Baker Triangle http://www.bakerdrywall.com
After 35 years of collecting time sheets the old-fashioned way, BakerTriangle (in 2009) decided to replace paper timesheets for their 1500+ workers with the most modern mobile data collection system available. This decision came after six months of searching for the right solution to fit BakerTriangle’s diverse operational needs, and to efficiently track employees working dozens of jobs all over the US.
BakerTriangle is the leading drywall, ceiling, and plaster specialty contractor in the southwest with sales in excess of $130 million in 2009 (placing them 12th in revenue among wall/ceiling firms in the US). Kenneth E. Sewell (Director of Technology, BakerTriange) was responsible for the system selection. After eliminating “less capable companies and solutions”, Sewell decided that AboutTime was the “best solution on the market.”
When asked why he selected AboutTime above all the other time and attendance solutions available, Sewell replied, “AboutTime was more progressive and flexible than any of the others.”
[Click Here to read the full article from the GCA TechBrief, “TIME AND ATTENDANCE SOFTWARE CHOICES”]
Sewell quickly eliminated systems with adverse characteristics, like:
• Reliance on overseas, or outsourced development and/or support,
• Dependence on a single device, or a single carrier,
• Associated too closely with a single payroll processing company,
• Requirement for all employees to have devices, and
• Requirement to be continuously connected to the Internet or other networks
There weren’t many choices left!
“I looked at about 15 different companies and ultimately selected AboutTime,” he said. “Not all vendors have construction customers– but that does not stop vendors from claiming they do!”
“Our executive group started off thinking we would supply barcodes to all of our employees. ‘Let’s give every guy an ID badge and we can scan them in,’ we thought. Then I visited a large company using barcode badges and closely examined the process. They bar-coded and scanned ID badges, but it just wasn’t very impressive. Worse, they still experienced some of the same problems that we were trying to solve, such as ‘buddy punching’ (clocking in for a friend), lack of accounting software integration, and other major issues, too.”
Sewell found something better. “Then we began exploring ‘fingerprinting’ (AboutTime’s biometric solution), and once we discovered that it was both reliable and productive we changed our requirements.”
“I won’t forget the day when it all came together. We could give our foremen inexpensive netbooks and efficiently finger-scan our guys to clock in and out. We found there was really only one company that could do the job well this way–AboutTime.”
“We also liked the fact AboutTime didn’t restrict us to just one device or platform, but offered us different operating systems optimized for the most popular devices.”
Making this a successful transition was a high priority. “We wanted our project to start simple. After our employees mastered the simple tasks, we added more controls, increased data collected, and improved functionality.”
“With AboutTime we have a partner that helps us through integration challenges, workflow changes, and even personnel challenges. The way we operate today may not be the way we run tomorrow. But AboutTime has the kind of built-in flexibility that can change with BakerTriangle every step of the way.”
Productivity and reliability are constant requirements. “BakerTriangle wanted to use biometrics to collect fingerprints to clock their workers into a job. So we bought netbooks for 150 of our foremen,” Kenneth says. “When you’ve got 1500 employees waiting to clock in on 75+ jobsites, the system must work every time.”
Ease of use continues to be a constant, critical requirement as well. "The system had to be intuitive. And the shear scope of deploying 150 new computers out to guys who may have never really used computers would have been a challenge, too. We didn't hire our foremen because of their computer skills. However, AboutTime is 'point and click.' On the second day of timekeeping at the 32-story 'W Hotel' in downtown Austin of one of our large jobsites, we clocked in 80 employees in less than 15 minutes. Everyone was amazed!"
This Westin "W Hotel" is a “landmark within a landmark”, one in a series of innovative, modern buildings consisting of 37 hotels and retreats in one of the most vibrant cities and exotic destinations in the world– Austin, Texas. BakerTriangle craftspersons uniquely outfit each hotel room and floor, creating exquisite, innovative spaces, while AboutTime keeps tabs on everyone's time, units produced, and specific tasks.
While accurate time collection was BakerTriangle's first key issue, quickly importing data directly into their SAGE TIMBERLINE OFFICE accounting system was equally important. Payroll is processed in a fraction of the time with more accurate data collected with “true” employee punches IN and OUT from AboutTime.
"I visited another vendor's customer and was horrified to see the lack of integration with their accounting software," Sewell recounted. "That customer had to manually enter each employee, job, and cost information into their time and attendance software and again into their accounting software. This wasted time and introduced errors. So we learned that at a minimum, we did not want to reenter employee and job information."
In addition to capturing accurate time, other critical data is collected from the foremen in AboutTime. Examples include the job location, specific cost codes, field notes, and job site photos. Data that is automatically captured and associated with the job location and labor include weather information (from weather.com) and the gps location of employees when punching in and out.
With several new, large projects coming in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, and Fort Hood– potentially employing about 200-300 men at each site– "AboutTime has been huge in terms of trying to keep accounting straight for our seven different companies, all divisions and joint ventures working on one project. That's why we integrated AboutTime with our SAGE TIMBERLINE OFFICE, envisioning that anybody can clock IN on one clock, and clock OUT on another clock– no matter where those clocks might be.”
"Our team went with the one vendor we felt was most progressive. We have been extremely pleased with our selection. BakerTriangle is already seeing the benefits of electronic time and attendance and would recommend every contractor see how it can work for their company, too."
As a final endorsement, Kenneth offers this sage advice: "Time and attendance can save your company many tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. If you are looking for the best ways to manage labor costs in a down economy, AboutTime might be right for you, too.".