Solution Review

Organization

M3 Retail Solutions
Manassas Park, VA

Challenges

M3 Retail needed to simplify merchandising employee scheduling across hundreds of employees and locations while reducing staff time spent on time and attendance, billing, and payroll.

Solution

Celayix eTime Xpress reduces the time to create weekly schedules. Voice Xpress gives M3 a real-time record of attendance, immediately ready for reporting to clients, or for processing billing and payroll.

Benefits

  • Payroll went from one-and-a-half days to minutes – saving more than a full day each week
  • Real-time attendance data allows M3 to fill any absences proactively
  • Faster billing improves cash flow

Some of the biggest names in retail rely on M3, a full-service merchandising company, to help get their products in front of buyers at the right time and place. Virginia-based M3 provides experienced merchandising teams to companies like Kraft, Ralston-Purina and Albertsons. At a given time, M3 may have hundreds of part-time representatives assigned to various locations to rotate products, set up displays, perform demonstrations and other tasks to drive sales for clients.

The company’s small office staff was tasked with creating employee schedules by hand in Excel – made more challenging by the fact that schedules change weekly depending on client projects. Adding to the burden was the fact they also had to physically call each rep with their schedules.

On top of that, staff spent about two hours daily checking reps in by phone. On a weekly basis, they also hand-entered reps’ hours into Excel from paper faxes before manually calculating billable and payroll hours.

“Using a spreadsheet for employee scheduling for several hundred stores was very difficult and forced us to calculate billing manually,” said David Sutor, president and CEO of M3. “We needed a solution that works in our dynamic environment where we could get data in and out quickly.”

“Payroll and billing are more accurate; we speed up cash flow and reduce busywork for internal staff. $22,000 in savings is more than half the cost of an employee. I can invest those savings in benefits to retain current employees.”

David Sutor
President/CEO, M3 Retail Solutions
Real-Time Employee Time and Attendance

M3 selected Celayix eTime Xpress to simplify employee scheduling. Web-based eTime Xpress lets the M3 office staff quickly match reps with work assignments in real-time based on skills and availability. Then, they email schedules to employees, freeing staff from hours of calling.

The interface in Celayix allows staff to see employee hours for the week very clearly. In turn, they better control overtime by ensuring that they don’t schedule anyone for more than 40 hours.

The company took its efficiency and use of Celayix a step further by adding Voice Xpress, empowering employees to clock in by phone. They simply call a specific number and Celayix records their arrival and shift completion. When staff get into the office at 7 a.m., they find employee attendance for night and early-morning shifts already reported. At times, that allows M3 to fill any absences proactively instead of waiting for clients to report it. When employees realized that the new system eliminated faxing, they embraced the new solution. No longer do they need to find a fax machine at week’s end to submit their hours.

Payroll Reporting – In Minutes

With both employee scheduling and employee time and attendance in one integrated solution, the M3 staff has everything it needs to process billing and payroll as soon as work is complete – rather than waiting for end-of-week time-sheets. At any time, M3 can run detailed, current reports on employee time and attendance to support decision-making, billing and payroll calculations. Celayix’s bill/pay engine automatically calculates gross bill and pay data.

For payroll, the company simply pulls reports in Celayix and electronically submits that file to its outside payroll processing company – significantly cutting down manual processing time each week.

“With Celayix, everything is in one place. Payroll went from one-and-a-half days to minutes,” Sutor said.

M3 likewise brings Celayix employee attendance data directly into its Quickbooks application for billing, expediting invoicing and payments from clients. “Celayix allows me to speed up the invoice process, so we get invoices out more quickly,” Sutor added. As an added benefit, M3 sends employee attendance reports each morning – before 8:30 – to its clients showing requested tasks and what was fulfilled.

Saving $22,000

With Celayix, M3 eliminated all manual data entry related to merchandising employee scheduling, employee time and attendance, billing and payroll processing. At once, that capability improves accuracy and efficiency.

“When we’re dealing with several hundred employees, it’s pretty complicated and we want to make sure it’s correct,” Sutor said.

With time-savings across merchandising employee scheduling, check-in/out, time-sheet validation, invoicing and payroll, Sutor estimates that his company saves more than 30 hours every week, or the equivalent of more than $22,000 worth of labor. His office staff has remained the same, however, they now spend more time on higher-value tasks.

“I’m a small business,” Sutor said. “Celayix allows me to get data faster to clients so they know we’re doing a good job. Payroll and billing are more accurate, we speed up cash flow and reduce busywork for internal staff. Twenty-two thousand dollars in savings is more than half the cost of an employee, so I can invest those savings in benefits to retain current employees.”

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