Implement a new timekeeping system for a grocery business with 38 stores and over 1,100 employees... ASAP
In late 2020, C&K Market’s existing timekeeping system suffered a sudden catastrophic failure. Their hardware timeclocks became expensive paperweights, completely unusable, and the company was left without a way to track or process time for its 1,100 hourly and salaried employees.
Because their timekeeping system was a highly-customized solution that had served its purpose for years, C&K Market first sought assistance from the original solution provider. The provider gave an estimate of 4 months before work toward a replacement could even begin, with an estimated 6-8 more months before C&K Market could be up and running and able to track time again. For C&K Market, that timeframe simply wasn’t going to work.
After quickly assembling a manual time tracking process as a stop-gap measure, C&K Market began to look for a new system.
C&K Market Inc. is an employee-owned grocery retail business with 38 locations and over 1100 employees in Oregon and northern California.
When their timekeeping system suffered a catastrophic failure in 2020, they acted quickly and decisively in order to take care of their employees.
With help from TimeForge, C&K Market implemented a cloud-based timekeeping system with fully configured timeclocks at all 38 stores in under 2 weeks.
Eric Armstrong, Director of Information Technology for C&K Market, led the search. Eric has been in the Information Technology field since 1989 and with C&K Market for over 4 years. He knew the company needed to act fast in order to keep up with its payroll cycles and take care of its employees. He also knew they needed a vendor who understands and could help them address the complex labor laws of Oregon and California.
“We had [our old system] for a long time, more than 10 years, so it was very familiar. The rules were all well-defined, and it just worked,” explained Eric. That is, until the day it didn’t. “And then we were suddenly faced with the fact that we had absolutely no time system, no timeclock, no ability to record people’s punches.” So when C&K Market’s payroll provider recommended TimeForge, Eric decided to give us a call.
C&K Market chose TimeForge as its timekeeping solution because of a demonstrated knowledge and expertise in grocery labor management. With 14+ years of experience in the industry, TimeForge built its timeclocks from the ground-up to meet the needs of grocery retailers. TimeForge has SHRM-certified experts on the team who know all the ins-and-outs of labor laws, including the complex laws of CA, OR, and other fair workweek states.
C&K Market also cited the following reasons for selecting TimeForge:
- Ability to implement timeclocks on an extremely short timeline.
- Pre-existing integration with C&K Market’s chosen payroll provider.
- Recommended by C&K Market’s chosen payroll provider.
- SaaS business model with affordable pricing and no contract.
- Ability to deploy other integrated solutions, such as TimeForge Scheduling and Sales Forecasting, over time.
- Complete and sudden loss of C&K Market’s existing timekeeping system.
- Needed a new timekeeping solution with timeclocks in all 38 stores ASAP.
- Manual timekeeping far too time consuming, even as a stop-gap measure.
- Needed to be able to comply with strict labor laws in Oregon and California.
- TimeForge Software: The best-in-class cloud-based labor management platform designed to meet the needs and challenges of the grocery industry.
- TimeForge Timeclocks: Retail-hardened timeclocks with fingerprint scanning. Unlike many timeclocks, TimeForge’s clocks do not store any part of the actual fingerprint, making them fast and extremely secure.
- Fully-functioning timekeeping system with timeclocks in all 38 stores.
- Eliminated the need for manual timekeeping and data entry across systems.
- Automated labor law compliance for the complex rules of Oregon and California.
- Timecards, clock-in status, and labor metrics in a centralized dashboard.
- Timekeeping system integrated with C&K Market’s existing payroll system.
Taking Care of Employees and the Business
For Eric Armstrong and C&K Market, the primary objective was to get a new timekeeping solution in place as quickly as possible. This was absolutely necessary for tracking employee hours and making sure payroll was processed in a timely manner.
Within a day of contacting TimeForge, Eric made the decision to move forward. “I called and talked with Audrey, who really knew her stuff,” said Eric. “[She said] she could get timeclocks configured, shipped, and ready to go in less than 2 weeks to our stores. She somehow accomplished this feat, and we had clocks in the stores by the following Friday. Employees were clocking in on Sunday morning. We use a Sunday to Saturday payroll week.”
“For us to literally in a week have the equipment shipped out to the stores and that following Sunday be taking punches was just amazing,” said Eric. “It was as seamless as possible.”
Employees were clocking-in on the new timeclocks with little to no training required, and payroll was processed on time that cycle without the need to perform manual data entry. Before the two weeks were up, TimeForge also made sure that the timekeeping system was configured to automatically track exceptions to Oregon’s and California’s meal and break laws.
With TimeForge’s help, C&K Market was able to quickly implement a fully-functioning timekeeping system and get all 1,100 of its employees paid.
And it only took 6 days, not 6-8 months!
An Efficient, Cloud-based Solution
For C&K Market, one of the benefits of TimeForge is that it allows the company to finally move away from an expensive, resource-heavy on-premise solution to a secure cloud-based platform. Something Eric Armstrong had been wanting to do for years.
“TimeForge actually resolved a couple of problems,” said Eric. “We didn’t have a timekeeping system and needed something ASAP. I did not want an on-premise solution; I wanted it to be cloud-based. And it had to be responsive to the customer and provide the services and items we needed.”
Eric went on to explain, “My goal is to get rid of our data center. A company this size is the perfect candidate for a solution which is all managed in the cloud by the vendors. We are able to get the best of both worlds with [TimeForge]: a product we like and which has a staff of individuals who will make sure it is healthy and running.”
Thus, for C&K Market, the adoption of TimeForge has helped the company get away from its costly data center, as well as the extra expenses required to maintain and support an on-premise solution.
From Disaster Recovery to Long-Term Partnership
Although C&K Market admits they had to make a quick decision to move forward with a new timekeeping solution, choosing TimeForge is not a decision they regret. Part of the reason for this is TimeForge’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) business model, which gave C&K Market the freedom to try the solution without feeling trapped. From there, TimeForge’s grocery industry and labor compliance expertise, paired with top-notch customer service, helped to lay the foundations for a true partnership.
“One of the most interesting parts [about TimeForge] is the contract. There is no contract,” said Eric Armstrong. “It is a month-to-month service, which if at any time we want to move to something else, we can. The original thought was to have this solution in place then figure out our long-term solution. Now, it appears TimeForge will be our long term solution.”
“TimeForge has been very, very responsive and great to work with,” said Rocky Campbell, Vice President of Operations & Non-Perishable Marketing for C&K Market. “I do believe that TimeForge is a fine product and will ultimately suit our needs, and actually upgrade us from what we were doing before.”
What was C&K Market doing before? Prior to TimeForge, they used disparate systems for managing various aspects of labor. For example, custom spreadsheets for scheduling, a separate system for timekeeping, and printed PDF or emailed documents for reports. They had been doing things that way for years but admitted that it wasn’t a very efficient solution.
“Change is hard,” said Tom Myron, District Manager for C&K Market, reflecting on how the pandemic has changed the grocery industry. “But as labor costs go up, we’ve got to continue to find ways to do more with less. You have to try to use systems to help you identify where there’s savings out there, within your business model. You’ve got to continue to find ways to be more efficient about what you’re doing.”
What's Next for C&K Market and TimeForge?
Having solved its immediate timekeeping problem and found a long-term partner in TimeForge, C&K Market is now in the process of moving from its spreadsheet-based scheduling system to a more efficient sales-driven scheduling system with TimeForge. This change will enable C&K Market to optimize its business with fully-automated labor forecasts that are more accurate than anything else in the grocery industry. C&K Market will also have centralized access to all its labor and sales data, including reports, through TimeForge’s easy-to-use labor management dashboard.
The shift toward cloud-based labor management is all part of C&K Market’s ongoing mission to streamline its business, stay competitive in the industry, and take care of its employees and shareholders.
When asked for his advice to other grocery businesses in need of a new labor management solution, Eric Armstrong said, “Well, hopefully you will not find yourself in a situation as dire as mine was. However, if you are looking for a company that is professional, does not sell more than it can deliver, and has people working for it who you enjoy working with, then look no further [than TimeForge].”