Atlas Pipeline Partners, LP (Atlas Pipeline) is active in the gathering and processing segments of the midstream natural gas industry. Headquartered in Tulsa, the company has about 425 employees in decentralized field locations in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Atlas Pipeline is a growth-oriented midstream gathering and processing master limited partnership (MLP) with 14 natural gas processing plants, 1.5 billion cubic feet per day (BCF/D) of processing capacity, and approximately 10,600 miles of active gathering pipelines. The company also owns a 20% interest in the West Texas LPG natural gas liquids transportation pipeline operated by majority owner, Chevron Corporation.
The company has invested $425 million since 2001 in organic expansions of the operating areas, as well as executed $1.6 billion of acquisitions since December 2012. The company adds value for its stakeholders by using a stable cash flow business model driven by gathering and processing fees earned from customers who have natural gas wells connected to pipelines operated by the company. Atlas Pipeline is an environmentally conscious company that puts safety first — for their employees, land tenants, and everyone associated with the company.
Inefficient time tracking system caused expensive errors
Atlas Pipeline is experiencing aggressive expansion and growth, resulting in extensive capital spending. Its massive investment comprised over 1,000 capital projects. A large percentage of the employee base was dedicated to these projects. Consequently, internal capital labor expense was a priority due to its magnitude and the direct impact it had on measuring the true cost of capital deployed within each project.
Unfortunately, time spent working on capital projects was not being tracked effectively. Holding Atlas Pipeline back was an inefficient time tracking system that required employees to enter time twice. Employees were using ADP to track payroll time, and then another system to enter time spent working on capital projects. Jason Duncan, Controller, said, “A large portion of our capital project construction labor is handled by our own employees. The employees were required to use two systems to track their time. Naturally, the system that impacted the employees’ paychecks was accurately and timely updated. Unfortunately, the system designed to capture capital project time received far less focus.”
A comprehensive solution meets company requirements
After conducting extensive research and considering several leading time tracking software alternatives, Atlas Pipeline discovered Replicon and decided to deploy the TimeCost and TimeAttend products. A key differentiator for Replicon was its ease of use and ability to offer a comprehensive solution for Atlas Pipeline’s requirements: Replicon was the only vendor that could deliver a solution to effectively capture both time spent on capital projects and payroll.
“Replicon provides a single solution to accurately capture time for project costing, and to handle complex payroll, overtime, and time-off calculations while helping us stay compliant with HR policies,” remarked Duncan, who worked alongside the company’s Chief Information Officer, Tony Dionisio, to implement TimeCost and TimeAttend.
Dionisio commented “A single sign-on authentication method ensured employees could quickly and easily access Replicon as long as they were on the company network when working from a company computer or mobile device. Three quarters of our employees are field hands who turn wrenches and run heavy equipment day in and day out. The work they do supports the services we provide our customers, so it is important that they spend most of their day running the business versus running a time management application.”
“Initially, there were concerns regarding our employees adapting to the new Replicon-based process and technology,” he continued. “However, we learned very quickly that the employees will adapt to processes they feel will increase user efficiency and reduce administrative overhead, while providing enhanced information to Accounting. Employees can now submit time from their houses, trucks, or field locations when timesheets are due, rather than making trips to the field office. Administration of Replicon is very straightforward with minimal labor overhead. Additionally, Atlas was able to quickly implement a variety of reliable, high-quality interfaces with other systems to seamlessly update and distribute information from Replicon to other systems.”
Post implementation surveys indicated employees have a positive perception of the Replicon Time-Cost and TimeAttend solutions.
Optimized capital labor hour capture and streamlined operations
Atlas Pipeline has now made significant improvements in accurately capturing capital labor hours and, more importantly, streamlining operations in a manner that increased productivity and employee satisfaction. “Replicon was able to manage our very complex pay and overtime structures, as well as the project costing aspect of capital labor expenses,” said Duncan. “Furthermore, after implementing the system our employee census has increased by approximately 45% and we are managing payroll with the same number of employees as we did prior to implementing Replicon. Additionally, we’ve also added functions to those employees, and fully believe the department could sustain further census growth without increasing the payroll department head count.”
Return on Investment (ROI)
“Atlas Pipeline almost immediately achieved a high ROI with a significant improvement in payroll reporting,” concluded Duncan. “The system increased the exposure on overtime and capital labor reporting. The increase in employee satisfaction is immeasurable as well.” These returns have a direct impact on increasing distributed cash flow available to its shareholders.
Saved time by eliminating redundant systems
Atlas Pipeline was able to eliminate double time entry since Replicon can now handle all of their project costing and payroll time capture needs. By integrating Replicon with their HR benefit system and others, Atlas Pipeline has cut the number of systems they need to update from six down to three.
"Replicon provides a single solution to accurately capture time for project costing, and to handle complex payroll, overtime, and time-off calculations while helping us stay compliant with HR policies."