Koch Industries Optimizes Timekeeping/Billing Systems with HMS Software's TimeControl® Solution

Koch Industries Inc.

"We felt it provided us with the best options for our company's future growth"

Julie Hatfield, Project Manager for Koch

When you refine about 4% of the total gasoline produced in the U.S. and operate about 30,000-miles of pipeline - one of the largest systems in North America - the capability to make strategic, up-to-the-minute management decisions and operate a highly efficient, productive organization are critical factors to your success.

Nobody knows that better than Wichita, Kansas-based Koch Industries Inc., a giant in the petrochemical industry and one of the largest privately owned companies in the United States. With revenues exceeding US $35 billion (according to Forbes) and 11,500 employees worldwide, Koch Industries went looking for a timekeeping solution that would take the company's fast-growing IT division to new levels of productivity while also solving the need it had to simplify its existing, labor-intensive in-house billing system.

Optimizing the Timekeeping/Billing process

"Initially, we had multiple timekeeping systems throughout our IT organization", explains Cliff Rippe, Manager, IT Program Office, for Koch Industries "However, these systems lacked security, as well as the capability to provide our customers with detailed information about what they were being billed for, and who was actually doing the work. "Our in-house billing system required three full-time employees to enter data, which was very costly and labor-intensive," he added. "In short, we needed a simplified, easy-to-use combined timekeeping/billing system. After determining that it would be too expensive to upgrade our own legacy systems, we asked ourselves, why build something that we can go out and buy, particularly if it fits our needs? "

Once the decision was made to implement a new timekeeping system from an outside vendor, Koch conducted a preliminary analysis of several vendor solutions. The company immediately narrowed the selection down to two products, one of which was HMS Software's TimeControl. Koch Industries selected TimeControl because of its flexibility, the capability it had to quickly adapt to the company's evolving needs, and its ease of use.

"What really sold us on TimeControl was that we felt it provided us with the best options for our company's future growth"

Julie Hatfield, Project Manager for Koch

"Our business changes a lot. We've already changed things twice since we implemented TimeControl and it's been able to adapt." "Koch has processes that must be done in a certain way. We believe TimeControl offers the flexibility we need to deal with those processes, and meet our evolving needs as we continue to grow our business. Another advantage is that it is the only timekeeping system that we know of that allows us to build a back-end billing system," Hatfield said. Koch Industries was also impressed with TimeControl's "web-based front end," which allows remote users to quickly and easily update their timesheets over the internet.

A System Makeover - Comparing the Old with the New

Koch initially implemented TimeControl as part of a pilot project that began in the fall of 1999. During the pilot, thirty users from the Koch Development Services IT department in Wichita, ran Koch's existing system in parallel with TimeControl. Despite some initial hesitation to move to the new system, most users were highly receptive to, and pleased with, TimeControl's capabilities, particularly its ease of use.

"The ease of input and our ability to restrict people to only be able to bill for certain projects were key drivers in our decision to select TimeControl," said Rippe. "We did a quick, 30-minute training session for everyone in the organization and only five minutes of that time was spent showing people how to use TimeControl." After the pilot project, Koch replaced its in-house system with TimeControl in Wichita, bringing the total number of users to 125.

By January 2000, the company's Houston IT employees were also using TimeControl. "Overall, user feedback was very positive, particularly since TimeControl eliminated a lot of performance issues we had been saddled with. It was nice for users to be able to actually 'see' the projects they were working on. We were also very pleased with the proactive support we received from HMS Software during the implementation process, which was a challenge, given our requirement for a combined system," said Rippe.

Fast, Measurable Results

Within a month of implementing TimeControl, Koch Industries was already realizing measurable results. For example, within a very short timeframe, Koch reduced the administration time and effort required to manage its time tracking system, improving its system 100-fold. "TimeControl helped us reduce the number of administrative staff needed to manage the system. We were especially pleased because we thought that this would have taken at least three months. In reality, it only took one month," said Hatfield. TimeControl also enabled Koch to provide its project managers with more meaningful and accurate reporting data, allowing the company to determine who was working on specific components of a particular project. The net result? Consistent and standardized management reporting.

"From a project-management perspective, we needed more accurate reporting. With our old system, considerable time was spent each week trying to figure out who was billing whom, and for what. TimeControl immediately eliminated this problem, which meant that project managers no longer had to spend a lot of time fixing errors," said Hatfield.

"TimeControl has allowed Koch Industries to significantly reduce its billing administration time and its overall billing timeframe from eight to two days."

Julie Hatfield, Project Manager for Koch

Koch Industries plans to roll out TimeControl to the remainder of its IT organization in the near future. In addition, other support service groups within the company and its Human Resources department have expressed interest in using TimeControl. "A key benefit of TimeControl is that it we can gather detailed information about who is doing what and when, on an up-to-the-minute basis, allowing us to make critical management decisions immediately, rather than having to wait a week.

This capability and the fact that we were able to recover our costs for the product within the first year of implementation were key factors in our decision to stay with TimeControl and roll it out to other departments company-wide," added Rippe. "TimeControl is providing us with a built-for-the-future solution today," says Rippe. "By increasing the accuracy of our time tracking data, and providing users with a simple, electronic method of entering their time, we are able to use our time more efficiently and focus on the lifeblood of our company - meeting the dynamic needs of our customers."