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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Customer Report - by Luke Clement - IOWA Speedway

By Luke Clement, Dir. of Track Services & Special Events, Iowa Speedway, Newton, Iowa
At Iowa Speedway we solved our employee scheduling problems, while increasing efficiencies, enhancing communications and saving money.

THE VENUE: Iowa Speedway – Newton, Iowa
At Iowa Speedway we host NASCAR nationwide series,NASCAR camping world truck series, IZOD IndyCar series and also many special events such as biker rallies, concerts, car club track rentals and driving schools. We have up to 60,000 in attendance at any given big event.

THE SITUATION: Sought scheduling and record keeping for 150 part-time employees 
These large scale events require staffing 150 firefighters and EMTs who all are considered part-time employees. Since all these part-timers have other jobs, they typically can’t work every event and often need to trade or gift a shift they’ve already signed up for. As any track operation will tell you, keeping all the schedules organized and up-to-date is essential for daily operations. 

They’ll also tell you it can be a real hassle. On top of that, we also need to maintain employee data, such as current contact information and certification status.

THE PROBLEM: Keeping the schedule and employee data current and error free
We were using a Yahoo group feature to just send files and e-mails to employees. Which meant we did all of our scheduling on a spreadsheet. The schedule was very error prone and was painstakingly difficult to keep up to date. Each time the schedule changed I had to send a separate e-mail to the entire staff. Shift trades and time off requests were a struggle. When an employee needed time off, or needed to trade a shift, they had to e-mail me and then I had to send that e-mail to the rest of the staff and wait to see if anyone responded. Once I got a response, I then had to manually update the schedule myself. 

This constant juggling of our vast schedule … along with managing all employee data such as individual contact information and required certifications was a major undertaking. Keeping the schedule and data current was a time management nightmare and it kept me from devoting my full attention to other equally important tasks.

THE GOAL: Find a better employee scheduling and workforce management system
I knew there had to be an employee scheduling and workforce management system that was more efficient, all I had to do was find it! I figured trying to find an online “cloud based” system specifically for motorsports was going to be like looking for a needle in a haystack. In our quest to find a better solution, I turned to the vastness of the Internet. I found a few generic systems and I tried their trial versions. However, for one reason or another they just didn’t seem to suit our needs. 

Either the systems were too expensive, the platform was not flexible enough, they had weak customer support (or none at all) or they were missing one important feature we needed such as availability management, flexible database creation, e-mail or text messaging capabilities, or the user access.

THE SOLUTION: Zanager for Motorsports
Zanager for Motor Sports was one of the employee scheduling systems I tried, and quite honestly, I knew immediately I had found the winning solution for our track operations. It was the right platform for all of our needs and the price was very affordable … and best of all … it was a tremendous time saver for me personally! 

THE BENEFITS:  Here are some of the benefits we found most valuable for our track operations

  • Simplicity — We were literally up and running in a few short hours. I was so confident in the system we rolled it out just one week before a major racing event. Even employees who are not tech savvy are able to use Zanager right away.
  • Time Savings — The way the platform works, I canalso delegate and appoint other managers to assist me in scheduling so I’m not doing it all. I can automate shift
    trades and sign ups so all I have to do is approve or deny a request. I’ve cut the time I spend on scheduling drastically.
  • Accuracy — Zanager for Motorsports removes muchof the opportunity for “operator error”. There is no risk of double booking or missing a position. Also, the system
    notifies me if someone is due for certification so we are always current.
  • Customizable Reports — Zanager’s flexible database is 100% customizable so you can literally track and create any type of report using the data you’ve input.
  • Improved Communications — We are better able to communicate quickly with our employees. I can instantaneously email or text all or some of them based on their qualifications and what position I need to fill. Employees can also participate in our forum so they feel better connected and informed.
  • Mobility — I didn’t anticipate we’d use the mobile application like we do. Both administrators and employees can access the schedule literally from any place any time through their smartphone. They think it’s great to submit availability, request a trade or update their contact info from home or their other job.
  • Financial — We have been able to cut down on overtime for many positions and I can use Zanager to forecast what my cost is going to be for any given event.  
In addition to the benefits of Zanager for Motorsports, I really appreciate that the company, along with their tech support team, are based in the USA. Our phone calls are answered by a real person and e-mails are replied to in a timely manner. They even have an emergency support line that you can use after business hours or on weekends. The technical support service is free.

At Iowa Speedway, we have the attitude that there is nothing we can’t accomplish, and we treat our facility like its own city. Since switching our employee scheduling and workforce management to Aladtec’s Zanager for Motorsports, our “city” at Iowa Speedway is running more efficiently and more effectively.

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