With offices in six states and work throughout the Midwest and West Coast, KS Industries has a lot of work and processes to manage throughout the organization. As the company grew, it realized that manual processes that once worked in the past were no longer efficient in today’s fact-based construction and energy sectors.
Lack of a streamlined payroll, HR and employee management processes were causing headaches and delays between the field and office. KS Industries was also buried in paperwork and spending extra time and resources to sort through it all.
When the company began evaluating options to digitize processes and move to a more paperless office, even more inefficiencies were discovered. “I was shocked to find out that things like our vacation requests were still being written on paper, handed to a supervisor that may or may not have made a way to HR, and they would manually input that into a work schedule,” said Project Coordinator Aaron Silberberg. “It was just a very labor-intensive, open to error process.”
There were complicated processes for payroll and invoices that resulted in a lot of handwritten invoices.
“We had one person tasked to just deal with tendered welders that we had out in the field in our different locations,” said Business Solutions Manager Michele Ramirez. “We had a lot of wasted time in that resource because she was just constantly having to audit and try to make sure that these guys were paid properly.”
In addition to the overhead in time and potential for errors, the costs of printing checks, employee notifications and materials, postage and other items were adding up. KS Industries knew it needed a better solution.
“The field guys are asking to use the Viewpoint products. They’re comfortable with it. It’s clean-looking, it’s simple for them. And that’s the key: simple is best for our guys out in the field. I mean, their work is complicated enough — they don’t want to have to think about it a lot.”
Longtime Viewpoint clients, KS Industries had been using Vista as its enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform for years and sent Silberberg to Viewpoint’s Collaborate User Conference for additional product training. There, he was introduced to a number of solutions that provided easy-to-use browser interfaces with Vista to streamline processes and better connect the office and field as his team had been seeking.
“I was just thinking to myself, ‘this is a no-brainer,’” Silberberg said, who presented the proposed solutions to senior management after further vetting. KS Industries adopted Viewpoint HR Management and Viewpoint Field Management solutions to automate their payroll and employee management processes as well as streamline work between the office and field for purchase orders, invoices, paid time off and more.
And, since all Viewpoint modules feed directly into Vista, KS Industries is able to pull information in the office directly from workers in the field — especially valuable in regard to contract workers or creative payment arrangements when renting hours from welders.
“What the Viewpoint products did for us is actually automate that process” Ramirez said.“The portal pulls that into payroll and creates an invoice for the welders. The welders go out to the portal, they make sure that their time is right because they know what they worked and what they didn’t, they approve it, and that feeds directly into the AP. Our guys get paid weekly now, and they’re happy.”
Ramirez said that the company now does all of its open enrollment through Viewpoint HR Management, which has saved significant time and paperwork. With 1,500-plus employees needing attention during those periods, KS Industries used to spend weeks sorting through all of the paperwork manually to meet deadlines. Now, that entire process is automated and simple.
“One of the nice things that the portal has allowed us to do is to put our employee handbook out there for everyone,” Ramirez said. “We’ve made it to where the employee has to acknowledge it. It’s nice to just be able to tell them ‘Hey, go out to your portal, the handbook is out there.’ It saves us a lot cost-wise. You don’t have to print out a bunch of books.” Nor does the company have to mail W-2s, as those are available for employees on the portal as well.
“We went from having a four-person team handling administrative functions to a three-person team, and that fourth person is now being utilized elsewhere in the company.”
Silberberg and Ramirez said implementing the two Viewpoint portals has resulted in a complete change for the bulk of the company’s administrative processes.
“Now that we’ve gone completely to Viewpoint HR Management for sick and the vacation requests, none of that stuff is lost anymore. Checks aren’t having to be cut out of payroll because someone was on vacation and we didn’t get their information. Our processes have been automated and that has been a really nice change for payroll,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez added that since the company is using Viewpoint HR Management and is no longer printing out checks, employee materials, flyers and other paperwork, there have been immense savings in both overhead and materials costs — around $25,000 in immediate savings.
“We also went from having a four-person team handling administrative functions to a three-person team with that fourth person now being utilized elsewhere in the company,” she said.
With the digitization and automation that Viewpoint’s portals to Vista provide, KS Industries has sped up processes and moved to a weekly payroll schedule — a competitive edge the company can now leverage to attract more skilled workers.
“We’ve been wanting to do that for some time, but could not because of all the manual processes holding things up,” Ramirez said. “Now we can.”
In the field, workers are happy with the streamlined processes, largely because it’s simplified work for them.
“Aaron goes out to the field and he talks to these guys about their work and processes all the time. And when he reports back, the field guys are asking to use the Viewpoint products. They’re comfortable with it. It’s clean-looking, it’s simple for them. And that’s the key: simple is best for our guys out in the field. I mean, their work is complicated enough — they don’t want to have to think about it a lot.”
Bakersfield, Calif.-based KS Industries, LP, formed in 1960, has grown into a leading provider of engineering, fabrication, integrated maintenance and construction services, serving as a relationship-based, single source provider in the energy sector.
The company serves several industries, including upstream oil and gas production, natural gas treating and transportation, refining, co-generation, heavy industrial and all types of pipelines.