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Deputy helps packaging company roster staff based on their production demands.

Houston, Texas
retail industry Retail

At a glance

  • Ability to optimize workforce utilization at minimum cost to the business
  • Ensures the right amount of staff at the right time to avoid overstaffing
  • Ability to provide optimal customer service levels while controlling payroll costs

The Story

Based in Houston, Texas, the Platform Group Gallery (Platform) is a full-service, ecologically friendly, made in the USA packaging supplier specifically for the promotions industry.

Established in 1997, Platform is unique in the industry. The company manufactures its entire line of products such as press kits, gift boxes, binders, mailers, and desk accessories, and performs all laminating, die-cutting, and printing services in-house.

Allison Gower, Platform’s founder recognized that as businesses were becoming more environmentally conscious, there was a nascent and growing demand for green promotional packaging products.

To meet this need, she set up Platform and differentiated the company from its peers by specializing in supplying ecologically friendly packaging solutions, using only 100% recycled-content fibreboard and eco-friendly paper stock.

To further set the business apart, Gower leveraged full-service capabilities to offer exceptional customer service and an extremely fast turnaround. Platform offers a ready-made range of its most popular products, which can be simply ordered online and branded to suit clients’ needs. Because the company controls all aspects of the production process, these products can typically be shipped within 5-7 working days.

For more complex orders, Platform also offers design and prototyping services for custom designed packaging requirements.

The company employs 15 people in a range of roles, including sales support and customer service; production; and printing.

"We recognized that as businesses were becoming more environmentally conscious, there was a nascent and growing demand for green promotional packaging products."

The Challenge

As Platform started to grow rapidly, Gower brought in her husband, Jeremy Konko, to help run the business. With many years’ experience in leadership roles predominantly in large corporations, Konko was tasked with bringing big business know-how into the growing business to streamline operations.

As a priority, Konko focused on the way Platform was rostering and scheduling its staff. He knew this process could be much enhanced.

“Platform had already tried magnetic swipe cards to clock employees in and out. While they are simple to use, we had encountered a number of issues with keeping the software up-to-date. So we had reverted to the spreadsheet.”

Konko continues, “This was an incredibly onerous task to manage and one that required endless back and forth between the departments. It never seemed to be accurate.”

“So I evaluated four or five different rostering and work scheduling systems based on our own particular production needs, and Deputy ticked all the boxes. For us, it was a clear winner.”

"Platform had already tried magnetic swipe cards to clock employees in and out. While they are simple to use, we had encountered a number of issues with keeping the software up-to-date."

The Solution

In addition to saving a number of hours each week that was consumed in creating and managing the roster, the big benefit to Platform is the ability to sync-up staffing requirements precisely with production demands.

“Our production process works across four stations; laminating, die-cutting, printing, and assembly. In the past, it was really difficult to gauge the exact staffing requirement across these four stations in advance. So we’d usually end up overstaffing some areas and then have to schedule overtime in others.”

“With Deputy, it’s now systematic and straightforward to ensure that we have the right number of employees with the required skills rostered on across the production process at the right time. So we know well in advance whether we’ll need more production or laminating staff, as opposed to our people who specialize in die-cutting, printing or assembly.”

“Deputy also automatically enforces compliance with guaranteed minimum breaks between consecutive schedules and ensures we don’t violate any of our work rules. With Deputy, we’ve been able to ensure optimal customer service levels while controlling payroll costs. In fact, since being on Deputy, we haven’t had to ask any of our employees to work overtime.

“The staff rosters are now produced at the touch of a button, and it’s easy to adjust them if we have a staff member calling in sick, or we’re encountering unexpected operational issues or very high demand. Plus, we can simply copy the rules and preferences of our rosters rather than starting from scratch each week. And as all the data resides in the system, we have all the reports we need at our fingertips. It’s one source of truth.”

While Deputy is proving to be a winner from an operational standpoint, it’s also made a big difference to Platform’s employees.

Konko explains, “Not everyone has an email address, but they do have a phone. So the fact that all our employees can access Deputy on their phones means they are always fully up-to-date with their schedule and what hours they’re expected to work.”

“In addition, our employees can now request their vacation leave through Deputy, which their manager can approve at a click, and once approved, it automatically blocks us from rostering that particular employee at that time.”

“As Deputy integrates with our Netsuite payroll system, all the hours logged and approved in Deputy are automatically captured in payroll. It’s just a one-click export process. There’s no need for double-checking timesheets or rekeying data into Netsuite. Everything is transparent and payroll is 100% accurate. And it’s immediate.”

“I love the mobile access to Deputy and being able to see at a glance who’s rostered at which station and when, without actually being anywhere near the factory,” says Konko.

“Deputy is great for any business owner or manager that needs to be in two places at the same time.”

Platform also uses the communication tools within Deputy to the full.

“The alerts and messaging tool is a huge time saver for us,” continues Konko. “We set up all daily, weekly, and monthly tasks in our employees’ schedules, so each particular person is automatically reminded of what’s required and when.

“So for us, we don’t have to send reminder emails or double-check the tasks are being actioned. Everything is in the system, and each staff member is alerted to the task well in advance, and can simply click to confirm that it has been completed.

"With Deputy, we’ve optimized workforce utilization at minimum cost to the business. We haven’t had to underwrite a single week of overtime since using the system."

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