Cold storage company reduces HCM complexity with Ceridian Dayforce

Since going live in June, Dayforce HCM has helped Millard Refrigerated Services reduce paper-based processes and increase employee self-service.

As he's in the food storage business, it's only fitting that Sean Kimble, senior vice president of human resources (HR) at Millard Refrigerated Services, used a food metaphor to describe the company's former human capital management (HCM) setup. He said the connections, when mapped out among the disjointed systems for time tracking, payroll and performance appraisals, looked like a bowl of spaghetti.

Millard Refrigerated Services warehouseMillard Refrigerated
Services warehouse

"We had so many different lines going to disparate systems, and connecting them was such a job for our IT professionals," Kimble said. "We knew if we came up with one integrated system, everybody would win."

The cold storage services business headquartered in Omaha, Neb., began its search for a more unified approach last year, Kimble said. The desired outcomes from a new platform included saving time and reducing errors in payroll, implementing employee self-service for its 2,200 workers, lessening reliance on paper and reducing IT complexity. After careful consideration, Millard adopted cloud-based Dayforce HCM from Ceridian, a vendor the company was already working with for tax filing.

But Ceridian wasn't the company's automatic pick, Kimble said. A list of four vendors was eventually narrowed to two -- Ceridian and Workday.

And although the implementation process was relatively painless, Kimble said it wasn't entirely devoid of challenges. The newly instituted process of temporary workers using Millard's time-tracking software raised the need for change management and system adjustments.

Workday too sophisticated; Ceridian Dayforce just right

Cloud or on-premises wasn't a debate at Millard, Kimble said. From the beginning, the company knew it wanted a cloud-based system for workforce management, core HR and payroll.

"I think the executive team [was] able to see that this is where things are moving -- the cloud," Kimble said. "And if you can move to an OpEx [operating expense] system, that probably makes sense. You don't have a giant outlay of capital on hard software systems." In addition, Kimble pointed out that customers of Software-as-a-Service cloud-based systems are by default all on the same release, which allows for better knowledge-sharing.

Kimble said he initially met with four vendors -- Ceridian, Workday, ADP and Infor -- at the Society for Human Resource Management's (SHRM) annual conference. When the latter two were dropped from consideration, representatives from the remaining ones travelled to Omaha to present to Millard's executive team in person.

The ultimate choice wasn't based on features or capabilities that Workday lacked. In fact, Kimble said it was the opposite.

"I don't think that we decided against Workday as much as in favor of Ceridian," he said. "Workday has some [features] and technology that we simply wouldn't take advantage of." For example, the majority of Millard's workforce is hourly, so Kimble said he wouldn't use Workday's sophisticated succession planning capabilities.

Factors that worked in Ceridian's favor included the vendor's strong payroll offering (Millard does payroll on a weekly basis) and the fact that Ceridian representatives, not third-party partners, would lead implementation. Kimble said Millard's entire executive team was involved in the decision, and input from users and other internal stakeholders was factored in.

Sandboxes, personalized training materials ramp up user adoption

Implementation took five and a half months, and involved three sandbox versions of the software, Kimble said. Two dedicated Ceridian consultants were on hand virtually or in person throughout.

According to experts, a common mistake business leaders make when supervising a new system implementation is to leave old processes untouched. Kimble said he strove to ensure this wasn't the case with Dayforce. "We needed to make sure we were not just creating the same thing [we] have today for tomorrow, but just with different bells and whistles."

The sandboxes helped circumvent this problem, Kimble said, as they gave users a chance to discover and report on what worked and what didn't. While the second sandbox was made available to those who would be heavy users, the majority of the company's employees were able to access the third for a few weeks before the go-live date in June.

The company also took two additional measures to boost user adoption.

"We elected to spend a little more money to get customized training material from Ceridian," Kimble said. "We wanted people to feel comfortable in the new setting with material relevant to our company."

Throughout the implementation, project leaders also had weekly conference calls with each of Millard's 33 sites, and provided customized webinar training for specific types of users.

But it wasn't entirely smooth sailing. In the past, temporary employees did not have to use Millard's time tracking system, but that policy was changed after Dayforce was implemented. "[That] was a big change-management exercise for us because we had never done that before," Kimble said. Also, adjusting to a live-attendance environment took some work, and Kimble said there were growing pains in the first week about how tardies and absences were being recorded in the system.

Connect compensation with performance for better labor insights

So far, the company's done well to achieve the goals it set at the beginning of the project. For instance, employee self-service is saving time for the office management team by allowing employees to access their own vacation information. "Now they can go to the time clock, swipe in [and] go to the self-service module and see their balance for time off," Kimble said. In addition, "paper is behind us."

Millard is also in the midst of implementing talent management software from SAP SuccessFactors, a Ceridian partner. "If you want to improve your people information, you want to be able to connect compensation with performance with succession," Kimble said. "That's great for us because it's a natural partnership with Ceridian Dayforce and SuccessFactors." He added that having these integrated systems in place will cut back on the potential for different versions of the truth.

Kimble also values being an active member of the Ceridian community. He said the company not only intends to "develop a good partnership with Ceridian, but also with other users and companies. That's how [we] really can make the very best out of the investment."

While Kimble said the company doesn't currently have plans to expand its instance of Ceridian, he is looking forward to the improved dashboards that are slated for release in 2014. "Reporting now is fine, but it's going to be really great."

And although Ceridian Dayforce was the right choice for Millard, Kimble said there are many solid HCM options on the market. "There are a lot of good vendors out there. Scope out what you need up front, and you'll end up with a good [system] on the back end."

More on human capital management software

Emma Snider is the associate editor for SearchFinancialApplications. Follow her on Twitter @emmajs24 and the site @SearchFinApps.

This was first published in October 2013

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