The $6,000 Question
Time and attendance vendor Vitrix gains a customer by replacing a sports nutrition manufacturer's pen-and-paper labor-tracking system. Step number one in providing the new solution was asking the right questions.
Though sports-nutrition manufacturer, M.D. Labs, touted its products as "the future of sports supplements," its labor management system was a thing of the past. M.D. Labs' outdated pen-and-paper method was overdue for an overhaul when the company started shopping for an automated solution. After conducting preliminary fact-finding studies, the 50-employee company approached time and attendance vendor Vitrix with a rough outline of labor management problems.
Founded in 1995, Vitrix develops time and attendance products including software, networks, badge readers and biometric identification. Vitrix uses a network of more than 100 resellers, but installed the M.D. Labs system directly because both companies are located in Tempe, AZ.
Needs Revealed During Q&A Session
"M.D. Labs knew it needed an automated solution to fix its time and attendance headaches," said Jayson Roberts, Vitrix's regional accounts manager. "More and more time was being spent on payroll, benefits and other human resources issues. They just didn't know how to go about fixing their problems."
Though M.D. Labs' immediate problem was tracking employee time and benefits, Vitrix learned the real obstacle was expediting its entire payroll process. Vitrix initially asked M.D. Labs a series of questions to better understand the customer's needs. It was a learning process for both Vitrix and the customer.
"If our customers knew exactly what they wanted, they could go to our online store and buy it," said Hamid Shojaee, information technology director for Vitrix. "In cases like M.D. Labs', the customer says, ‘We need a time and attendance solution.' That's where we start asking questions such as: how many employees, are they hourly or salaried, are they manufacturing or professional, and how many have access to a computer. Based on the information gathered, we determine if we can solve the problem best through software, a badge reader, or biometrics."
Vitrix and M.D. Labs determined two major problems: the DOS-based (and thus, not Year-2000 compliant) software needed to be upgraded, and buddy punching needed to be eliminated. Buddy punching, the act of one employee punching a time clock for an absent employee, can cost a company hundreds of dollars per worker.
Solution Acquires, Organizes Data
After a series of meetings during a one-month period, Vitrix recommended two time and attendance kits be integrated with its HourTrack 98 software. A QuickSwipe ATS-3000 bar-code badge reader was installed for the sales and management department. A QuickTouch biometric unit was installed in the manufacturing area, where buddy punching was more prevalent. QuickTouch uses a SecureScan two-finger geometry device that eliminates buddy punching by using biometrics as a form of identification verification.
Vitrix's QuickSwipe and QuickTouch kits track time, attendance and benefits. They also include an employee scheduler, job-tracking functionality, and more than 30 reports to organize the collected data.
Only one week elapsed from the time M.D. Labs decided to make a purchase to the time its system was running. Training the M.D. Labs staff how to operate the new system took just one day. The most challenging aspect of the sale was customizing the HourTrack software, which originally did not generate some required M.D. Labs reports. Vitrix solved the problem by exporting data and then using MicroSoft Excel to organize the data. The next version of HourTrack, released shortly after the M.D. Labs installation, included that added functionality.
"How Do You Like It?"
Shojaee said that the system Vitrix uses for tracking customer satisfaction is considerably simpler than the automated systems it installs. "We don't keep statistics or gather data," he said. "We just talk to customers. We ask, ‘How do you like it?' They tell us."
Hooman Nikzad, CEO of M.D. Labs, compliments the Vitrix system. "Vitrix provided us with a solution that will grow with our company," Nikzad said. "As we expand our facilities and add locations, the networking ability of the system becomes a huge plus. The device has not only helped automate the entire system, but it has completely eliminated our buddy-punching problem. The buddy-punching savings alone paid for the system (which cost $6,000) within the first three months of operation."
That means M.D. Labs is saving about $90 a day — approximately $24,000 over the course of one year — with the new system. Is Vitrix pleased to add M.D. Labs to its customer list? Yes — without question.