Key TimeFiler benefits
Port Taranaki, off the coast of New Plymouth, is a busy port dealing in shipments from petrochemicals to logs, fertilisers, feeds and more. As one of the few non-container ports in New Zealand, Port Taranaki is a much-needed supply chain asset for the region, bringing in essential materials for the New Zealand economy. It’s also 100% owned by the Taranaki Regional Council, helping offset rates for the region and strike trade facilitations worldwide, making Taranaki a terrific place to work and live.
As a Port that operates 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, team flexibility is key to its smooth running. With 120-130 full-time staff and 6,000 registered port users, managing the operations requires many rosters and various pay conditions for Port Taranaki’s employees.
There are multiple payment calculation processes spread among Port Taranaki’s staff, with three different unions, five different agreements and multiple roles covered by those agreements. Different team’s rosters have differing numbers of off or on days and overtime or callout contract conditions. Until TimeFiler’s involvement, one payroll officer directed all this valuable payroll information.
Before TimeFiler, every group at the Port had their own rostering system, most often stored on a shared Excel file. This made it difficult to keep everyone updated and to enable easy access. Moreover, payment and attendance records were all completed manually, with payroll having to keep track of all the system's complexities, including in-lieu days and other timesheet oddities.
Searching for gold
It became clear that an improved payment and attendance tracking system would be essential to create the most effective tracking and payment method. With the Port’s payroll person due to take maternity leave soon, a new way to manage complexities better and keep track of team rosters between departments was needed.
Catherine Lo-Giaco, General Manager of People and Safety, was part of the team that helped set up TimeFiler. The journey began with Port Taranaki surveying six different software options to find one with everything they needed. Through a process of elimination, they settled on the TimeFiler application and personnel as best able to meet their requirements.
For Port Taranaki, one of the software's biggest advantages was its ability to integrate with existing software systems, including Datacom and Maximo. Its ability to track work projects and host complementary sets of information, pulled from either TimeFiler or Maximo, has made the software ‘a game changer’ says Catherine.
Of equal importance was the rostering system. ‘This allowed us to track available team resources and was key to linking the complexities of our remuneration system with our payroll’, Catherine went on to say. The rostering system has meant that seeing who is on or off, whether someone is being called out or if it's an in-lieu day, can occur in real-time, making the system not just more effective for payroll but for managers and teams as well.
Port Taranaki presented a complex scoping process for TimeFiler. Normally, a complex organisation includes 4-5 different employee groups. The Port had 23 groups to scope, resulting in a 230-page document to define their needs clearly! Moreover, the original payroll officer who began the process was due for maternity leave part way through. Catherine had to step in and finish the project during the midst of COVID-19, which added further complication to the process.
Given the Port’s 24/7 operating hours, seamlessly establishing a new payroll software would take great skill. But between Catherine and TimeFiler’s Jo Smith, TimeFiler were able to adapt their system to meet the needs of Port Taranaki. The project, which took six months to flesh out properly, was broken down into stages to help the adoption period. During this time, and throughout the sales process, Catherine became convinced that TimeFiler had been the right choice as a system and working partner.
Of the Port’s 120-130 odd staff, around 45 have standard salaries, representing an easy payment type. The rest of the staff, working rosters and with more flexibility, were complex to manage. Contract agreements include varying levels of pay if the employee worked outside the usual hours, as well as meal allowances and other considerations. In the past, this process would be noted on a physical timesheet and signed off before being transferred to an Excel document. It would then be sent to Datacom for them to check and sent back for final inspection before being passed to the payment team.
However, TimeFiler was able to recognise the unique payment types of different employee sets and cope with any nuances.
TimeFiler eliminated the need for manual entry, with around 95% of job types and conditions being automatic and only 5% occurring outside the expected payment parameters. This has allowed payroll to considerably reduce time spent checking and updating employee hours and pay conditions.
Being configurable to the Port’s unique work environment was a necessity. Catherine likened the comparison to a passenger liner versus a tug boat when looking at similar time and attendance systems. While many systems were loaded with features (like a sluggish passenger liner), they were less configurable to the types of challenges faced by the Port. TimeFiler presented as a strong but manoeuvrable tug boat that could be easily adapted to suit the Port’s needs.
TimeFiler’s ability to integrate with other internal systems has meant added implementation benefits. Linking the system with Maximo, which tracks work orders, has opened a new door to understanding their teams' work and the challenges they face. It has facilitated increased visibility and understanding of the team's work environments, which will continue to assist the business. This integration has helped build the Port’s ability to look after its people while creating solutions for its current and future customers.
The TimeFiler experience.
Overall, the TimeFiler experience has had its perks and challenges, the biggest of which was defining the scope of work for Port Taranaki. One of the most significant hurdles has been ‘trying to speak two languages’, turning the business requirements into software actions. Fortunately, through close collaboration and effort, TimeFiler and Port Taranaki were able to work together to develop a unique solution.
The result has been software that’s ‘relatively simple to use’, meaning that once an action is systemised, it repeats itself. The ease of use made the adoption period for PTL’s staff quick, with few hiccups.
Catherine has since suggested TimeFiler on multiple occasions to other ports, saying;
“I’d recommend it, especially if someone is using Datacom as a sister app as TimeFiler integrates simply.”
For more information or to talk about what TimeFiler could do for your company, book in a free demonstration of TimeFiler here.