Synovia Solutions Blog

CONNECTING THE DOTS BETWEEN TIME AND ATTENDANCE

Posted by Christina Dieckmeyer on Tue, Jun 27, 2017 @ 09:41 AM

How GPS-powered tools can improve your payroll system.

6.27.17_Time_And_Attendance_Quote.pngWhen you run a transportation department, your responsibilities never end, from safety issues and driver behavior to route planning and fleet maintenance. To complicate matters even more, you also have very real budget concerns and, too often, budget cuts to deal with. Luckily, many people have realized that GPS technology can help them do more with less while saving both time and money. What many don’t realize, though, is that your payroll system is no exception – there are GPS-powered tools available that can help you better manage it as well.

How It Works

A time and attendance solution allows your drivers to clock in and out within their vehicles. This eliminates paying for non-driving time, and on average it saves 15 minutes per driver, per vehicle, per day. You can ensure your drivers are being paid accurately for their time on the road.

Integrating with Your Payroll System

When looking at solutions, you need one that can integrate with your current setup. All the information captured through GPS tracking needs to be exported to the payroll system you’re already using, quickly and easily. This eliminates any extra work during implementation.

Increasing Payroll Accuracy

Logging time by hand introduces the possibility of human error, causing your payroll accuracy to suffer. By automating time collection, you save quite a bit by eliminating inaccurate time entries. Even if you’re off by as little as one or two percent, that can have a significant effect on your overall payroll budget, no matter whether you manage 50 vehicles or 5,000.

Staying in the Know

One of the largest benefits associated with logging driver time electronically is being able to accurately capture time for payroll purposes. Since you are paying your drivers based on time, it’s critical to know how much of that time is actually involved in a specific route or activity. A time and attendance solution enables your drivers to log a job type with the same keypad they use to clock in from their vehicle.

With this type of solution, you can also review and manage the time that is being collected. As your drivers log in, your GPS system is sending that data back to you. You can review to see who’s logged in, what their time cards look like, and more – all in real time. In addition, you can compare your existing route schedules from your planning system to the actual time being logged by your drivers. If a driver assigned to a six-hour shift is logging eight hours, you’ll know.

Empowering Your Drivers

The GPS solution should also include an employee portal, which allows drivers to log in and view how many hours they’ve logged. The employee portal allows non-drivers or dual-role employees (for example,  someone who may drive in the mornings and work as an office employee during the day) to log time spent on activities that don’t involve operating a vehicle. This can be done from a computer, so time spent both on the road and in the office can all be captured on one time card.

Even if one of your drivers forgets to log in or out, GPS data will provide you with a full picture of that driver’s day, from when that driver left to the time they returned. There are no “he said, she said” arguments over time discrepancies because all the data is right there in front of you.

Overall Benefits to Tracking TIme and Attendance Electronically

Let’s walk through an example of potential benefits and cost savings. Below are some of the major differences experienced by one of our clients with Synovia’s Time and Attendance solution.

Prior to implementation, their process looked something like this. Drivers would fill out timesheets and clock in at their schools. The schools would then review the time by hand, increasing the manpower needed to complete payroll. There was a lack of accountability and accuracy overall.

After implementation, drivers clocked in directly from the bus. The transportation department was able to quickly audit time using the data provided by the software. They also utilized a daily payroll import to ensure payroll accuracy.

So, what was their overall result? The school has reported $100,000 in annual savings since moving to Synovia’s Time and Attendance solution.

Many schools have decided to say goodbye to timesheets and manual entry. They are instead turning to GPS solutions for accurate time tracking, easy-to-read reports, and payroll integration. The benefits are endless, from more effectively managed fleets to large cost savings.

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If you want to learn more about Synovia's TIme & Attendance solution, sign up for a free demonstration

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Tags: Time and Attendance, Payroll

The Benefits of Electronic Logging Devices

Posted by Bill Westerman on Fri, Oct 07, 2016 @ 05:11 PM

The History of the ELD Mandate

SYN-Fleet-Management-Benefits-290x226.jpgEver since 1938 drivers of commercial vehicles have been required to keep track of their hours of service (HOS.) The idea being that by tracking a driver’s hours you can limit the number of companies, and individuals, who stay on the road for too long. By doing this you are keeping fatigued drivers off the road and limiting the risk of serious accidents that could harm both the drivers as well as others who share the road with them. These logs have been called “paper logs.”

Accident investigators and safety advocates, however, have long complained that it's easy to change the paper logs or keep two different sets of records to evade restrictions on hours. This is why we now have a new federal mandate that will be taking effect December 18th, 2017 which will require all drivers to electronically record their hours behind the wheel, and electronic logging devices (ELDs) to be installed on all trucks built after 2000.

Those opposed to the ELDs say the companies that hire them to haul freight will be able to access the electronic logs and pressure drivers who haven't reached their limit of legally-allowed hours to stay on the road even if they want to rest.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), whose mission is to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses, says that there are procedural and technical provisions designed to protect commercial truck and bus drivers from harassment resulting from information generated by the devices.

As a company that provides electronic fleet tracking we admittedly may be slightly biased, but we see numerous benefits of electronic logs and feel this new rule is one that will pay off for the industry and general public for years to come.

Are the Benefits Real?

On April 5, 2010, the FMCSA published a final rule that required motor carriers with significant HOS violations to install ELDs in their trucks. The final rule took effect on June 4, 2010. But then in June, OOIDA filed a lawsuit with U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit challenging the final rule and the Court cancelled the final rule.

Part of the reason for the court cancelling the rule was that the court noted that the FMCSA had not estimated the safety benefits of ELDs currently in use and how much ELDs increased compliance. So if you can’t prove that the benefits of ELDs are real, then you can’t mandate them.

2013 FMCSA Study

In 2013 the FMCSA completed and published a study on the potential safety benefits of drivers using ELD on a mandated basis. While smaller owner/operators were not included in the study, the results proved that FMCSA had been on the right track when they first sought to have ELDs mandated:

Trucks with ELDs had an 11.7% lower crash rate than non-ELD equipped trucks, and they also had a 5.1% lower preventable crash rate than trucks without ELDs.

With these figures the FMCSA estimated that by simply having electronic logging devices installed in trucks 26 lives can be saved every year and they can prevent over 560 injuries as well.

That’s each and every year.

Cost Savings

For an industry where efficiency is key to profits, ELDs are a great way to increase efficiency, as well as boost profits. Based on assumptions stated by the FMCSA, paperwork savings per driver, per year, alone are estimated to include:

  • Save $487 in drivers filling out Record of Duty Status.
  • Save $56 in drivers submitting Record of Duty Status.
  • Save $120 in clerks filing Record of Duty Status.
  • Save $42 via the elimination of paper books.

That works out to be a total of $705 per year in just paperwork savings alone – and that’s a conservative estimate. All told, the safety administration estimates the electronic devices will provide a net savings of $1 billion a year, mostly through paperwork reductions.

With fewer accidents on the road, insurance claims also go down, and costs are further reduced.

Increased Safety

While the ELD is going to be a requirement when it comes to your drivers logging their HOS, if companies institute a complete GPS fleet management system from Synovia you can up your safety and savings even more.

With a complete GPS fleet management system, you can see in real time if your drivers are driving the most efficient routes. You can also tell if there are cases of hard accelerating, or excessive idling, which can lead to increased fuel costs. Maintenance can be monitored so that vehicles get the right amount of scheduled and preventative maintenance, keeping them on the road making money.

Trucks that are in good working order also don’t break down on the side of the road, creating issues on the highway that can lead to accidents, or put your driver’s safety at risk.

Together, the right ELD tracking system and complete GPS fleet management system can keep drivers and trucks safely on the road as well as boost dollars going to the bottom line. If one of these arguments isn’t enough to justify ELDs the other sure should be.

 

Tags: Time and Attendance, fleet managers

The 2015 State of the Beverage Industry Report. One sip at a time.

Posted by Bill Westerman on Mon, Oct 05, 2015 @ 11:36 AM


SYN State Beverage Industry 290x226From alcoholic beverages to energy drinks and even water, the beverage industry is doing quite well these days. Consumer trends such as healthier living, increased taste expectations, and a growing distrust of artificial ingredients are forcing greater innovation in product development across the board, which also blurs category lines.

Non-alcoholic drinks see big spikes 

Water According to the 2015 State of the Beverage Industry Report, national water consumption has increased by over 68 million 8-ounce servings in just a year, due in part to healthier lifestyle trends. Still, bottled waters account for the majority of sales, but sparkling water is fastest-growing segment and will continue to be so.

Juice Again, healthy lifestyles are driving this trend. The refrigerated juice and juice drink smoothies segment grew to more than $842 million, with Naked brand as a top performer. Coconut water is another healthy bright spot, doubling its sales every year since 2004.  Finally, Capri Sun showed a 26% increase in sales over the previous year.

Sports drinks Not just for hard-core athletes any more. In fact, this category’s traditional market is steadily declining, while more casual sports drink consumers is increasing. Nearly 50% of surveyed consumers aged 18-24 choose sports drinks when they are not working out. 

Protein drinks Another category that is seeing the positive impact of changing consumer attitudes, the ready-to-drink protein drinks market grew by newly 24 percent in 2014.

Energy drinks Yes, the overall energy drinks category was up 6.9 percent last year, but that pales in comparison to the double-digit increases experienced in years past. To appeal to health and taste conscious consumers, this category needs to innovate, and it knows it.  One example is developing energy drinks that are made with USDA-certified organic ingredients

Soda Still a leader, carbonated soft drinks face several challenges and decreasing sales show it. To appeal to the health and taste-oriented markets, this category is innovating with smaller portion sizes, using natural sweeteners, and through craft sodas. Much like craft beers, craft sodas give consumers something trendy, with greater variety, including flavors, kosher, gluten free, organic, vegan and variety packs.

Tea Consumer desire for convenient, better-for-you beverage options will continue to drive double-digit growth, especially as canned and bottled teas increase their presence in convenience stores and vending machines.

Dairy alternatives The U.S. drinking milk market is expected to decrease 2% annually, while dairy alternatives are expected to grow 52 percent over the next four years. When you consider the growth of almond milk and coconut milk, and the interest in fiber-based milk, this expectation seems highly realistic.

Alcoholic beverages. Changing of the guards.

Spirits “Brown is back; it’s the whiskey renaissance” declared Danny Brager, senior vice president of alcoholic beverages at New York-based Nielsen. “Over the past four years or so, whiskey has now replaced vodka as the No. 1 sub-category…”

Wine The market preference is changing here as well. While wine sales are up, champagne shows the most significant change. Nearly half of those surveyed, age 25 to 34, reported drinking sparkling wine or champagne at home.

Beer Gone are the days of the cheap 6-pack, as more consumers buy imports and craft beers. Domestic beers are capitalizing on this movement, adding super-premium sub-brands.

Distribution technology trends. GPS helps competitors gain ground.

Throughout the course of a day, a delivery driver will make a multitude of stops while racking up the mileage quickly. So when trying to increase service while cutting costs, wouldn’t having the most information possible make the most sense?

Tracking Delivery Routes

By utilizing GPS tracking services such as Synovia Solutions, delivery routes can be mapped and tracked, then fine-tuned to the smallest details. This offers all sorts of benefits:

  • Pinpoint the safest routes for your drivers

  • Decrease the chances of accidents

  • Limit lost or damaged goods

  • Greater accuracy for delivery time

  • Increase customer satisfaction

  • Increase cost efficiency

Safeguarding Your Fleet—and Time

GPS solutions do more than tracking. Engine diagnostics can lead to greater fuel efficiency, less vehicle downtime, and longer vehicular life. Time and Attendance can eliminate time-consuming, inaccurate paper time sheets and click in devices. 

See For Yourself

We offer a free, no obligation trial. If you decide we’re exactly what your company needs, we’ll get you started with no upfront costs. 

To learn more about Synovia Solutions, visit www.synoviasolutions.com or call 1-877-796-6842.

 

 

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Sources: http://www.bevindustry.com/articles/88556-state-of-the-beverage-industry-report

Tags: Time and Attendance, beverage distribution, GPS

Electronic Time Tracking Can Help You Regain Control of Your Payroll System

Posted by Bill Westerman on Thu, Feb 12, 2015 @ 11:10 AM
GPS for payroll system

As a fleet manager, your responsibilities are seemingly endless, from safety issues and driver behavior, to route planning and fleet maintenance. What’s more, budget concerns remain a very real obstacle. Fortunately, GPS technology can help you do more with less while saving both time and money. Your payroll system is no exception. Read on to learn how Time and Attendance, a GPS-powered tool from Synovia Solutions, can help you better manage all aspects of your payroll system.

Time and Attendance Works with Your Current Payroll System

Time and Attendance is capable of integrating with your current setup so that all of the information captured through GPS tracking can be exported to the payroll system you’re already using quickly and easily.

Time and Attendance Allows You to Automate Time Collection

By using Time and Attendance to automate time collection, you can eliminate paper timesheets by having your drivers login from their vehicles rather than your facility. By tracking driver and employee time more effectively, you can ensure a one-hour route isn’t being logged as a two-hour job or a driver with a four-hour day isn’t being paid for six hours’ worth of work.

Time and Attendance Increases Payroll Accuracy

If your employees are logging their time by hand, chances are your payroll accuracy is suffering. By automating time collection, you can save quite a bit simply by eliminating inaccurate time entries. Even if you’re off by as little as one or two percent, that can have a significant effect on your overall payroll budget, no matter if you manage 20 vehicles or 2,000.

Time and Attendance Keeps You in the Know

One of the largest benefits associated with Time and Attendance is being able to accurately capture time for payroll purposes. If you’re paying your drivers based on time, it’s essential to know how much of that time is actually involved in a specific route or activity. Time and Attendance enables your drivers to log a job type with the same keypad they use to clock in from their vehicle, whether it’s their regular daily school route or a field trip.

Time and Attendance also lets you review and manage the time that is being collected. As your drivers log in, your GPS system is sending that data back to you through the Synovia Solutions platform, which you can review to see who’s logged in, what their time cards look like and more – all in real time. In addition, you can compare your existing route schedules from your planning system to the actual time being logged by your drivers, so if a driver assigned to a six hour shift is logging eight hours, you’ll know.

Time and Attendance Helps You Manage Healthcare Requirements

Even if you don’t pay your drivers based on time and instead use a daily or flat rate, accurate time capturing is incredibly important when it comes to healthcare, specifically the Affordable Care Act, which requires employees who work beyond 30 hours per week be provided health care benefits. If you’re not currently offering these types of benefits, the Affordable Care Act can present you with a rather large expense. That’s why it’s so important that you ensure the time you collect is accurate.

Time and Attendance Makes Life Easier for Your Employees

Time and Attendance also includes an employee portal, which allows drivers to log in and view how many hours they’ve logged. The employee portal also allows non-drivers or dual-role employees (someone who may drive in the mornings and work as an office employee during the day) to log time spent on activities that don’t involve operating a vehicle. This can be done from a computer, so both time spent on the road and in the office can all be captured on one time card.

Even if one of your drivers forgets to log in or out, GPS data will provide you with a full picture of that driver’s day, from when that driver left to time they returned. There are no “he said, she said” arguments over time discrepancies because all of the data is right there in front of you.

Time and Attendance Saves You Money. Period.

The example below shows a timecard representing a week’s worth of work, which alerts you to the fact that the amount of time logged exceeds the time allotted for a particular route or shift, enabling you to investigate and subsequently correct the situation.

Below that you can see weekly totals representing logged activities, including time spent per day. Having this information helps you better manage your employee payroll and reduce time spent on specific shifts or activities where possible, leading to significant overall cost savings. 

payroll system

Using a K-12 fleet as an example, you can see the results North Carolina’s Lincoln County Schools have experienced after integrating their payroll system with Time and Attendance: 

Lincoln County Schools

 

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Tags: transportation directors, Time and Attendance, GPS, Payroll