Interview by Jesse Osborne, Editor
Q. Could you explain the KSTARS
program, and how it relates to managing
A. KSTARS is an acronym for
Kellogg Sales Time and Activity Reporting
System. It was first developed in-house
in early 2000’s. This early version was
only accessed through a web browser. In
the field, users would keep track of their
time and activities on paper, then re-en-
ter the data from their personal computer
at the end of the week. The dual-entry
method was time consuming and could be
inaccurate. In 2012, Kellogg looked for
off-the-shelf solutions for managing time
and activities of a remote, mobilized sales
force. The Kellogg plants successfully used
Kronos for time keeping. Upon research,
we learned that Passport Corporation was
a Kronos partner that wrote software to
mobilize user data entry to Workforce
Central from a smartphone. Passport
allows supervisors and employees to cap-
ture labor and production information on
the spot, online or offline from anywhere,
anytime. In 2013, Kellogg developed and
implemented the new KSTARS program
for our territory service representatives
and part-time merchandisers working from
the Kellogg-issued smartphone allowing
for real-time data entry. Since the original
go-live, several updates have been imple-
mented including: faster store list loading
to the phone, an update to our new instance
of SAP, updated exception reporting and an
enhanced Geo-Fence exception report.
Q. Kellogg has a long history of
using Kronos in its plants, how has Kellogg
expanded its use of Kronos?
A. Kronos has been used for many
years in our Kellogg manufacturing facilities. Currently, 19 plants in the USA with
more than 6,800 employees use Kronos.
In 2013, Kellogg sales implemented solutions from global workforce management
software provider Kronos, specifically the
time and attendance, absence management,
employee scheduling applications and
the In Touch® time clocks. As mentioned,
KSTARS is Kronos and Passport together
delivering a mobilized time and activity
program to our more than 1,000 Kellogg
territory service representatives (fulltime,
hourly) and more than 3,000 part-time
merchandisers, who are remote, mobile
employees working in-store each day. In
2015, the plants are planning an upgrade
and expansion of Kronos.
Q. What are the primary challenges of
managing a distributed workforce?
A. A distributed workforce has several
challenges including access to technology,
accurate time and activity record keeping.
The Kronos solution helps managers have
better insights into managing time, activities,
and vacation/sick accruals and in addition, it
adds GPS verification for route accuracy.
Q. What has Kellogg found to be the
most effective methods for managing a distributed workforce?
A. Communication and technology
are two important components to managing a distributed workforce. Our fulltime
workforce has a Kellogg-issued Windows
8 Phone that is connected to Kellogg email
and texting. The Kronos/Passport solution
was developed into an app that runs on their
mobile device, effectively allowing employees to enter and review their data in near
real time. Giving managers access to this
data has been an effective tool for remotely
managing these employees.
With John Whitaker, Senior Business Analyst, Global
IT Commercial Business Solutions, Kellogg Company
Food Manufacturing spoke with John Whitaker to find out how Kellogg
Company manages a distributed workforce across 19 U.S. facilities.