If you’ve ever wondered where Welch’s sparkling grape juice is made, look no further than Lawton, MI., located less than 25 miles from Kalamazoo. In September of 2013, the Welch’s Lawton plant transitioned to the Workloud workforce management software application with great success. With more than 70 full-time employees, this manufacturing facility is responsible for all of Welch’s sparkling juice production in the United States. Production demands are complex and change each week depending on factors such as what type of juice is being produced, the amount of railcars available for product distribution, and the supply of raw materials entering the production flow.
Room For Improvement
Before Workloud, Scheduler and Human Resource Coordinator Allison Shockley struggled managing the volatile demands of building weekly schedules. “There were a lot of issues when we were using Excel. I needed to keep union contracts in mind, and there were scheduling SOPs that had to be followed. For the employees, there was very little transparency when it came to assignment creation, and a less than perfect audit system in place for instances when I needed to reference past schedules to settle grievances,” lamented Shockley.
The Solution was Workloud
When searching for a Workforce Management solution, demand-driven scheduling automation was critical. Workloud’s robust scheduling engine was able to handle complex facility requirements such as early starts that vary for the employee and shift worked, employee overtime bidding,union rules that frequently change with contract negotiations, and flexing seasonal employee and production schedules.
Because Workloud is able to automate absence management, which allows schedulers to manage all types of leave requests including balancing production demands and keeping employees updated of their requests via web or mobile applications, the selection of Workloud was ideal for Welch’s. Shockley said, “Before Workloud, we would receive vacation and time off requests on paper, then they’d be organized on a spreadsheet for approval, and then I’d key in the information. Now,I just go in and approve or deny a request, and it goes right into the system and notifies the employee. I don’t have to rely on my memory.When employees come to me in the middle of the day inquiring about their leaves, I can tell them to check their phones! It makes my time a lot easier.”
Employee Engagement with Workloud
Workloud mobile employee tools are available through web and smart phone applications and they have allowed Welch’s to streamline volunteering and overtime bidding. Shockley continued, “99% of the employees are on their mobile or computer devices. This is huge because with almost every other online system we are using, we haven’t even been able to get 50% user adoption. I think they like it because they feel that they have control over their work schedule. They like the easy access so they don’t have to walk around with paper slips.” The difference in employee engagement levels is also noticeable to IT Manager Rick Reeves, who stated “It’s actually fun to listen to employees talking to each other about how easy the ‘app’ is to use on their phones”.