phase two, time off requests, leave administration, accruals, and delegation of authority were implemented. During the system go-live for the upgrade, the consultant utilized Setup Data Manager (SDM) to manage copy of configuration changes between environments.

These project phases relied on a comprehensive understanding of the client’s software systems and internal employee workforce. The project consultant’s level of immersion created a streamlined system of communication among the Kronos system and the two client locations, allowing the project consultant to reveal inefficient practices and communication errors. Building this client relationship helped the client’s employee teams feel comfortable and involved with the infrastructure changes being made. This created a sense of pride and ownership over the process. This set the stage for collaborations between the client and Surety Systems in the future.

 

Results

Though the initial software systems provided enough functionality to meet client needs, Surety Systems was able to upgrade the systems and greatly expand the client’s service capabilities.

The time management, payroll processing, and benefit accrual modules that were added to the newly updated Kronos Workforce software allowed both client locations to better manage their administrative needs. These systems removed the need for much of the manual administrative labor that characterized the client’s previous payroll and time management systems. The modules that handled time off requests for hourly and salaried employees significantly reduced the need for inefficient paper processes that were a drain on time and company resources.

Surety Systems was very efficient and effective in upgrading our Kronos system and training our team on the new functionality implemented. They also saved us money by utilizing our current modules to achieve our business goals. Surety has proven to be a valued partner by not only being Kronos experts, but more importantly by keeping our best-interests at heart.

Enterprise IT Project Manager

The project consultant was focused on providing value to the client during every step of the process rather than up selling the client on software it didn’t need. Surety was able to leverage a Workforce Activities module analogue for the Kronos system to create specific management functionality without the need to purchase an additional module. Rather than suggesting that the client purchase and integrate this Activities module out of the box, the project consultant was able to leverage existing software functions to provide many of the same features as the new module would—saving the client nearly $60,000 in software, licenses, and implementation costs.

The upgrades provided by Surety Systems and the Kronos project consultant did more than just update the client system—they provided cost-saving solutions that will increase the efficiency of processes and reduce administrative management costs.