CASE STUDY: Columbia Forest Products
- Achieving more than $100,000 per year in hard-cost savings
- Realizing additional soft-cost savings through employee attrition as well as reduced expenses related to paper usage
- Leveraging cohesive HCM for deeper visibility and business intelligence into its North American workforce
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES
COMPANY PROFILEEstablished in 1957, Columbia Forest Products is North America’s largest manufacturer of decorative hardwood plywood and hardwood veneer, and innovator of EPA award-winning PureBond formaldehyde-free technology. An employee-owned company, it operates facilities throughout the U.S. and Canada. It is a leader in sustainable forestry, as well as in developing innovative and environmentally friendly technologies and beautiful products for healthy indoor living.
THE CHALLENGESColumbia Forest Products wanted to improve its people-centric processes, but to achieve this business goal, it faced a costly upgrade with the payroll service bureau it had been using. The company investigated other options, specifically looking for a comprehensive HCM solution that could deliver strategic value, in-depth workforce analytics, and a range of bottom-line benefits.
THE SOLUTIONColumbia Forest Products found that Ultimate Software’s UltiPro delivers an end-to-end solution for HR, payroll, and talent management that would effectively manage the company’s workforce in both the U.S. and Canada. Don Carter, vice president of human resources at Columbia Forest Products, said Ultimate Software is providing the right technology to dramatically improve people-centric processes and services while contributing to the company’s bottom line.
“With UltiPro, we are saving well more than $100,000 in hard costs compared to our prior vendor, and Ultimate’s cloud technology for HCM delivers so much more than what we previously had,” said Carter. “Now all information related to our North American employees is easily accessible in one centralized platform. We have visibility into our entire workforce, we have functionality to extend our talent management processes, and we are supported by Ultimate’s expert customer service.”
In addition to the reduction in annual costs, Columbia Forest Products has reduced the staff needed to process payroll from nine to two and made substantial cuts in expenses related to the printing, storage, and mailing of thousands of pieces of paper.
“Columbia Forest Products is a long-standing leader in environmental sustainability, so one of my primary goals has been to migrate to paperless HR. Now, our entire company can access UltiPro and make appropriate updates directly in the solution without paper consumption. Plus, UltiPro’s workflows move information to approvers quickly and automatically,” said Carter. “UltiPro has been so well received by employees and managers that it has opened the doors for more strategic projects that will provide additional business gains, like recruiting and retaining an engaged workforce.”
As a result of UltiPro’s configurability, HR team at Columbia Forest Products is saving money because HR is not paying for expensive customizations to make changes to the system—as was the case with the payroll service bureau.
“With UltiPro, we have so much more control and flexibility as well as instant access to business intelligence and workforce metrics,” said Ben Vann, HRIS and payroll manager at Columbia Forest Products. “Our HR and finance executives are pleased about UltiPro’s integration with our general ledger (GL), which is improving data integrity and reporting. In addition to configuring the integration to our GL, we have been able to set up numerous alerts in UltiPro and created many tailored reports to help us stay on top of our evolving workforce. With UltiPro, I’m no longer working blindfolded.”
“UltiPro is delivering the strategic value we were looking for,” said Carter. “By delivering a configurable product that includes the full scope of HCM, Ultimate Software has definitely contributed to the bottom line of our business. We’re very excited about how we’ve converted our HR goals into actions that are impacting our entire organization.”