ROI EVALUATION REPORT KRONOS WORKFORCE TIMEKEEPER

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1 For use with financial modeling tool G45W ROI EVALUATION REPORT KRONOS WORKFORCE TIMEKEEPER Corporate Headquarters Nucleus Research Inc. 36 Washington Street Wellesley MA Phone: Fax: Nucleus Research Inc.

2 THE BOTTOM LINE Automating time and attendance functions enables companies to reduce costly payroll errors, increase payroll staff productivity, and reduce nonstaff payroll costs. Nucleus found 75 percent of companies adopting Kronos Workforce Timekeeper achieved an ROI above 250 percent, while the median ROI for all users was 469 percent. Organizations received payback in an average of 5 months. Most users paid for the solution with only the savings from payroll error elimination. The challenge For most companies, there are a number of reasons to consider automating their time and attendance functions: Complexity. In order to accurately complete time and attendance tasks, managers need to track for a large number of employees complex variables including hours worked, wage rates, pay rules, and leave time such as sick days and vacation time. Payroll inflation. Because of the complexity of time and attendance tasks, manual systems are vulnerable to costly employee fraud and errors such as buddy punching, or extra sick or leave-days that are incorrectly given because managers are overloaded with data. Productivity. In the absence of automation, time and attendance and payroll functions are labor intensive and costly. Employees must fill out time sheets that are then collected and re-keyed by payroll clerks into a payroll system so that checks can be cut. Compliance. Most work environments are subject to rules arising from collective bargaining agreements and local or federal regulations. Achieving and documenting compliance is both difficult and time consuming, and noncompliance can result in costly penalties. KRONOS WORKFORCE TIMEKEEPER Workforce Timekeeper is a key application in the Workforce Central suite, Kronos s comprehensive workforce management system. Workforce Timekeeper features include: An advanced rules engine that applies complex work and payroll rules. Desktop-based self-service that enables attendance-related data collection directly from employees and managers. Dashboard views that enable supervisors to efficiently analyze data and manage payroll data input by exception. These features, combined with integration capabilities, enable companies to shorten the workflows required to generate payroll from time and attendance data. By improving rules application, data availability, and workflows, Kronos Workforce Timekeeper enables companies to: Reduce the risk of costly payroll errors and inflated labor costs. Eliminate paper time sheets and opportunities for human error. Deliver pay accurately and on time with consistent pay practices. Free managers to focus on higher value strategic activities. 2

3 RELATED RESEARCH F99 Integration and Self- Service Turbo Charge Scheduling F98 Scheduling: What to Expect when Deploying F94 a Closer Look at the ROI from Scheduling F24 Kronos 4500 touch ID Terminal ROI Report F8 Kronos Workforce ROI Case Study Sunrise Growers E29 Kronos ROI Case Study Towncare Dental E28 Kronos iseries ROI Case Study Anonymous E14 Make Versus Buy Evaluating Time and Attendance Systems D76 Kronos Workforce Timekeeper ROI Case Study Five Star D67 Kronos ROI Case Study MMNA Manufacturing Kronos iseries Central Suite is a similar solution that leverages the IBM eserver iseries. The suite runs native on the IBM eserver iseries. In addition, Kronos can collect data from a variety of sources, including badge and biometric terminals, Web kiosk, telephone, and handheld devices. RESEARCH OF KRONOS USERS To explore the benefits of Kronos Workforce Timekeeper, Nucleus completed thirtytwo in-depth interviews with Kronos users in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Mexico, and Canada. Nucleus also wrote a number of case studies on United States-based users of the solution. Some organizations used Kronos Workforce Timekeeper to replace workflows that were entirely manual. Others used the solution to replace existing automated time and attendance solutions. The organizations surveyed ranged in size from 300 to 15,500 employees, with slightly more than half at more than 1,000 employees. There was an equal distribution among five major industries: manufacturing, government, education, health care, and retail. The aggregated data provides representative information about the nature and levels of benefits users can achieve by deploying the solution. All organizations participated under a guarantee of anonymity and shared highly confidential data, including deployment costs and the levels of economic benefits such as reductions to payroll error rates, payroll inflation, and payroll staffing levels. By investigating these ROI factors in detail, Nucleus has completed a detailed analysis of the ROI companies can achieve by deploying Kronos Workforce Timekeeper. This data is incorporated into the accompanying ROI calculator, which is designed to estimate the ROI of a prospective deployment of the solution. In addition to the tool, the data collected by Nucleus has been used to update several industry benchmarks, such as the rate of payroll error. KEY BENEFIT AREAS By automating workflows related to both payroll and time and attendance functions Kronos Workforce Timekeeper enables companies to not only reduce staff related to these tasks, but also improve visibility on labor costs. Companies use this visibility in the form of standardized reports from Kronos to eliminate labor costs driven by factors such as overtime, unnecessary leave, and fraud. The top seven benefits from Kronos, in order of average savings, are the following: Reduced payroll error rate. Organizations can reduce overpayments due to errors in data re-entry, pay rule applications, and clerical mistakes. Reduced payroll staff. Organizations can reduce the number of full time equivalents (FTEs) in the payroll department. Reduced payroll processing time. Organizations can reduce the time and cost of cutting manual checks, data entry by payroll clerks or administrative employees, time spent by employees filling out time cards, and managers review and approval of time cards. Reduced unauthorized leave time. Organizations can reduce the likelihood that employees take more leave time such as vacation time, sick days, or personal days than permitted. 3

4 Improved labor reporting. Organizations can use the approaching overtime report to reduce authorized and unauthorized overtime, determine whether to hire supplemental labor, and analyze variances between actual and budgeted labor costs. Reduced payroll inflation. Organizations can reduce unnecessary payroll costs driven by employee fraud such as buddy punching and inaccurate attendance measurement by manual systems. Time card savings. Organizations can experience savings from the elimination of paper time cards as well as reducing time card storage and retrieval costs. One of the most significant findings of the research is that the majority of benefits are direct. A direct benefit is one that is readily estimated, directly observed, and yields a tangible improvement to the company s profitability as either a cost reduction or revenue increase. For example, better labor reporting can result in more efficient scheduling of resources and a readily estimated reduction in overtime costs. In contrast, some benefits from technology deployments are indirect and less estimable, such as gains in productivity. Nucleus observed that direct benefits such as reduced payroll costs were achieved in all countries covered by this study, and the magnitude of direct benefits did not vary significantly from one country to another. Some of the companies outside of the United States were located in Australia, Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom, where labor markets are more regulated, and unions more active. As a result, the indirect benefits of improved reporting and compliance were more significant for these companies. REDUCED PAYROLL ERROR RATE Typically expressed as a percentage of total annual payroll, payroll error rate is the largest area by far in which organizations recoup cost. The payroll error rate can be difficult to estimate because it is due entirely to avoidable human error and reflects poorly on anyone who knows its value. Because this in-depth study is anonymous, it sheds much-needed light on this statistic. Automation of data entry is valuable because it not only eliminates labor-intensive data re-entry but also enables more accurate application of pay rules. The more employees, shift differentials, and collective bargaining agreements a company has, the higher its payroll error rate will be. Payroll error will also be higher if time and attendance tasks are completed by a staff that is decentralized and geographically dispersed. One of the highest payroll error rates was observed at a retailer with hundreds of stores that reported data through regional offices to the corporate headquarters, where the use of a manual time and attendance system required multiple instances of data reentry. While payroll error rate is generally a function of size, one of the smallest companies in the study had a 500 percent ROI driven largely by reductions to payroll error. 4

5 Eighty-eight percent of companies surveyed realized savings by reducing their payroll error rate and these savings exceeded the entire cost of implementing Kronos Workforce Timekeeper. Nucleus found the average payroll error rate is 1.2 percent of total payroll. Every organization had some level of payroll error, and even for the companies whose error rate was 0.5 percent or less of their total payroll, the annual savings often exceeded $1 million. A decade ago the industry average was 2 percent to 6 percent. Although the industry average has improved, this survey uncovered organizations at the high end of this range. Twelve percent of respondents had payroll error rates above 4 percent, with the highest reported at 5 percent. A number of companies were able to quantify improvements to their payroll error rate: One respondent was surprised at just how much payroll error had been costing the company. Before each group went live, we would compare our employees handwritten payrolls to what Kronos calculated. We calculated that this saved $1.3 million that year. We couldn t believe it it was much higher than we thought it would be. This was a very firm number; we spent a lot of time calculating it. A manufacturer of heavy equipment with a blue-collar workforce said we produce about 22,000 pay slips per month. Before Kronos, we had 200 to 300 errors per week. Kronos eliminated 80 percent of them. A car manufacturer reduced its payroll error rate by 0.53 percent of total payroll. As the first example underscores, many respondents started their implementation by running Kronos Workforce Timekeeper along side the old system. These companies had a unique opportunity to closely observe the payroll error rate. Many stated that improvements in this area far exceeded their expectations. Assuming a normal distribution of over and underpayments due to errors, the payroll error rate can be best estimated by doubling the amount of underpayments made to employees. Traditionally employees who are overpaid are unlikely to notice or report the error. In addition to using underpayments as an estimate, a random audit of employee time cards is another way to estimate how much employees are being overpaid. The average payroll error rate is 1.2 percent, and varies by industry. In the companion ROI tool, the payroll error rate should be adjusted upward if a company is larger, more complex, has a dispersed workforce, or if it has a relatively high level of work-rule complexity. REDUCED PAYROLL STAFF Because Kronos automates many time and attendance tasks, organizations typically reassign members of their payroll staffs shortly after their Kronos 5

6 deployment. Some companies, if they are growing rapidly, are able to keep their payroll staffing flat as a result of Kronos, but would have had to add staff had they not deployed Kronos. In either event, staffing headcount that is either reassigned or avoided represents a direct benefit of deploying the solution. Automation enabled most companies to eliminate or redeploy employees who had been performing payroll functions: In some companies, line managers complete payroll tasks. Kronos can relieve these employees of such responsibilities, and make them more productive. One hospitality company noted improved efficiency of its managers: We relieved 75 managers of five hours of time and attendance work per week. A Mexico-based car manufacturer said its payroll staff is now more efficient because they are auditing the payroll data rather than performing clerical tasks. This company has reassigned one of its 12 member payroll staff, and expects to reassign a second soon. Because of its Kronos deployment, a growing telecommunications provider was able to avoid increasing its payroll staff from 30 to 42 because these workers are no longer re-keying data from employee time sheets. One major university noted a significant reduction in staffing needs: We reduced the payroll staff from 12 to four. Meanwhile, we also doubled our size of our workforce. Companies should estimate the number of employees they expect to redeploy after automating the manual entry of time and attendance data. They may also examine the ratio of payroll employees to total employees and estimate whether this ratio can be improved by either reducing existing payroll staff or avoiding new hires. As long as an organization has more than two people in payroll, it usually redeploys a portion of its payroll staff. In using the companion ROI tool, keep in mind that replacement of an entirely manual system will result in more staff reductions than the replacement of a automated time and attendance solution. Similarly, the reduction of workforce will be greater if there is a centralized as opposed to a distributed payroll staff. REDUCED PAYROLL PROCESSING TIME Shortened payroll processing time can accompany reductions in payroll staff. However the magnitude of such benefits usually varies because payroll processing time is a function of a number of workflows outside of the payroll department: Non-payroll administrative staff input end-of-period attendance data. Supervisors spend time reviewing time sheets. Employees spend time filling out time sheets. Employees spend time cutting manual payroll checks (often performed by payroll and captured in the payroll staff benefit). 6

7 For most companies, Kronos enabled them to fundamentally change rather than merely accelerate the payroll process: According to a small retailer, every aspect of payroll processing time was wasteful before implementing Kronos Workforce Timekeeper. The accounting department had a ridiculous procedure for issuing manual checks, with far too many checks and a convoluted approval process. Second, managers spent eight hours per week reviewing time cards. This is because employees had to log in and out of an antiquated system every time they took customer calls, to assign their time properly. We were required to give employees a break between customers, not to exceed 15 minutes, and this threw another curveball in the process. Employees logged in and out 12 times per day and managers had to check each one. Workforce Timekeeper automated the entire procedure for all parties and notifies managers if there is a problem. A major trucking company with more than 50 offices in the United States redeployed at least one payroll clerk at each location. An even greater benefit, however, was the acceleration of operations: Federal laws prohibit truck drivers from exceeding certain numbers of working hours in two and 8-day periods. Payroll clerks spent an inordinate amount of time tracking this. Trucks had to wait and this created significant problems in operations. With Kronos, it s completely automated. A large food manufacturer with 500 employees was able to reduce its payroll processing time from five days to four because the eliminations of both time cards and manual reconciliation tasks made the payroll department more productive. 85 percent of organizations had some savings from payroll processing time improvements. In using the companion ROI tool to estimate the benefit from reduced payroll processing time, users should consider the degree to which their payroll operations are centralized or distributed and the number of non-payroll staff members who are involved in the payroll process. Additionally, benefits will be greater if a company typically utilizes overtime to complete payroll. Savings in payroll processing time averaged slightly less than 1/2 of 1 percent of payroll. The high (disregarding an extreme example) is slightly over 2 percent. The calculation is based upon the average adjusted for the number of people involved in payroll outside of the payroll department, not to exceed approximately 1.7 percent. REDUCED LEAVE TIME With a manual system, it is very easy for employees to take unearned time off. For instance, multiple organizations reported that they have biweekly pay periods. If employees take days off during the first week of a pay period, they can very easily fill out their time card the following week as if they had worked the entire week. Estimation of losses due to unearned time off can be as controversial and difficult as those for payroll error. 7

8 On average, employees take 1.25 extra days of leave time per year. This is equal to 0.48 percent of payroll. One hospital believed it saw an immediate and significant savings with the approved balance for vacation, due to errors in the method of accruals. The savings are eight times as much as the average annual cost of ownership of Kronos Workforce Timekeeper. Before deploying Kronos, managers at a large United Kingdom-based food manufacturer were over loaded with time and attendance tasks and frequently lost track of their employees leave time. By automating this in Kronos and providing reports to managers, the company believes it eliminated 60 days per year of unearned leave time. In calculating the benefits from reduced unauthorized leave time, companies should consider how much time managers currently spend on record keeping related to employee leave time. The amount of unauthorized leave time can also be estimated by interviewing managers to find out how often employees are incorrectly given fewer days than they are awarded. Managers are typically able to estimate the degree to which employees take unauthorized time off. Certain factors can cause the leave time figure to rise significantly, although such gains are difficult to offset because the figure cannot be less than zero. There is more exploitation of paid time off in large operations, where, presumably, management cannot monitor and eliminate this without a labor management system. By industry, health care had significantly higher rates of unearned leave, while the rates for government and education were lower. Nucleus Research calculates leave time by starting with 0.48 percent and raising or lowering the figure according to the organization s size and industry. IMPROVED LABOR REPORTING AND COMPLIANCE Kronos Workforce Timekeeper includes reporting functionalities that generate standard reports that give managers key labor-related data such as a list of employees who are approaching overtime. Managers can also use an ad-hoc query engine to create custom reports. Kronos also has reporting functionalities that can incorporate data from other sources such as an ERP and payroll systems. Managers can use these reporting tools to reduce overtime costs, examine productivity trends, and ensure compliance with rules arising from government regulations or collective bargaining agreements Kronos s analytical tools and reporting enable companies to not only ensure that they are in compliance with rules arising from government regulations and collective bargaining agreements but also generate reports proving their compliance. 8

9 Nucleus found that these benefits were not limited to US-based companies, and observed benefits in companies in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom: One small food retailer experienced clear benefits from its Kronos implementation. We experienced problems in overtime and know, after careful tracking, that our overtime expense was $189,774. Since implementing Kronos, our savings in this line item alone decreased to $95,000 per year. The average yearly cost of ownership is $104,000. Even though we are a small company, this saving alone essentially paid for the system. A large Australian hospitality company stated: We have 1,500 employees, and under Australian regulations, all employees, trade, non-trade, union, and nonunion have to check in and check out. They do it on Kronos terminals, and we use the software to prove compliance. They also indicated that Kronos helped them comply with union rules: Kronos makes a huge difference with award compliance, and with regulatory bodies. We have 9 collective bargaining agreements. With Kronos we can have 100 percent compliance because we put industrial award rules into Kronos. Before it was difficult and it would take a lot of work to go through all the time sheets. A Canadian company indicated that the Kronos rules engine was very user friendly: When union rules change, we can change it in Kronos faster than in the old system. Since the 2003 Kronos deployment, we have spent less than three weeks on changes. There were also benefits in the United Kingdom: It can link into Working Time Directive rules. In the United Kingdom, if you want to work over 48 hours, an employee must sign on for it. Kronos helps us prove that people signed up when necessary. In estimating the benefit of reduced overtime in the companion ROI tool, companies should consider whether overtime is evenly distributed among the workforce, whether it is incurred appropriately, and what workforces receive the most overtime. If there is little or no reporting on overtime statistics prior to the deployment, the overtime reduction will be more significant as a result of the Workforce Timekeeper deployment. The amount of time spent manually generating overtime reports should also be considered as an anticipated benefit. Sometimes organizations know the amount of their overtime, and have a good sense of their ability to reduce it with Kronos. If this is the case, then the formula in the companion tool to this report calculates the figure based on these factors. Some companies that face labor shortages may be unable to reduce their overtime costs. In this case, the modeling tool yields a figure of zero. 32 percent of respondents had a zero reflecting their inability to reduce employee overtime. In other cases, supervisors do not have a good estimate for the amount they can save through labor reporting. In these instances the tool uses the industry average of 0.75 percent and increases or decreases the number based on the ability to lower overtime and the number of employees. 9

10 PAYROLL INFLATION Manual time and attendance processes can be vulnerable to inaccuracy and fraud. For example, some systems can only record worker arrival and departure times at 15-minute intervals. Additionally, mechanical time clocks are subject to buddy bunching in which one employee punches another employee s time card in order to hide the fact that they are late or absent. Kronos Workforce Timekeeper is designed to limit this abuse, and therefore often has significant advantages in payroll inflation over mechanical time clocks. The industry average for total payroll inflation is 0.72 percent. In a separate study of buddy punching, Nucleus found that payroll inflation from buddy punching alone was 2.2 percent of total payroll. Users deploying Kronos experienced significant benefits in reducing such payroll costs: A manufacturer of building materials stated, Before Kronos, we had lots of collusion between managers and employees that increased overtime unnecessarily. Because of reporting from Kronos, they know we are watching them, and those practices have gone away. One healthcare provider stated: We used to never bother to calculate payroll inflation, even though we knew it was a problem. There is a 15-minute leeway with the majority of people arriving 15 minutes late or leaving 15 minutes early. There are 9,000 employees. At an average wage of $32 per hour, this amounts to $880,000 per year. A small school system noted that employees were not arriving on time. They used to sign in by hand and we paid them even though we knew they weren t here. It was worth the cost of implementation just for the sake of instilling discipline, but when we calculated the savings, we were very surprised to find out that it exceeded $450,000 per year. A hospitality company stated that before Kronos, employees rounded their arrival time to the nearest 15-minute interval in a way that inflated the amount of time they worked. With Kronos, the company now tracks employee time to the minute, and has improved attendance accuracy by 15 percent. In estimating the benefit from reduced payroll inflation, users should consider the incidence of payroll fraud such as buddy punching in their company, as well as other time and attendance inaccuracies such as long lunches, late arrivals, and early departures. The industry average for total payroll inflation is 0.72 percent and in the companion ROI tool, this can be adjusted according to a user s estimated ability to lower payroll inflation. Forty percent of survey respondents indicated that they have no savings in payroll inflation, so the formula yields zero if the firm cannot reduce inflation. The most common reason people did not have payroll inflation is the use of a mechanical time clock, which usually prevents employees from handwriting in 10

11 incorrect hours. However, mechanical clocks are subject to buddy punching. Kronos Workforce Timekeeper is designed to limit this abuse, and therefore often has significant advantages in payroll inflation over mechanical clocks. The second most common situation in which organizations do not have payroll inflation is when all employees are on salary, and therefore do not record their hours. Nucleus observed many mixed environments such as hospitals, where doctors earn salaries and nurses are paid hourly. Only the nurses are subject to payroll inflation. TIME CARD SAVINGS The costs of managing paper time cards can be significant for large companies. There are three components: the cost of the cards themselves, the cost of shipping time cards, and the cost of storage. When managers use time sheets to manually track employee attendance, there can be similar savings. By migrating to Kronos Workforce Timekeeper, companies can eliminate the costs to purchase, ship and store either time cards or time sheets. This cost reduction can be substantial depending on the numbers of employees, pay periods, and work locations. A large government agency serving a heavily populated area verified over $1 million in savings from eliminating time cards. It no longer has to ship multiple copies to and from 380 locations every week. A distributor of home-building materials eliminated the purchase, reading, and storage of 7,200 time cards per year. A telecommunications company eliminated the use of time sheets for 11,000 employees whose attendance was tracked on a bi-weekly basis. In estimating the benefit from the elimination of time cards, users should consider the number of employees who use them and the number of pay periods per year. Other considerations include the cost of shipping, copying, reading, and storing cards. Time card savings fluctuate significantly and Nucleus urges companies to alter the figures in the accompanying tool as necessary. The tool uses the following estimates: The cost of the cards themselves at 5 cents each, multiplied by the number of employees times the number of pay periods. The cost of shipping time cards, estimated at $10 per location other than headquarters per pay period. The cost of storage, estimated at $10,000 per year. CONCLUSION A significant benefit from automating time and attendance is a reduction in the number of errors made when calculating payroll. Additionally, benefits were not limited to US-based companies. Nucleus found that all organizations could benefit 11

12 from this savings and in the majority of cases, returns from this single benefit could justify automation. By using even a conservative estimate for reduced payroll error rate, organizations can quickly assess the potential benefits from automation and decide if further investigation is warranted. When examining the returns received from Kronos Workforce Timekeeper, Nucleus found strong benefits from reduced payroll error rate and other administrative and productivity savings. The average organization in the study achieved full payback within five months. This short payback period suggests organizations should place time and attendance automation technology high on their list of priorities, as it is likely to deliver rapid returns at a lower risk than many other IT investments. Organizations considering an investment in Kronos Workforce Timekeeper should use the associated financial modeling tool to quantify the potential costs and returns from a deployment in their environment. 12

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