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Case Study > MMI Engineered Solutions

Global Engineering Company Automates More HR Processes Amid Double-Digit Growth

Moving from manual and transactional to automated and strategic takes equal parts buy-in, software and vision. It’s exactly what MMI Engineered Solutions wanted in 2019.

MMI-ES, a global leader in designing and manufacturing solutions, was growing fast and looking to automate much of its data entry and use a more integrated HR system. With just two on staff for HR, payroll, training, onboarding, and employee relations, they needed to find a way to reduce manual work and increase automation – allowing them to free up time for more strategic employee experience initiatives. A mid-year change from Paychex to isolved, however, would have even the most veteran HR leader a bit concerned.

“We were experiencing a lot of grief with 401(k) audits with our current provider and discovered some issues that we tried to resolve with no automation,” said Ed Chappel, director of human resources at MMI-ES. “The experiencing of switching to isolved was wonderful, especially considering we did a July change. We did dual payrolls – payroll processing in Paychex and isolved – for four weeks just in case there were any problems. Everything looked good though, so we went live faster than expected.

“The first open enrollment I was nervous because it was our first time conducting it digitally, but it went off seamlessly. We lucked out in that isolved not only didn’t force us to adopt every one of its solutions and services but also that they integrated with whatever and whoever we needed them to. We were ready on all fronts.”

With roughly 200 employees, MMI-ES runs two payrolls: one semi-monthly salary payroll and one weekly hourly payroll. Additionally, one of their Michigan locations run 24/7, adding complexity.

“The isolved implementation team was on top of everything from benefits to payroll records,” said Chappel. “As we’ve used isolved over the years, we’ve also really appreciated the proactive communication about product updates.

“One of the frustrations I had at Paychex was they’d make a ton of changes, and you’d find them when you found them – something that was here the night before wasn’t the next day and so on. isolved has a similar agile development model but we get notified when there are changes in advance so we can review it and see if it will impact us or not.”

Sometimes, however, companies are not in the driver’s seat of changes that could affect them from external sources.

“When COVID relief laws impacted COBRA, there was minimal effort on our part to adjust based on the new eligibility parameters,” said Chappel. “It’s just one example of freeing up time so we could focus on the more strategic arm of HR. Before we switched to isolved, there was a lot of documentation we needed to do on our own. Each new employee required us to enter everything into multiple systems, which weren’t ‘talking’ to each other. Now with isolved, we’ve integrated applicant tracking payroll, HR, benefits, recruiting and notices we need to send to remain compliant.”

“Prior to isolved no one mentioned work opportunity credits (WOTC) and with isolved, they fully automated the process,” continued Chappel. “We’ve gotten tax credits ever since, which has been worth our investment.”

MMI-ES isn’t done yet. There are other modules to implement, and they are looking closely at isolved Learn & Grow. They are exploring the product for both certifications for the workforce and career progression.

“We throw a lot at people during onboarding and hoping to offer some of it within the LMS,” said Chappel. “These sessions are often pretty challenging to schedule and could be more impactful through gamification and the different features isolved offers. I’m really excited about what we can do with an integrated LMS. Since Learn & Grow is integrated, if someone completes a course it automatically shows up in their HR record. We did look at other systems but then that’s one more system to manage and without any integration with Human Resource Data.”

For other next steps, MMI-ES is also eyeing isolved’s integration with The Work Number by Equifax, which provides instant employment and payroll verification.

“We went to isolved’s webinar about the integration, and I told my colleague, ‘Do we really get that many requests?’” During the webinar itself, two employee verifications came in,” said Chappel. The Work Number integration will save considerable time for our Human Resource staff.

“In 2019 we had 30 percent year-over-year-growth. And while 2020 was an anomaly, we can’t hire enough people today. The more automation I have the less transactional work we are dealing with. This allows my team more time to focus on critical matters such as recruiting and employee development.”

The results were:

  • 10 hours saved per new hire with Applicant Tracking and Employee Self-Service
  • $60K savings a year by avoiding additional headcount during high-growth period
  • ~ 6-month payback for software through WOTCH credits, automation and accelerated processes



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