McNeal Professional Services (MPS) is a staffing and telecommunications consultancy that provides telecommunications network designs and installations, phone tower antenna installations, and government staffing solutions. Headquartered in Georgia, USA, the company employs full-time staff and contractors who work on projects spanning across 28 states nationwide.
- Requirement for a more robust and scalable solution to support business and employee growth
- Need for better time and project tracking tools to support a highly diversified workforce
- Desire for a deeper understanding of project profitability and project costs
- Ability to accurately capture overtime pay rates to ensure wage and hour compliance and prompt staff payment
- Ability to track multiple projects in real-time
- Scalable system to include all hours worked – including time submitted from contractors
- Project managers empowered to understand client project costs and profitability
- High level of granularity and flexibility in tracking time and projects
- Accurate employee reimbursement against overtime pay and per diem payments
"With Polaris, we have improved insight into project profitability and timelines. Our managers know they’re collecting and reporting on information correctly, and have peace of mind that the data in their reports is accurate."
Senior Staff Accountant
Time tracking serves as an intrinsic tool
Over the past 15 years, MPS has steadily grown to handling an increasing number of telecommunications projects and government contract projects concurrently. Its team includes engineers, supervisors, back office support staff, and contract workers who need to track their time across billable and non-billable client projects.
According to Chana Jackson, senior staff accountant at MPS, time tracking has always played a central role to MPS’ business operations, particularly due to the different roles, locations and working hours of the company’s employee base. For example, an employee working in an administrative role could work a standard 9 to 5 workday, a network installer could log off at midnight, while a contractor’s work hours could fluctuate depending on the project.
“As a services-oriented telecommunications company, an intrinsic part of our growth comes from understanding what projects people are working on, and how these projects are tracking. We have hundreds of people working across the country, and time tracking serves as the unifying tool that helps us improve our productivity levels and profit margins.”
Continuing to grow with Polaris
According to Jackson, one of the key reasons why MPS has had a long-lasting relationship with Polaris is the company’s stellar customer service: “There is a great core team working at Polaris who are easy to contact and always provide us with the assistance we need. Whether it’s through online chat, phone or email, the team has been consistent in the level of attention they give to resolving our needs.”
Transitioning to a more robust system
While MPS has always recognized the importance of time tracking across its entire workforce, as the company has grown so too has its requirements for a more comprehensive solution.
“We’ve always looked at understanding the hours that people have worked to make data-driven business decisions and also support our overarching goals. In the last year, we’ve assessed ways to get more out of Polaris so that we could drive further automation and integration with our other core HR systems,” Jackson said.
One functionality MPS reviewed was how to better understand the accuracy of statement of work documents developed for clients, so that existing projects continued to be delivered on time and on budget, while also ensuring that new projects were correctly scoped. Polaris has also empowered all project managers to keep track of client projects among their team, by providing real-time visibility into how time is spent and through obtaining highly configurable reports.
“What’s great about Polaris is that it is very intuitive to how a project manager works. Project managers can set up their own job numbers to track how people are working on a task, with clear start and end dates. As the client work progresses, project managers can pull a report whenever they need to, which also supplies a lot of detail. The system allows us to include that level of granularity and flexibility,” Jackson said.
Another area that was configured for MPS was the ability to accurately track and approve different overtime hours depending on the employee. Polaris worked closely with MPS so that the system could easily determine what overtime rate to pay depending on whether the individual was working at or traveling to a site, and ensure that payroll was processed correctly. In addition, Polaris allows users to set up codes for per diem payments and categorize activities so that any expenses can be categorized and quickly calculated.
“Really good customer service is hard to come by these days, but the team at Polaris and their product have been true partners for many years – and I’m sure will continue to be in the future.”