CASE STUDY:  Delta Sonic Car Wash Systems

KEY BENEFITS

  • Reduced administrative headcount and redirected staff to strategic initiatives
  • Increased efficiencies for complex payroll that accommodates a scalable workforce
  • Achieved immediate access to a range of business intelligence, such as reports on headcount, compliance, and earnings

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

  • 3,800

COMPANY PROFILE

In Niagara Falls, Delta Sonic Car Wash Systems, Inc. is known as the “kissing clean car wash” because of the care that each car receives. With a mission to create the gentlest, safest, most thorough car wash system ever developed, Delta Sonic created the Touch-Less Car (TLC) Wash. With this revolutionary wash, no spinning brushes touch the car’s exterior. The spinning cloth brushes are replaced with special sprays of water and lotions as well as an overhead buffing cloth.

THE CHALLENGES

Delta Sonic had been using a payroll service bureau that couldn’t address the company’s complex needs for payroll and reporting. The car wash has a fluctuating workforce with employees who often work in multiple jobs in different profit centers, receive tips that may require makeup pay, and must be paid bonuses and commissions. Managing compensation for employees in 29 car washes, detail shops, lube shops, and convenience stores, Delta Sonic’s payroll staff previously spent hours each week on manual data entry, payroll calculations, and reporting.

When the team would receive hourly information from the different locations, they had to break it out by hand, by job, and by location and then apply the appropriate wage rate for each job. Other calculations, such as figuring makeup pay for tipped employees and bonuses, would have to be completed manually as well.

Delta Sonic hoped that a new HCM system would improve its processes, help reduce its administrative staff, and redirect efforts to strategic assignments.

THE SOLUTION

In January 2003, Delta Sonic Car Wash Systems began using Ultimate Software’s UltiPro as its people management solution. Instead of spending time manually entering data, the HR/payroll team now is focused on strategic projects that bring more value to the department and to the company. For example, the staff began cross-training in order to more effectively address manpower changes or emergencies when necessary.

“In the past, it seemed like we were always putting out fires because we just didn’t have the time or resources to delve into some of the nitty-gritty details of our business,” said Tammy Johannes, payroll manager for Delta Sonic. “Because UltiPro simplified our payroll, we can focus on providing quality service to our company and to our employees rather than dedicating our efforts to the payroll service bureau.”

Improved efficiencies also came in the area of report generation. Before UltiPro, Delta Sonic’s payroll team had difficulty finding the workforce data it needed. Delays while waiting for facts from the service bureau frustrated both the payroll department and the executive staff who were requesting information.

Now, Delta Sonic has immediate, real-time access to earnings and other payroll details, compliance numbers, headcount reports, and a variety of business intelligence data that meets the needs of both the payroll group and company leadership. Each week, for example, Johannes runs a report within minutes that summarizes productivity indicators of the company’s locations—a document that previously took hours to prepare.

“I run reports from UltiPro literally every day, and they’re invaluable. Most of the time, I just need to change the date fields and the documents are ready to go. I feel good that I’m able to provide my boss and other executives with detailed and current information they need to make strategic decisions,” said Johannes. “And the bottom line is that we’ve been able to reduce administrative headcount because of the efficiencies UltiPro has provided to our business.”