Labor Pool Availability & Assignment Management

The Project

The Project

A labor union that serves the commercial moving industry oversees the hiring of its membership by commercial moving companies. It provides a pool of “extras”, or union members who are not full-time employees of a specific organization, to the companies under its contract to help them supplement their labor forces in busy periods like weekend and evenings. The union also tracks specific certifications and qualifications (such as OSHA, UN pass, CDL-A, CDL-B) held by its members when those are required for an assignment.

It collects dues from its membership monthly, and maintains the active status of each member accordingly when supplying labor availability to the hiring companies.

The hiring companies, in turn, are required to report union member work activities daily, and ensure they are assigning members within compliance of the union contract. All of the reporting was provided via paper fax daily.

The union was managing its operations manually. Members called in or came in to make dues payments, and paper company reporting was consolidated manually as well. With over 300 members, the volume of data transcribed was significant.

The union provided companies with its membership list monthly. Company dispatchers requesting extras did so by calling the individual workers to check availability daily. As all were contacting the same pool, it was not uncommon to have to make a number of calls before the need was met. The process was time consuming and detrimental to the scheduling effort.

The union contacted Fox Wyndrum Associates, Inc after seeing a demonstration of the labor management and scheduling module of its Commercial Move System (CMS). It wanted FWA to develop an application to provide union management with daily reporting of union member work activities, eliminating the need for companies to provide hard-copy reports. It would provide company dispatchers with real-time worker availability plus the ability to search for union workers with specific certifications/qualifications. The union wanted to provide its members a portal to readily report daily availability and view assignments.

The union and the hiring companies, who participated in the project definition, hoped to reduce or eliminate manual reporting requirements, streamline companies’ search for qualified available union members, ensure that union members were being hired within compliance of the union contract, and to develop a seamless online communication platform between union management, company dispatchers, and the union members.

The Challenges

The dispatch operations, especially during peak periods, are highly time-sensitive. Assignments are typically made within 24 hours of the job start. To provide accurate real-time availability from over 300 members and the company dispatchers was critical. Further, the process could not add to the dispatchers already demanding workloads. Simplicity was paramount to encourage participation.

A number of the member companies were users of Fox Wyndrum’s CMS, but several used a variety of other tools including spreadsheets and proprietary in-house application. Any communication and data exchange would need to accommodate a range of sources.

The Challenges
The Solution

The Solution

Working from the foundation of its CMS Dispatch Board, Fox Wyndrum designed a platform with specific functionality for union members, hiring companies, and union administration.

Union Member Portal

Designed for mobile access, the union member portal allows users to maintain personal contact information, view certifications, on file, and to report daily day/night availability for the upcoming week to the union. The union can send union-wide alerts to its members via the websites text messaging system.

Since its inception, the Union Member Portal has been expanded to accept online dues payments as well as view dues payment history and upcoming charges.

Company Portal

The company portal allows company users to use its Assignment Manager to record/view open job labor requirements alongside available labor. Labor can be searched by any combination of qualifications and availability, and added with a click to any of its job assignments. As laborers are assigned by one company, they are simultaneously removed from availability on other companies Assignment Managers. The interface clearly identifies remaining labor requirements. All current contact information for workers listed is accessible for direct contact.

Scheduled labor is immediately viewable by the Union Administration, so previous paper-based reporting is now available online in real time, and paper processing has been eliminated.

Fox Wyndrum Associates, Inc. developed a web service to receive data from the companies in real-time. The application provides a standardized means of integrating applications over the internet. Each company was provided with credentials that allowed them to invoke the web service to provide their data to the union systematically in real-time.

For companies using CMS, FWA created the XML format and the SOAP request required to invoke the web service. Companies not using CMS can invoke the web service from their internal application. This relieved dispatchers of the additional effort required to double-enter the labor in their own internal systems and in the union application.

Union Administration Portal

The union management controls all levels of access for members and hiring company users, which are both unlimited. It includes a number of functions the union uses to administer and monitor member and company activity.

Union users have full access to all member assignments, and work history is collected and readily searchable. All reports that were previously manually compiled for national reporting are now generated automatically, and can be viewed online or downloaded as spreadsheets or PDFs.

Dues are collected automatically, and the system handles messaging for upcoming and overdue/back payments.

There is a mobile-ready Job Certification function to allow union management to verify on-site labor reporting audits.

By implementing the Labor Pool Availability & Assignment Manager, the union was able to provide a seamless platform for its management, hiring companies, and members to easily meet their communication and reporting responsibilities. The process is now paperless and happens in real time, offering significant time and other cost savings for all participants.

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