“When we close out jobs, a report is sent to our vice president in charge of operations so he can make sure costs are not being assigned to those jobs any longer.
Saving 2% on Payroll
Another immediate impact has been made with respect to payroll. Timberline Landscaping has implemented electronic data collection for all of its timecards, which employees operate with a PDA. They simply log their time for each task and submit. The data syncs with the main computer back at the office, the manager approves it, and it goes right to payroll.
“What used to take an office person 30 hours a week to process payroll is now down to under 14 hours—plus it’s a lot more accurate because it has real-time data and GPS working with it,” Emick explains. “This will save us at least 2% of payroll.” The program Timberline uses is called mJobTime.
Timberline has already completed its first 52-week run in the Working Smarter Training Challenge. “We’re now in phase 2,” Emick says. “We’re looking to continue developing ‘standard work procedures’ to train both new and current employees. We need our new employees in particular to understand how they perform a job, and why.
“We will also continue pushing education through our involvement in PLANET and the Irrigation Association,” Emick continues. “We have 20 employees just finishing their PLANET certification testing, adding to the 17 already on staff. We’re increasing our number of irrigation auditors from two to eight, and our number of backflow testers from two to eight. Four certified chemical applicators round out our field staff.”
Making these improvements has taken time and investment, but Emick says it’s necessary. “The negative effects that poor processes can have on morale is staggering,” he says. “A process done poorly costs you money, period.”