Kronos Launches Workforce Central Suite for Frontline Labor Management

Responding to market demand for a set of seamlessly integrated applications that gives every level of management immediate access to information on all labor components within the enterprise, Kronos Inc. introduced its Workforce Central suite of frontline labor management solutions.

According to Kronos (Waltham, MA), Workforce Central delivers clear benefits over traditional, disparate labor management systems, and has been engineered to help companies measure and improve labor productivity through a single, integrated solution.

“The Workforce Central suite provides the technical and functional roadmap for our next generation of labor management solutions. These solutions are flexible, transparent to the user, and an integral part of today’s enterprise work environment,” says Mark Ain, CEO and chairman of Kronos.

Workforce Central was designed for all organizations with a desire to capture, measure and optimize time and labor in the workplace. It can capture employee hours and activities, manage benefit time, produce employee schedules and analyze labor productivity. Workforce Central’s ability to support tens of thousands of employees on a single database makes the solution ideal for both mid-size and enterprise companies.

“Frontline labor management applications are designed to put real-time labor information into the hands of the decision makers and managers that most need it,” says Steve Bonadio, senior analyst with Hurwitz Group Inc. “The objective of these applications is to help businesses optimize the deployment of their labor resources, meet their labor budgeting objectives, and ultimately, satisfy their customers.”

As part of the announcement, Kronos unveiled Workforce Accruals, a leave management system that calculates and maintains balances of each employee’s vacation, personal, sick and other benefit time. It enables businesses to administer that time fairly, accurately and automatically. It also gives supervisors, human resource administrators, payroll professionals and employees instant access to up-to-date benefit time information. With Workforce Accruals, businesses can:

  • Reduce the cost and simplify the administration of leave programs while ensuring compliance with government and union regulations;
  • Improve productivity by empowering supervisors to more effectively manage employees’ time off;
  • Provide self-service for employees who can check benefit time balances, relieving the human resources department from time-consuming inquiries; and
  • Provide a user-configurable rules engine that easily adapts to changing rules and allows for more flexibility in program structure.

“Workforce Accruals has the ability to apply our rules and policies consistently across our organization,” says Charlene Bell, administrative services coordinator and human resource/payroll project team member for the City of London, Ontario. “In addition, the product suite’s ability to integrate with our J.D. Edwards payroll/HR system should provide tremendous benefits to the City of London.” The City of London, Ontario is a Workforce Accruals beta customer. Once its installation is complete, the City of London, Ontario will roll out its frontline labor management solution for 4,000 government employees to as many as 100 supervisors.

Also unveiled is Workforce Timekeeper 3.0, the newest version of Kronos’ time and attendance system. Workforce Timekeeper automates the process of managing employee time and attendance, achieves accurate payroll preparation, and provides tools for more efficient management of labor resources. Workforce Timekeeper uses the industry’s most sophisticated pay rules engine to calculate and apply complex pay policies consistently throughout an organization.

Workforce Smart Scheduler, which was released in January 1999, automates the entire labor scheduling process in a retail environment, from forecasting business and staffing needs to schedule generation and executive reporting. The latest version of Workforce Smart Scheduler, slated for delivery this summer, will be integrated within the Workforce Central suite.

In upcoming months, Kronos will continue to deliver tightly-integrated applications within the Workforce Central suite. Kronos’ aggressive product rollout will include Workforce Activities, which adds a new dimension to time and labor tracking by allowing companies to track and pay employees based on the activities they performed throughout the workday. Workforce Activities is slated for release this fall. Also under development are applications for labor data analysis and tools to assist management in developing staff schedules.

As part of the rollout of Workforce Central, Kronos is preparing to deliver several new user-interaction options which will provide employees in every work environment and every pay classification convenient access to Kronos applications. With interfaces to the Web and to desktop applications such as Microsoft Outlook, Kronos anticipates more rapid adoption of its technology within non-traditional segments such as those with a predominance of professional or non-hourly workers. Businesses with a mix of employees (i.e., exempt and non-exempt) stand to benefit as well by gaining a single source of real-time labor information for the entire enterprise.

Kronos will introduce the following interaction methods throughout the next several months:

  • Workforce Web enables employees to manage their time by entering hours, viewing balances, and initiating vacation requests via the Web.
  • Workforce Manager gives managers the ability to review, edit, and approve employee time and leave from any location by using a standard Web browser. This option will also allow businesses to lower cost of ownership and streamline the deployment of application clients.
  • Workforce Express enables the large number of employees and supervisors using Microsoft Outlook or other native Windows applications to record time and project information directly from their calendar or desktop PC.
  • Workforce Central will also include Workforce TeleTime, a telephony solution popular with mobile workers, as well as conventional badge readers for data collection and system access.

All frontline labor management applications within the Workforce Central suite support a multi-tiered architecture and easily fit within a wide variety of industry standard database, operating system and hardware environments.