How CHC Hydronics Got a Grip On Labor Costs

How CHC Hydronics Got a Grip On Labor Costs


How CHC Hydronics Got a Grip On Labor Costs

What do universities, data centers and hotels have in common? They all need highly-customized heating, ventilation and cooling systems to help maintain an optimum temperature and keep occupants (human and machines) happy.

That’s where CHC Hydronics steps in. Headquartered in Hayward, California, CHC is a leading provider of plumbing, mechanical and HVAC equipment to commercial buildings and project engineers across North America. Operating two factories and partnering with over 100 contractors, the company designs and supplies these custom-built systems to fit within each client’s unique space and needs.

Challenges

With dozens of shop floor workers and field service technicians spread across hundreds of active manufacturing and field service projects at the same time, it is important for CHC Hydronics to understand how much time and labor it spends on each client, and on each product line.

To that end, the company has always used a time-tracking solution to help them keep track of how much time employees were spending on different tasks and projects. Before they implemented PK4 TimeTracker, CHC was using another third-party solution for labor tracking in their production plants. However, this solution presented several limitations in scope and use cases, and challenges:

Lack of features: It only had limited features and functions, and lacked the in-depth capabilities for CHC to be able to sort and analyze their time data across different dimensions (e.g. by manufacturer, product line, or salesperson).

Inflexible deployment: The prior solution only allowed them to track in-house factory labor. It could not accommodate time tracking for remote field service technicians, who needed to use manual timesheets to track their time spent on each servicing project.

Poor integration: CHC needed a modern solution that was aligned with their new cloud-based ERP solution, but their prior solution did not integrate with their Salesforce-based ERP system, FinancialForce.

This prompted CHC to look for an alternative solution that could meet its evolving needs for time tracking.

Solution

In 2019, CHC Hydronics implemented PK4’s Time Tracker as an upgrade to replace their prior solution. They also integrated the PK4 TimeTracker with Financial Force for better visibility.

Results

Integration with Financial Force
With both Financial Force and the PK4 TimeTracker being on the Salesforce platform, CHC was able to integrate the two platforms easily. All the shop floor workers’ time was directly integrated with Production Orders on Financial Force. The service technicians’ time was integrated with Sales Orders in Financial Force. In both cases, when a Project is completed on the Time Tracker, a labor line is added to include the cost. Thus enabling CHC Hydro to have a very accurate picture of the labor costs both on Production Orders and Sales Orders.

Improved Time Tracking Convenience and Accuracy

PK4 TimeTracker allowed CHC to integrate time tracking across two different groups of employees, unifying time tracking for both shop floor workers and field service technicians for the first time.

CHC Time Tracker Dashboard
CHC Time Tracker Dashboard

With versatility in deployment formats, CHC was able to deploy the time tracking app to end users in a format that best suited them: for shop floor workers, this meant clocking in and out via a stationary iPad kiosk on the factory floor, whereas field technicians could track their time spent on each assignment with a convenient mobile app.

Whereas shop floor workers were already used to these time tracking procedures, field technicians reported much greater convenience with the elimination of manual time sheets which they had to submit daily, as well as improved accuracy now that they could check in and out of projects on the spot. For CHC Hydronics, accuracy was of utmost importance, as they needed to make sure they were compliant with California’s Prevailing Wage labor regulations.

Ease of Integration, Data Reporting And Analysis

Secondly, the ease of integration of the Time Tracker with Salesforce and FinancialForce also enabled data automation and more robust, in-depth reporting. Combining factory production data and sales data from their ERP system with time reports from Time Tracker, CHC could now create dashboards and reports allowing them to track labor across several different dimensions – by project or client, product line, technician, etc.

These insights into their labor expenses proved useful not only for internal decision making – it also gave the company leverage for negotiating with business partners and clients. In particular, they could share detailed reports on time spent on projects and servicing to negotiate for better terms and rates.

Overall, the feedback from employees and the IT team has been very positive. Patrick Hamilton, IT Manager at CHC Hydronics highlighted the partnership and support as particularly outstanding: “PK4 worked closely with us to design a solution to fit our needs. The support we receive from PK4 has always been top notch, and any issues we face are always quickly resolved!”

CHC quote about Time Tracker

Tech Components 

  • Salesforce Sales Cloud
  • PK4 TimeTracker in Salesforce
  • PK4 TimeTracker Mobile App for field service engineers
  • PK4 TimeTracker Kiosk app for shopfloor
  • Financial Force integration.

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How MercuryGate Plugged Revenue Leakage from Support Cases

How MercuryGate Plugged Revenue Leakage from Support Cases

How MercuryGate Plugged Revenue Leakage from Support Cases

As one of the leading transportation management software providers, MercuryGate International simplifies and centralizes freight transportation for logistics companies across the world. Their platform supports all modes of transport including ocean, air, rail, truckload, last-mile, parcel, and intermodal.

Based out of Cary, NC, Mercury Gate has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Logistics IT Providers by Inbound Logistics Magazine. MercuryGate also provides integrations, technology, and managed services partnerships.

Challenges

MercuryGate Support is billed separately to some of their customers. For those customers, it is not a part of their subscription fees. With a Services Implementation team, a Customer Support team, and a developer group all working on customer-facing issues, MercuryGate had a hard time keeping track of the actual time spent on specific customer cases.

Since Services Implementation was usually a timed project service, that team used a Professional Services Automation tool called OpenAir to track their time. And that worked very well for the Services implementation team. However, as the Tier 1 and Tier2 Customer Support teams grew, it became imperative for the Support team to track their time. In addition, the developer group needed to spend time on Customer Support cases too, which also needed to be tracked.

Disparate Platforms: The Services Implementation team used OpenAir to track their time and material-based projects. The Customer Support team worked on Cases within Salesforce but needed to additionally log into OpenAir just to track the time that they spent on customer cases. The developer group used Atlassian’s Jira to keep track of their work. But they too needed to log in to OpenAir to record their time.

Siloed Systems: None of the systems talked to each other. Each group worked in a separate silo. It was hard to convince the Customer Support and Developer teams to record their times in a separate system. Following that, the accounting team needed to run reports in OpenAir to get an extract of the time worked on Cases and then download those reports as Excel sheets to send over to their billing system.

Poor integration: Since the Support Team spent the maximum amount of time on Customer Cases and worked completely in Salesforce, MercuryGate needed a system that would work easily and accurately within Salesforce.

This prompted MercuryGate to look for an alternative solution that could meet its evolving needs for time tracking. 

Solution

In 2021, MercuryGate implemented PK4’s Time Tracker for Salesforce. PK4 added in a webhook module to automatically bring in developer work logs from Jira identified by Salesforce Case Number back into Salesforce.

Results

Intuitive, efficient time tracking for Support Team

MercuryGate implemented PK4 Time Tracker’s Salesforce Lightning component within their Case object. The support team now saves time and has a much more intuitive system, because they can now stay on the Case in Salesforce. They no longer need to access a separate system to track their time. And ALL hours spent on a Case are now accurately tracked.

Improved Time Tracking Convenience 

PK4 TimeTracker automatically brought the Jira work logs that were already being used by the Developer Group directly into Salesforce, tied to the specific customer case. Developers previously had to double-log their time in Jira and OpenAir. Now, they did not even need to click on a button to get their hours into Salesforce. The hours that the developers recorded in Jira are automatically brought into Salesforce through a webhook, provided by the PK4 TimeTracker.

Sometimes, the Professional Services Team that did the original implementation for the Customer needs to work on a customer case. Most of the PSA team does not have access to Salesforce. Those team members now use the PK4 Time Tracker web app to log the time that they spent on a specific Case. And that data too is automatically synced to Salesforce.

Decreased time and inaccuracies.

Before the PK4 TimeTracker was implemented, the Tier 1 and Tier 2 support teams needed to log into OpenAir to log their times. Because Accounting billed customers based on their Case numbers, the support team needed to create a task in OpenAir with the Salesforce Case number. Since the support team spent most of their time working on cases in Salesforce, they needed to spend additional time at the end of the day recording all the Cases worked during the day in OpenAir. This led to a lot of dropped hours and inaccuracies in the Case numbers. MercuryGate was reconciling time between Jira, Salesforce, and OpenAir making the whole process inefficient and inaccurate. With the PK4 TimeTracker in place, the whole operation now is streamlined and smooth.

Increased billing

Within the first month of implementation, MercuryGate noticed that the billed time for the development group and the PSA group had gone up. Because of the double logging issue, developers were reluctant to log into a second system and record their time. Now with the Jira work logs being brought automatically into Salesforce, all work hours spent on billable cases are being accurately recorded. This has turned into real dollars for MercuryGate since the developers were doing billable work for customers that were not actually being billed.

Tech Components 

  • Salesforce Sales Cloud
  • PK4 TimeTracker in Salesforce
  • PK4 TimeTracker Web
  • PK4 TimeTracker Jira Integration.

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How Johnson Controls Enabled Cost Accountability for its Sales CoE

How Johnson Controls Enabled Cost Accountability for its Sales CoE


How Johnson Controls Enabled Cost Accountability for its Sales CoE

As a Fortune Global 500 company, Johnson Controls is a worldwide leader in providing building technology solutions. With over 105,000 employees across 2,000 locations, Johnson Controls equips buildings across the world with automation systems, HVAC equipment, security and more, to keep their occupants safe, healthy, and secure.

Behind the company’s US$31.4 billion worth of sales sits the company’s Center of Excellence on Sales Operations – a network of engineers, contractors, and program managers which supports global sales teams with drafting project blueprints and designs. 

Challenges

While the Sales Operations Centre of Excellence (CoE) was previously embedded within separate business units, it was reformed into a separate business unit following a corporate reorganization in 2019. As an independent business unit servicing different regions and divisions across the company, the CoE was now an independent accounting entity. It maintains its own financial statements, accounting for (internal) revenue through billing other business units for services performed, and costs through careful tracking of employees’ time. In order to accurately charge these costs back to separate business units, time tracking was now an integral part of this accountability. 

Adding to this complexity was the fact that some sub-teams within the CoE already had established legacy solutions and practices for time tracking. While some employees were new to time tracking, others were using disparate time tracking systems. For instance, while one team in Costa Rica was already using a time tracking system, another in APAC was tracking their hours manually on spreadsheets.

In their search for a time tracking solution, the Sales Operations CoE team at Johnson Controls had two key requirements. Firstly, the solution had to provide a seamless user experience. Secondly, the time tracking system had to be integrated with Salesforce.

PK4 Tech’s Time Tracker stood out as a strong contender as its deep integrations with Salesforce meant that time tracking data could easily be integrated with other sales and operations data already on the CRM platform. This helped to minimize the implementation complexity and efforts. 

Solution

With the goal of unifying all teams under a standardized time tracking solution, Johnson Controls first started with a phased introduction of PK4 Tech’s Time Tracker. Within the first 2 years of implementation, 1,000 of over 4,000 employees in the global CoE organization were onboarded to the Time Tracker.

Results

Improved Time Tracking And Cost Accountability: With the Time Tracker, employees were now able to log their hours with a level of granularity that was not possible before. For instance, where previously, the CoE team only tracked hours on a general basis, they could now break these hours down into pre-sale vs post-sale support, coordination time, administrative time, etc.

This, in turn, has enabled the CoE to provide detailed statements of work and invoices when charging their services to other business units. The detailed breakdown of labor costs and services allows the CoE team to improve the accountability and accuracy of their cost chargeback.

Deepened Business Insights: With the custom Salesforce reports and dashboards, management could now get a comprehensive review of their business, and access granular data like labor and service cost breakdown by region, project type, or even task type. This provides Johnson Controls with more accurate data and information for resource planning and strategic decision-making. 

Reduced Overall Administrative Burden: The integration with Salesforce also helped to reduce the administrative work required from both end-users, as well as the management and finance teams. Employees within the CoE team were already familiar with using Salesforce and introducing a time tracking system within the CRM platform greatly eased their transition towards this new time tracking process. Furthermore, having the Time Tracker integrated into Salesforce also allowed for the synchronization of data on labor costs with established invoicing and finance processes, minimizing the administrative efforts for the finance teams.

Tech Components 

  • Salesforce Sales Cloud
  • PK4 TimeTracker in Salesforce
  • PK4 TimeTracker Mobile App
  • PK4 TimeTracker Web App
  • Microsoft Azure AD integration for Single SignOn.

Download Case Study in PDF Format

Case Studies

How CHC Hydronics Got a Grip On Labor Costs

How CHC Hydronics Got a Grip On Labor Costs

What do universities, data centers and hotels have in common? They all need highly-customized heating, ventilation and cooling systems to help maintain an optimum temperature and keep occupants (human and machines) happy. That’s where CHC Hydronics steps in. Headquartered in Hayward, California, CHC is a leading provider of plumbing, mechanical and HVAC equipment to commercial buildings and project engineers across…

February 16, 2022
How MercuryGate Plugged Revenue Leakage from Support Cases

How MercuryGate Plugged Revenue Leakage from Support Cases

As one of the leading transportation management software providers, MercuryGate International simplifies and centralizes freight transportation for logistics companies across the world. Their platform supports all modes of transport including ocean, air, rail, truckload, last-mile, parcel, and intermodal. Based out of Cary, NC, Mercury Gate has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Logistics IT Providers by Inbound Logistics…

January 28, 2022
How Johnson Controls Enabled Cost Accountability for its Sales CoE

How Johnson Controls Enabled Cost Accountability for its Sales CoE

As a Fortune Global 500 company, Johnson Controls is a worldwide leader in providing building technology solutions. With over 105,000 employees across 2,000 locations, Johnson Controls equips buildings across the world with automation systems, HVAC equipment, security and more, to keep their occupants safe, healthy, and secure. Behind the company’s US$31.4 billion worth of sales sits the company’s Center of…

January 28, 2022