One of the greatest joys of working in staffing is discovering the abilities and talents of our candidates. Learning that a banquet server can also program servers, or that a filing clerk can also drive a forklift opens up possibilities for improvements for everyone.
Angie Cannon, Risk Manager at Intelligent Employment Solutions in Boise, Idaho, had a similar epiphany when she joined the company in 2001. IES had been using COATS Staffing Software from their beginnings as a company, but had focused on the payroll functions.
“They just didn’t realize what the system does,” Angie says. “Then I started researching what it can do and I was like, ‘Hello! Do you guys know what this system does?’ ”
IES sent Angie to COATS training in Virginia Beach, and IES has made the most of the software from then on. “We started running with it,” Angie says. IES began with COATS Standard, and switched to COATSsql in 2004.
User-friendly and high-tech, but not too high-tech
Angie enjoys the user-friendly nature of COATS, as well as the constant improvements being made to the software. “Every year, COATS just gets better and better,” she says. “It’s ahead of the technology, but not too much, so the average user doesn’t have too hard of a time using it.”
IES uses almost all the staffing software features of COATS, both front office and back office. “The only feature we don’t use completely is the General Ledger stuff,” says Angie. IES prefers to separate ledger information into individual offices, so they export the information from COATS into a spreadsheet. “Other than that, we use the entire system.”
Angie is particularly fond of one feature of COATS. “My favorite feature—and I put in an Exchange server just so we could use it—is the email/text feature,” she says. “If you’ve got a job that you need to get filled ASAP, and you need to get 20 people on it, to just send that burst text has saved me so much time and work. You can reach out to 20 or 100 people with one click of a button, instead of pounding the phones.
“I remember the days when I started out in staffing, and when you got a rush order, everyone in the office was on the phone, pitching in, making phone call after phone call after phone call,” she says. “And now you can just click, click, click, and there’s 100 people that just got notice of a job. That was the best feature COATS ever put in, in my book, because the real, true way to get ahold of your people is through the phone, and if you can do it through text messaging, that saves hours of work. I remember having to work all night long to fill a job order, and now it’s just done.”
Truly integrated partners
Angie also appreciates the partners whose products integrate seamlessly with COATS. “My second favorite feature would have to be the integration with PeopleNet,” she says. IES has a client with three offices that all used punch clocks. Unfortunately, these clocks only clocked workers in and out, without adding up their time. “So me, my assistant and four payroll clerks had to sit there and manually add their time up,” Angie says. It would take the group all day to tabulate the time, and then they had to enter it into COATS Staffing Software.
COATS’ integration with PeopleNet saved Angie and her team all of that time and aggravation. “Now we can download that information right into COATS, saving probably a day of data entry,” Angie says.
“It was seamless. When we did that first download of time into PeopleNet, we didn’t really know what we were expecting because with computers, there’s always some sort of glitches. So my assistant and I were like, ‘That’s it? Wait, something must be wrong,’ ” she says, laughing.
Text messaging and PeopleNet integration are now an essential part of business for Angie and IES. “I will never go back,” Angie says. “There’s no way you’ll get us to go on without those features. They are my favorite things that COATS has done. Anything to save us time and money, I’m all for!”
Not only have these features made it easier for IES to handle their regular workload, they’ve helped the company add more business. When the client that used to have the non-tabulating punch clocks branched out into another state, IES was a natural choice to handle their staffing when a local agency fell through. Because the client already knew how to use PeopleNet system, IES was asked to set up the system and do the client’s staffing on-site.
That on-site staffing turned out to be one of IES’s highest-netting offices. “Since it’s all on-site , it’s a pure moneymaker,” Angie says. “And it’s all because we had already been in here with PeopleNet. It was such an easy transition from the punch clocks to PeopleNet, and since we can do an entire payroll without having to do data entry, I didn’t have to hire a payroll clerk there. We process that payroll and it’s all on Global Cash Card, so there’s no checks!”
The Global Cash Card is another COATS integrated partner that IES works with. “That was a little bit rougher going,” Angie says, due to the payroll entry requirements of IES’s bank. “But between Chris in COATS tech support and Matt over at Global, we’ve got the whole thing working just fine. In fact, they created a couple of queries for us so we didn’t have to do anything. They sent it over to us and it worked like a charm, and it’s been working that way ever since.”
Tech support that knows your business
One aspect of COATS Staffing Software that Angie particularly appreciates is the tech support staff and their consistency. “The same people that I called years ago, back when it was COATS Standard, are the same people today,” she says. “I know when I call, I can talk to Chris or Jessica, and not only do they know COATS, they know my setup here, and I don’t have to go into any kind of detail.”
“I love working with the COATS team, because I think their philosophy is the same as ours,” Angie says. “They’re a small company, the same as ours, and you know it’s a good company when all the people you talk to have been with the company for 10 years; they want to stay around.”
Angie has a similar feeling about COATS software. “I love working with the team of COATS,” she says. “They make it easy; even when there’s an issue, they’re always trying to find a solution for you. I don’t see me ever jumping ship. It’s a great company and they make a great product.”