New Tech Improves AffinEco Services, Increases Client Savings

By Sue Minichiello

teamlogo kwanteklogoOver the years, AffinEco has led the way adopting new technologies to help the company improve operations and pass on savings to its customers. Among the company’s latest tech advances are the TEAM management system and Kwantek hiring tools, which increase precision and efficiency, reduce paperwork and actual paper use, and decrease staff hours spent on tasks involving quality assurance, payroll, customer service, accounting and more.

TEAM Management System

United Services — a division of AffinEco — first piloted TEAM Software, a cloud-based financial, operations and workforce management system, in July of 2010. TEAM is designed specifically for building service and security contractors and boasts the most powerful, fully integrated products in the market. Today, all AffinEco divisions are making great use of multiple integrated features to streamline procedures and controls.

Quality Assurance

The Quality Assurance (QA) module of TEAM is empowering AffinEco to employ a whole new tactic for building inspections. This new technology saves countless hours of work and altogether eliminates the need for making hard copies of related paperwork. AffinEco Quality Assurance Manager Ken Chavez is leading the charge, piloting this feature for the company with a high-security account consisting of five very large buildings.

Chavez logs into TEAM via computer and, in the QA section, he creates and edits inspection templates that transform a building’s floor map into an interactive model of offices, common areas, hallways, stairwells, etc. Once those areas are defined, Chavez names them in a logical way and places them in “walking order” so, when onsite, he can log into eHub — an integrated self-service Web portal and mobile app feature of TEAM — and simply swipe his iPad to move from room to room as he proceeds through the building.

In the template creation process, Chavez delineates area-specific lists of inspection items drawn from 32 different categories. He can specify the items that need to be checked, according to the client contract — such as surface cleaning, carpet cleaning, ceiling tile cleaning, and wall repair and painting — and type in ratings and notes for each. He can also pre-program shortcuts for common phrases, like WS for wall scratches, and use those shortcuts to make even quicker work of his note-taking during an inspection. And, the templates are extremely flexible and easy to adapt when there are changes in a building.

Upon completion of an inspection, Chavez electronically submits his ratings and notes, and all of those data are automatically fed into the TEAM database. Within TEAM, the data for each building can be managed and sorted (e.g., by area type, inspection item, rating) to suit any purpose. The data can also be exported to Excel and manipulated even further. With just a bit of coding (luckily, Chavez has a computer background), the data can be transformed into pivot tables, charts and line chart analysis. This provides advanced reporting power that allows AffinEco to immediately identify how it is performing — in real time and historically — at any given location. Chavez said this represents a huge time-savings, “I can make what used to be a five-hour report in three minutes.”

A variety of inspection reports can be auto-generated and shared with client building managers so they can identify priorities for AffinEco. In addition, Chavez is able to note issues that are “out-of-scope,” i.e., issues or problems that aren’t AffinEco’s responsibility, but that he believes building managers will want to know. For internal purposes, Chavez can create a scoring table to generate a building success rate that can be tracked historically to reveal performance trends. The data in TEAM can also be used by AffinEco to evaluate the efficiency of the inspections themselves.

“TEAM’s Quality Assurance feature is powerful, but also straightforward and efficient. The amount of time and paper I save is mind-boggling,” said Chavez. “We’re eager to expand its use to other accounts, and being able to offer it to existing and prospective clients will be a great boon for us.”

Payroll & Safety

Another of TEAM’s features is a telephone timekeeping system, which has eliminated AffinEco’s use of paper time sheets altogether. Employees punch in and out by calling into the system when they arrive at and depart from job sites. At each client location, AffinEco has a designated phone from which employees call, and those phone numbers are automatically recognized by TEAM and affiliated with the corresponding location.

Through eHub, AffinEco’s operations managers can remotely access and review employee time sheets via smartphone, tablet or computer, and can verify or edit information as needed before submitting the information for payroll. Also through eHub, employees can access, view and print their pay stubs and W2s, further reducing paper use as well as postage or staff hours for onsite delivery of paychecks.

AffinEco also uses the telephone timekeeping system to support its safety program. Every day, a safety message is delivered to each employee when he or she clocks in, and each message is tied to a “Safety Bingo” number. It’s designed to help focus staff attention on issues of on-the-job safety in a way that’s fun and that offers the chance to win prize money.

“Making safety forefront in our employees’ minds, and impacting their practices each day, makes a real difference,” said Gabor Elciscs, AffinEco chief financial officer. “We’ve experienced a reduction in incidents since implementing this program and other safety measures. In fact, our insurance company tells us it’s unseen in our industry to have a rate of incidents per employee as low as we do. And that low rate reduces our insurance premiums.”

Customer Service

AffinEco prides itself on offering the best in customer service, and TEAM helps the company to further that outcome.

AffinEco operations managers input information electronically to create records of visits to client sites and related communications. They can then track those visits by date, see with whom they met onsite, note issues discussed and actions that need to be taken.

A TEAM link can also be given to client building managers so that they can request work to be done, notify AffinEco of issues or problems, and the like. TEAM then auto-generates an email to the corresponding AffinEco manager or supervisor, and records subsequent emails/interactions between the manager and client.

According to Elciscs, “TEAM supports improved communications both internally and with our clients, and gives us better customer service and quality assurance reporting that we can share with our customers.”

Accounting

TEAM feeds into another program, SAP’s Business Intelligence, which automates a variety of paperless job management reports related to such issues as budget and supplies. For example, one routine report shows whether the company is over or under budget at a given client site. Electronic reports are delivered to AffinEco’s managers and supervisors on a daily, weekly or monthly basis and can be customized to whatever format the company deems best.

Other reports call attention to employee activity issues, such as identifying employees who aren’t receiving paychecks and prompting managers to communicate if the employee is on leave, has been terminated, etc. These reports also indicate if an involved employee is a union employee, which prompts the company to notify the union if an employee’s status changes.

AffinEco operations managers, and even client building owners, can opt in for reports on supplies and other expenses, which allow them to track orders, inventory and more. This makes it easier to identify over- or under-ordering and make adjustments accordingly.

“TEAM simplifies and strengthens all aspects of our accounting,” Elciscs said. “Through better reporting, more details and grouping of data, we can process faster and pinpoint areas to reduce costs.”

Kwantek Hiring Tools

In just under a year, AffinEco has greatly simplified and streamlined its hiring process by utilizing Web-based solutions offered by Kwantek. The platform enables the seamless online management of job postings, applications, background checks, employee onboarding and more.

“Our platform allows AffinEco to attract quality candidates and turn them into employees in an efficient, well-organized way. It eliminates paper, reduces the likelihood of making bad hires, and cuts back on hours of overhead work,” said Matt Stovall, Kwantek director of marketing and sales. “Now they can more effectively screen candidates to identify the cream of the crop, ensure compliance with client contracts and internal policies, and more.”

Job Postings & Application Process

AffinEco creates job listings in Kwantek and, with one click, posts them on its website and on indeed.com (Kwantek actually enables posts to more than 1,500 job boards). Behind the scenes, AffinEco customizes the information it requires for each specific job. Candidates apply online, creating a profile that guides them through position-specific criteria, questions and requirements as well as typical application data such as contact information, background/experience and certifications. And, again with one click, they submit their applications. The information from the online applications auto-populates applicant profiles and a candidate management interface for AffinEco.

“Our application process is easy, bilingual and responsive, meaning it can be done via computer, tablet or smartphone,” Stovall said. “Making the process so simple is a great advantage in terms of widening the pool of applicants. In May, 50% of the applicants for janitorial services positions across all of our clients applied via smartphone.”

Through Kwantek, AffinEco selects the applicants it wishes to interview for any given position, and the system automatically generates an email invitation to those individuals. The company can also send rejection emails at the touch of a button. Once an applicant has been selected by AffinEco to fill a position, the company sends a formal offer email to that person via Kwantek.

Tracking, Reporting & Metrics

Throughout the process, a real-time analytics interface equips AffinEco managers with the progress of open positions and keeps track of where candidates are. Everyone involved at AffinEco is able to quickly collaborate and avoid redundancy of tasks. They can easily see a wide range of information related to any open position, including the number of applicants and the progress of required forms per applicant. They enter notes throughout the interview process, automatically share those notes with others in the company and track all of that information. They can also track application sources (i.e., from which job board the applications originate), how long it’s taking to hire employees, who is ordering background checks and how many, and more — all of which helps to improve internal processes and compliance.

Background Checks & Drug Testing

Not every position at AffinEco requires background checks and drug testing, but when such reviews are part of a client contract, the company now has a simple, automated way to perform them. This part of the process occurs when AffinEco has narrowed the pool of applicants to those it wants to extend an offer. If the checks come back clear, the company can then hit the button to extend the formal offer.

Kwantek offers a robust background check system that is tied to all possible county, state and federal records. It verifies/checks social security traces, personal references, certifications, sex offender registries, citations and arrests, and motor vehicle records.

Kwantek has partner facilities throughout the country for drug testing. AffinEco can trigger Kwantek to send a consent form, which the candidate electronically acknowledges. The system sends the applicant an appointment date and time at a facility based on their location. The results are fed by the testing facility into Kwantek, and AffinEco is notified.

New Hires & Onboarding

Another advantage of AffinEco using Kwantek is the huge reduction in time spent on employee onboarding tasks.

When an applicant electronically accepts AffinEco’s formal offer of a position, Kwantek quickly generates forms, such as I-9s and W-4s, and electronically processes them between the new hire and AffinEco. Kwantek can also immediately verify if prospective employees are eligible to work in the US through its Department of Homeland Security certified integration with the USCIS E-Verify system.

What’s more, Kwantek automatically identifies Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) hires. WOTC involves individuals who traditionally have some difficulty finding work, such as veterans, the long-term unemployed and food stamp recipients.

“Not only are WOTC hires good for AffinEco in that they offer tax breaks, they’re also good for the community at large and the economy,” said Stovall. “And, with us, the process is completely hands-off. Kwantek processes new hires against state records. The state validates WOTC eligibility, and that information is sent to AffinEco.

Finally, all of the information, forms, etc. gathered in Kwantek for an applicant integrates with TEAM to seamlessly create employee files at the time of hire.

Through adoption of these and other technologies, AffinEco is improving daily operations at its headquarters and at client sites, and better positioning the company to adjust to future changes in the marketplace.