5 Ways Manufacturing Organizations Can Elevate Their Payroll Process


Who doesn’t love getting paid? I think we all know the answer to that is a resounding “no one.” This is especially true among industries such as manufacturing, where pay is the primary factor as to why its workers choose to accept a job. It’s safe to say that payroll departments are a critical component in every manufacturing operation. Even with this being the case, some organizations are still behind the times when it comes to how they manage payroll. In fact, according to the 2020 APA Payroll Trends study, 57% of payroll professionals are still using outdated manual processes or poorly integrated solutions.

Ditch the manual processes

Manufacturing organizations often have some of the most complex payroll rules due to a variety of factors ranging from having a multitude of pay rates for different jobs and shifts, collecting union membership fees, and the prevalence of overtime as a common operational practice. Payroll departments have their hands full trying to make sure employees are paid correctly and on time, while maintaining compliance with various regulations.

Manual processes are slow, error-prone, and place the organization at significant risk from a compliance perspective. Automating the process is the only way to ensure accuracy and speed. 

However, deciding to automate the process is only the first step. Selecting the right vendor to meet the complex needs of a manufacturing environment presents a whole new challenge. In order to elevate your practices and make your payroll department a more strategic function, manufacturers need an advanced solution with top-notch support. Here are a few tips to consider when looking for a solution:

1. Seek out innovation

Investing in payroll software should not be thought of as buying a dying commodity. As regulations continue to change and technology advances, you need a solution that is constantly being enhanced and updated. A key factor when looking at different payroll options is to find a vendor that is continuing to invest in, innovate, and improve their solution. The leading vendors are funneling massive amounts of money back into their payroll solutions and pushing out frequent updates to offer new functionality to customers. 

2. Stick with one vendor

With all of the technology used to run modern manufacturing organizations, consolidating systems as much as possible can be a major benefit. This is especially true when it comes to your workforce management and HCM technology, since payroll is largely driven by time. Selecting a single vendor to handle both aspects of your business simplifies the process by minimizing the amount of data transfer occurring. When employees punch in and out through your time and attendance system, the data flows straight to your payroll, creating a seamless experience when calculating gross to net pay. 

3. Out-of-the-box compliance

From ACA, CCPA, garnishments to federal, state, and local taxes, the amount of governance surrounding payroll is a little overwhelming. If your organization has employees working in multiple locales and across state lines, managing payroll is even more complex. Selecting a solution that has out-of-the-box compliance with all legislation, including multiple jurisdiction compliance, without needing 3rd party providers is a critical component to ensuring the organization is protected from significant legal risk. Again, be sure to choose a payroll solution that is consistently updated to address changes in regulations. 

4. Provide employee access to payroll data

According to 46% of payroll professionals, providing a better employee experience is a top priority. However, very few manufacturing organizations leverage technology to accomplish this. Instead, employees need to call up the payroll department any time they have pay related inquires. Imagine having to call your bank every time you want to check your account balance. That’s probably not the most user-friendly experience, is it? By providing the frontline workforce with anytime access to their pay data, organizations can create a better employee experience which leads to more productive and engaged employees. On top of that, your payroll department is freed up to focus on more strategic and value-added priorities instead of being inundated with employee pay questions. 

5. Support services

You can pick one of the most advanced payroll solutions on the market, but if the support services are less than exceptional, the system will likely fall short of your expectations. Payroll is a very timely function that needs quick response times when support services are required in order to get checks cut on time. If you are dealing with sub-par support models built around outsourced call centers, it can take hours or even days’ worth of hand offs and repeating yourself before you actually get any assistance. It’s key to find a vendor that provides around the clock support and allows you to stay with the same support team throughout the entire escalation. This type of model will minimize time spent explaining issues and lead to a much quicker resolution.

Bonus Tip! 

For manufacturers interested in outsourcing their payroll, a few vendors have completely revolutionized this approach by providing both the software and the managed services to accompany it. This provides organizations with their own team of payroll professionals taking care of the administrative operations and maintaining compliance. Having a managed services team that works for the solution developer, ensures you always have highly trained experts working in your system.


Looking at all the payroll solutions on the market might seem a little overwhelming, but focusing on these key areas can help dramatically narrow down the selection to find the perfect fit for your manufacturing organization.

Click here to learn about other ways to enhance payroll in your business.