Repeat after me. Unicorns are NOT real. Unicorns are mythical creatures.
For government contractor Total Quality Systems, Inc., capturing time and project information is an essential part of doing business with the US federal sector. We spoke to Troy Grissom, CIO at Total Quality Systems, about how Replicon has helped the company meet stringent regulatory requirements and gear for future growth.
Q. Tell me about Total Quality Systems – what do you do?
A. Total Quality Systems, Inc. (TQS) provides advanced systems development, enterprise software systems and professional services to the Department of Defense and the private sector. We have contracts with the US Air Force and the US Navy, where we provide technologies for the entire supply chain – from procurement, planning and maintenance. For example, our innovations played a key role in helping the USAF F-16 program office save over $300 million.
Q. Tell me about TQS’ workforce. How did they track various projects and what were the business challenges before choosing Replicon?
A. We have a mix of contract and full-time employees, mostly based in our offices in Utah. People tend to work on a variety of projects concurrently, so it’s absolutely essential for them to be tracking time. Previously, people had to fill out a spreadsheet and then email this to their project managers for approval. We also had installed a system that meant to track time, but it was clunky and didn’t meet our business and regulatory requirements. The more issues that our legacy system presented, the more possibility for it to compound issues in providing accurate timesheet data, quickly integrating to payroll, and expediting the billing process.
Q. How important is it for your company to track employees’ time on the job?
A. Time tracking and client billing serves as the backbone of our business. And it starts even before we work on a project or client – for example, when we submit a proposal to the government, it’s based on an estimate of the number of labor hours required for the project. We capture time down to one-tenth of an hour across the board, whether it’s for contracts with the Navy, US Air Force or Department of Defense.
Once a contract is approved, we are then accountable for the hours we submitted in the proposal. In addition, we need to keep track internally for indirect projects, or activities that are not billable back to a client – including new business, maintenance and other operational tasks.
Q. You mentioned earlier that you have specific regulatory requirements. Can you elaborate on this?
A. Absolutely. The Department of Defense requires all federal contractors that work with it to be in Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) Compliant to conduct business. This means that when we are audited, we need to be able to easily bring up accurate records of people’s hours worked on various contracts. In everyday terms, to be compliant employees must complete their timesheets daily – no later than 10am the following day – so mobile access and ease of use is key for us with so many of our Associates traveling constantly for various projects. Replicon is DCAA compliant and it’s very clear when people log into the system what activities have been performed.
Q. What other factors did you consider before selecting Replicon?
A. Because we needed a solution that was 100 percent DCAA compliant, by default the time & attendance and billing systems had to be both cloud-based and have strong mobile functionalities so that people could capture and approve time in real-time. We also looked for a solution that was highly customizable to meet our specific requirements, and could also integrate seamlessly with our existing accounting system.
Finally, strong customer service and support was a big plus with Replicon. Whether it’s via phone, email, the Replicon community page or on chat, we have access to a very responsive team at our disposal to answer any questions in an instant.
Q. What feedback have you received since moving to Replicon?
A. Frankly speaking, I think that Replicon solution is so much better than our previous system based on its ability to meet the check box criteria that we needed to be addressed. Anecdotally, I’ve had many people tell me that the visibility and accountability for seeing where time is spent on projects is excellent.
What’s great about Replicon is that simply put, it empowers everyone to take time into their own hands. For example, people can schedule their time off, have it appear in their calendar and compare it against the entire team’s booked time off at once. Or when we submit requests for time off or to approve the timesheets from the previous week, an email is immediately sent requesting this approval from the supervisor. These capabilities make workflows easy – and ultimately, save us time so we can continue to focus on our clients and the business.
For the press release announcing our relationship with Total Quality Systems, click here.