IRVINE, Calif. — Principal Decision Systems International, PDSI, the leader in public safety employee scheduling and communication solutions, has announced that Oak Creek Police Department has completed PDSI’s new and streamlined deployment process and is in production with TeleStaff. The result puts TeleStaff in end users’ hands faster, further increasing efficiency and accuracy in staffing operations and employee communication.
“This implementation process is the direct result of our customers that have requested an even quicker return on their investment,” said Greg Ekstrom, PDSI president. “We understand that our solution is vital to our customers so that staffing is automatic and efficient, and our goal is to put it to work as quickly as possible. This emphasis on immediate return on investment underscores PDSI’s commitment to our public safety customers.”
With TeleStaff’s enhanced implementation process, project teams are committed to a 90 day deployment focused on roster management, emergency recall and reporting, integration with downstream solutions (payroll/HR, RMS and CAD) and with end users allowed web and telephony access enabling them to view schedules, submit requests and receive department-wide communications.
Oak Creek Police Department was the first organization to complete their implementation with the new process.
“They worked well as a team, really adhered to the new plan and had dedicated internal resources,” said Director of Customer Services Martha Strittmater. “These factors made the transition easier and ensured a timely and successful project.”
With TeleStaff, the 90-person department is better able to control overtime, distribute extra shifts in an equitable manner according to collective bargaining agreements and allow staff access to their schedules and other information online from a remote location. In cases of emergency, TeleStaff can notify the entire staff with the push of a button.
“We used to use a printed monthly schedule, which we posted on a large board in the Dispatch area. There was one copy and if it got lost, it was quite a drought to re-create,” said Oak Creek police Capt. Michael Bolender. “Only one person had access to it to make changes, and that person used to be me. Now, with TeleStaff, the schedule is accessible to all employees whether they are at home or on the job.”
Oak Creek Police Department, the largest department in the city, can already quantify the savings.
“There were so many people involved in the process before and now we can eliminate that. We’re going to save at least $70,000 in man hours per year,” said Oak Creek police Capt. John Edwards. Supervisors can now focus on other duties instead of having to call or figure out how to staff. Supervisors just click a button to approve. No more handing off a stack of time cards to six or seven people every two weeks.”
Edwards said Bolender had also spent many hours at the end of each year reviewing accruals to create the department’s schedule for the following year.
“He had to prepare for the whole year beginning in December, taking into account pending vacation requests and other time off, and then create each monthly schedule,” Edwards said. “Then, if trainings or off days came up, he had to work around that. After his initial planning, it still took him about three days each month to schedule.”
Edwards said it was the right time to automate and upgrade their system. The manual, handwritten process had been in place for more than 25 years and pulled too many of the city’s resources.
“Changes were made directly onto the posted page, so by the end of the month, it was full of pen, pencil, white out and highlighter. Then, we filed it. That was our database, folders of old calendars,” said Edwards. “Officers had to fill out timecards by hand and then, for 10 hours every Sunday and Monday, two scheduling personnel would work on it, making corrections and asking why someone took this certain time off. Then, it was all sent to City Hall, where two more people would touch it before sending it to be processed in payroll. That was every pay period, two people of ours working OT on a Sunday. If there were issues along the way, they had to be communicated back to police supervisors and then to city hall personnel again.”
Now, with TeleStaff, the process is quicker, more accurate and much easier to use.
“Anyone can do it. Officers can handle their own stuff,” said Edwards. “It used to be that officers had to speak to their supervisors to request time off and then it was a question of when and if they had the time. Now, if they want to take a comp day, they make the request online and if it meets the rules of minimum staffing and if they have accrued the time, it’s done. If not, the system does not allow them to do it.”
End users have already begun utilizing reports that show accruals, exceptions and other information. Officers know instantly how much vacation or sick time they have accumulated and if they have been awarded an overtime shift.
The revised implementation process has made the transition more manageable.
“I liked it because we were able to see how it was built in stages,” Edwards said. “It was presented to us in small, significant chunks, in an easy to understand way. We had the opportunity to really absorb the information as we went along. Once the data was in, we went through and tested it on the spot. The initial preparation was key. First, we sent the database to get it all set up with our personnel and their assignments. Even though the process was quicker, training went at a comfortable pace. We stayed with it until we all got it.”
Edwards and Bolender have both received positive feedback down the chain of command.
“They like the fact that they can work OT and just pop it in. I know if it’s been approved because of how it shows up in the program,” said Edwards. “Before, you turned in cards, sent e-mails, wondering, did you get it? With the old way, you didn’t know until you saw the posted sheet, which was often quite a bit later.”
Since 1997, PDSI has been delivering TeleStaff, an automated employee scheduling and communication solution as a 100% commercial-off-the-shelf product to public safety organizations such as Fire, EMS, Law Enforcement and Corrections. Currently, TeleStaff supports nearly 600 public safety customers in North America. Through patented scheduling technology capable of incorporating rules, policies and procedures, built-in communication features and self-service employee access, TeleStaff streamlines scheduling organization-wide, while controlling costs and ensuring compliance with collective bargaining agreements, labor laws and other agency policies. To schedule an online demonstration or for more information, call TeleStaff’s Sales Department at (800) 850-7374 or visit www.telestaff.com.
Principal Decision Systems International (PDSI) is a recognized leader in workforce management solutions. The company’s products merge advanced employee scheduling and time management automation with communication capabilities enabling organizations to optimize staffing, manage outbound and inbound communications, streamline routine workflow, control labor costs, and comply with regulatory policies. Hundreds of organizations in the United States and Canada rely on PDSI solutions to help drive increased operational efficiency and workforce productivity. The company’s headquarters are located in Irvine, California. For more information, visit www.pdsi-software.com or www.telestaff.com.