Success Story: Stemilt Growers Automates Piece-Rate Payroll

Success Story: Stemilt Growers Automates Piece-Rate Payroll

This is the first in our new Success Story series. Come back every month to read about another successful IDI customer.

Success Story: Stemilt Growers Automates Piece-Rate PayrollStemilt Growers, Inc. is one of the nation’s leading tree fruit growing, packing and shipping operations. Headquartered in Wenatchee, WA, the operation produces freshmarket apples, pears, cherries, blueberries, and stone fruits. Stemilt is the largest shipper of fresh sweet cherries in the world.

Payroll Challenge

Stemilt’s staff of 1,000 employees balloons to 2,000 during picking season. Each year they faced the challenge of accurately capturing employee time and piece production data for calculating their piece earnings and payroll.

Stemilt pays its pickers a base rate for time on the job plus piece rates, which vary depending on several factors, such as:

  • Ladder height
  • Type of fruit
  • Seniority
  • Job role

The payroll calculation process was enormous: Stemilt’s interal “packer” system tracked piece production for each employee. Supervisors were tasked with reviewing production data from the system and determining earnings before sending the data to the corporate payroll team. The payroll staff would make a final review and attempt to enforce the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and other government regulations. After the data review was complete, the results had to be manually entered into payroll. The entire process was costly, laborious and ripe for error.

Stemilt needed a system that could automate their complex piece rate policies and help eliminate the opportunity for error. Because each piece-rate company has its own unique piece rate policies, there was no out-of-the-box solution available. Stemilt needed a flexible system that could be customized to fit their complex rules.

Automated Integration Solution

Integrated Design provided a system that addressed these key business issues, met Stemilt’s goals for automated piece rate and FLSA compliance, and fully integrated with their timekeeping and payroll system. IDI’s Time Bank software automates the piece rate requirements between time-and-attendance and payroll.

The Time Bank solution performs key functions for Stemilt outside of what a time or payroll system could provide, including:

  • Calculating the employee’s piece earnings based on the different variables for each piece type.
  • Comparing an employee’s piece earnings with their hourly wages and passing the higher of the two values to payroll.
  • Calculating each employee’s FLSA rate (weighted average) for overtime hours that factored in piece earnings and other wages.
  • Providing an automated data flow from their internal production system and  time-and-attendance into payroll with necessary mappings and other rules.

Fruits of the Labor

After implementing Time Bank, the integrated solution continues to be supported through time-and-attendance, payroll version changes or updates to their piece rate policies.

Next Steps