Transportation Business Shifts Gears with Streamlined Payroll and ReportingJune 19, 2023
Learn how Veneer Chip Transport is using Paylocity to shift their business into high gear.
In business since 1956, Veneer Chip Transport Inc. has built a reputation as the leading residuals and bulk transporter in the Pacific Northwest. The family-run company specializes in hauling wood chips, sawdust, and other by-products from lumber processing for use as fuel.
Jennifer Parsons, Director of Administration, explains: “When I started with the company, we had just 12 drivers, including our owners. Since then, we’ve expanded to 160 people, and we’re still growing, with several recent acquisitions. Today, we have offices in Tacoma, WA, Spokane, WA and Missoula, MT, where we handle the administration that keeps the business in great shape.”
Jennifer and a small team manage all the company’s HR activities. But with limited resources and plenty of other work piling up as the business grew, ensuring key processes like payroll and reporting run quickly and efficiently posed tough challenges.
“We follow the three Ps: people, process, and product. And the most important is people—without hardworking employees, we simply can’t meet client expectations,” adds Jennifer. “That’s why we do all we can to keep our people engaged, from offering great rewards to a supportive culture.”
All of this makes finding the right HR and payroll platform crucial for Veneer Chip Transport. When previous provider Paychex wasn’t delivering the goods, Jennifer knew it was time to shift gears. She turned to Paylocity—and it’s proven a great choice for the growing business.
“Paylocity has freed up my time and improved my personal life. I can come in, work my shift, and get everything done that I need to. It removes a lot of stress, and that is always a very good thing.”
Roadmap to More Efficient HR
Using Paychex and a mass of unwieldy spreadsheets to manage HR and payroll was slow, inefficient, and stressful for the team at Veneer Chip Transport. The company looked for a fresh approach.
Complex Rules Create Payroll Challenges
The nature of Veneer Chip Transport’s operations makes for a complicated payroll. With employees working in Montana, Idaho, and Washington, the company must comply with a complex mix of state and federal tax regulations. And while some employees are on a regular salary, others work on hourly rates, or receive payments for piecework or mileage. “We work with more than 60 different pay codes during payroll, which makes things pretty demanding,” notes Jennifer.
Previous Provider Falls Short of The Mark
Managing payroll with the previous Paychex Flex system was far from easy for Veneer Chip Transport. Setting up pay codes and tax details was labor-intensive, with Jennifer having to open a profile for each employee to enter the right data before every payroll. As a result, the whole process could take well over a day and half to complete. Accessing support was frustrating, too. Jennifer confirms: “The vendor was not addressing our needs or answering our questions effectively.”
Manual Working Makes Reporting Difficult
The Paychex platform also offered limited reporting capabilities. Instead, Jennifer relied on spreadsheets to track and manage HR information. “At one time, we compiled a super-spreadsheet with hundreds of columns and rows listing information on every employee. To prepare reports, I saved a copy and deleted data I didn’t need,” adds Jennifer. Inevitably, updating the spreadsheets involved large amounts of time- consuming and difficult manual work.
“It was a very smooth implementation. Paylocity gave us a timeline for the next 90 days and had a plan in place for every week, day, and process, so it was very transparent. And we were online in time to process our W-2 forms and manage the last payroll of the year.”
Selecting a Best-in-Class Platform
By replacing Paychex with Paylocity, Veneer Chip Transport has transformed its payroll and reporting processes and is now working to enhance the employee experience.
Before committing to a new vendor, Jennifer felt it was essential to see their product in action—and only Paylocity stepped up to the plate. “Six vendors wouldn’t offer a demo. Paylocity came to us and showed me how the platform would simplify our payroll, including offering an unlimited number of pay codes. Other vendors were pushy, but Paylocity was genuinely helpful,” adds Jennifer.
Automated Payroll Ensures Accuracy and Compliance
Veneer Chip Transport uses Paylocity’s Payroll module to manage biweekly pay for employees. The solution enables Jennifer to maintain payroll accuracy, minimizes the need for manual interventions, and ensures full compliance with state and federal tax regulations. “Paylocity gives us a reliable way to pay people—that’s the most important thing,” says Jennifer. “It’s just me and one assistant managing payroll, so it’s vital we have a simple and fast system. Paylocity fits the bill perfectly.”
Enhanced Reporting Fuels Business Insights
To create reports for business teams and other stakeholders, Veneer Chip Transport uses Paylocity’s Insights & Recommendations module. For example, when the company’s insurance broker requests data on hours and benefits plans, Jennifer can pull a report with just a few clicks. “When I need data on employee locations, pay or whatever, I go straight to Paylocity. We have so much information in there, and usually I can get all the answers I need right there and then,” explains Jennifer.
Mobile Capabilities Give Employees Flexibility
Recently, Veneer Chip Transport has hired more younger drivers who are keen to manage their HR admin online rather than on paper or in person. Paylocity’s Employee Self-Service module and the Paylocity Mobile App give Jennifer all these capabilities and more. She notes: “We already have people managing their details via the app, and it’s a big goal for us to increase our usage.”
Hitting Cruise Control with Automatic HR
With Paylocity, Veneer Chip Transport has significantly improved the speed and efficiency of its payroll, realized big time-savings, and positioned HR as a driver for business growth.
Faster Payroll Improves Life for HR
Where payroll used to take well over a day, Veneer Chip Transport now completes the process much faster. There is no longer any need to painstakingly enter information before every payroll; instead, Paylocity saves all the details from the last time. “We can just set it and forget it. The ease of use is like night and day compared to every other payroll platform we have seen. I can’t say enough about how intuitive it is to manage payroll, which removes a whole lot of stress,” explains Jennifer.
Replacing Spreadsheets Reclaims Valuable Time
Being able to instantly pull reports from Paylocity is saving Jennifer huge amounts of time. She confirms: “Compared to when we manually worked through different folders and grabbed data from spreadsheets, I’d say we save around 15 hours every week.” That time enables Jennifer to focus on more valuable, strategic work, such as updating HR documents and building up an internal safety team. “We can now get things done that we never had time for in the past,” notes Jennifer.
Turning HR into an Engine for Growth
By saving time and gaining deeper operational insight, Jennifer is playing a key role in the expansion of the business. For example, when Veneer Chip Transport considered purchasing a company in Missoula, Montana, Jennifer pulled detailed reports on how many current employees were based in the region and could step in if drivers at the acquired business left. And following the acquisition of a company in Arlington, Jennifer had time to guide her new team through existing processes.
Jennifer concludes: “I have been able to spend quality time up there with the team, which has really helped to facilitate the acquisition process. This has been huge for me, saving me having to make trips on weekends, and huge for the company as we continue to grow.”
“With Paylocity, the support is always great. There’s never any hanging around on the phone and you don’t have to repeat your story five times to five different people. And our account manager is amazing—whenever I have questions, he always points me in the right direction.”