Our longtime partners at The Pella Corporation manufacture and sell windows and doors, products that are so ingrained in our daily lives that they’re easy to take for granted. But Pella brings creativity and ingenuity to their manufacturing processes every day, constantly stepping up their products and their industry leadership. In fact, Pella was named one of Fast Company’s 2023 World's Most Innovative Companies. Fast Company recognized Pella for its “innovative approach to improving productivity and enhancing workplace wellness for its nearly 10,000 employees.”
LuAnn Shafer leads Human Resources at Pella’s plant in Troy, Ohio, a site that has worked with TeamSense for over 3 years. At our November TeamSense Customer Spotlight webinar, LuAnn spoke with Rob Balena, our Head of Sales. LuAnn shared some of the ways that her HR team at the Troy plant use TeamSense as part of their program for improving productivity and enhancing workplace wellness.
Watch the full webinar replay and read this blog post to learn more about Pella's trailblazing approach to attendance management, absenteeism reduction, and employee wellness.
At TeamSense, we see the direct connection between reducing absenteeism and improving a plant or warehouse’s ability to predictably meet production goals. LuAnn and Pella are one of our first customers, adopting TeamSense during the early stages of the COVID outbreak. So if anyone has seen the connection between reduced absenteeism with TeamSense and predictable productivity, it’s LuAnn. Here’s how she describes that connection:
“It impacts our ability to produce products. We try to run our lines very lean and have just the number of people we need, day in and day out, to get the product out the door. If we’ve got someone absent–an unplanned absence, so to speak–we need to be able to fill those gaps and fill them quickly…That first hour’s kind of our golden hour. You’ve got to hit your production rates that first hour, otherwise you’re behind the rest of the day. It’s difficult to catch up.”
LuAnn confirmed what we’ve heard from so many customers. TeamSense lets employees text in their call-off, instead of calling their manager, leaving a message, navigating an IVR or interacting with an operator. This ease reduces no call, no shows and gives line managers immediate alerts for the on-the-spot staffing agility they need to prevent work slowdowns or stoppages.
Site productivity is crucial for meeting company commitments to customers and distributors. Unfortunately, as any plant manager will tell you, productivity often comes at the expense of efficiency and the ability to meet production goals on budget. LuAnn did a great job describing how TeamSense helps improve manufacturing efficiency:
“At the end of the day, it saves time. It's affordable. It gets us to the point where we're running production at startup as opposed to scrambling–seeing who we have missing and who we need to get on site, so I think “time and money”, it just kind of saves all the way around. It's been a great benefit for us.”
Before adopting TeamSense, LuAnn’s Pella Plant in Troy, Ohio required their employees to call their individual managers directly, if they were planning to miss work. This was an organizational headache for the HR team every morning. They had to gather all the information from the individual managers. The time required to gain that attendance visibility meant that production managers couldn’t respond as quickly as they can now.
Of course, no system will be successful if team members won’t use it. Through hundreds of conversations with our customers, we consistently hear that hourly workers like using TeamSense. They find it easy. It doesn’t require email or an app download, so new sites typically see more than 95% adoption in the first month. Almost everyone has a mobile device and knows how to text.
Team members prefer to text off with TeamSense instead of calling managers directly. Often the manager’s not available; they’re already on the floor or prepping for that day’s production. For some, it’s an uncomfortable call to make to one’s boss. Some avoid that discomfort by not calling at all. Those no call, no shows are especially bad for smooth plant operations.
LuAnn confirmed how much easier TeamSense is for her hourly workers: “Actually, they love it…We call it a "call in", but they literally text in their information. They send a quick text, get a link, and are able to go in and let us know they’re not going to be here…and then we just get a quick synopsis of every individual that calls in.”
TeamSense makes it comfortable, easy and efficient for team members to communicate if they’re not coming to work, which also ensures that the TeamSense database holds current employee phone numbers. That means that Pella also has a reliable and quick way to easily send their team members outgoing messages. For example, LuAnn described how an electrical outage forced a delay of third shift and how, with TeamSense’s communication features, she was able to get that information out immediately to more than 300 employees:
“We had a situation not too long ago. I think it was an electrical outage, and we had to call off or delay the start of our 3rd shift. As you can imagine–with 300 employees–doing that quickly was extremely beneficial. We were able to get that message out, get it out pretty quickly, and let them know we were going to delay 2 hours just due to the situation.
So this is really beneficial. Some of the other places I've worked at, they've had a phone tree, but if you want something done quickly–which we needed to do within an hour or 2 to get that out–those options are just not real, they're not real successful. So this really makes it nice, and everybody has a cell phone nowadays. I mean, it's the one device that I can count on. All of our team members have a cell phone.”
Believe it or not, LuAnn remembered a time when she would have called the radio station and asked if they could communicate a plant closure so employees knew not to come in! Oh, how times have changed 🙂.
Not only does TeamSense give LuAnn visibility into absenteeism, it makes it very easy for her to share that information with senior management:
“Just the ability to be able to provide those data analytics for absenteeism, it's one thing that Corporate will look at, and I'm able to–at any given point in time–just pop in there, put a date range in and and forward our absentee rates for whatever period of time they're looking at. For me, it's invaluable just because I've got data at my fingertips and can provide that when needed. It makes me look good!"
If you are a plant General Manager, a site-level HR leader, or a Chief Human Resources Officer, you need to think strategically about how to reduce the daily disruption caused by absenteeism. Our TeamSense eBook “The Costly Impact of Absenteeism on Manufacturing Operations” addresses the problem that LuAnn described so well, in a way that can help you tackle the problem with TeamSense.
Download the eBook or Book a Demo, to begin a journey similar to the one that the Pella Corporation started three years ago!
The Costly Impact of Absenteeism on Manufacturing Operations
Learn how chronic, unplanned absenteeism is a costly impediment to manufacturing productivity and efficiency, and how you can reduce absenteeism.