October 7, 1999 Washington, D.C. Vol. 10, No.20
TEMP SERVICES SUPPLY WORKERS VERSED IN ITEM PROCESSING
As a sign of the difficulty item processors are having recruiting and retaining clerical staff, temporary staffing agencies specializing in item processing are springing up across the nation.
Services, a Dallas-based temporary agency, is conducting 90 percent of its
business providing staff trained in item processing techniques to
processors in the region. Staffing
Services partnered with the Rock Hill, S.C.-based training software
provider Abby Inc. a little over a year ago to begin a training program
for temps in TenKey, remittance and proof.
first year of offering trained temps, revenues for Staffing Services were
$6 million. This year, it may
close at nearly $10 million with plans to expand its services to other
parts of the country.
is catching on. Abby recently
signed a second agreement with an agency in Oregon which plans to train
temps for processing facilities in that state and Washington.
The success of Staffing Services is a function of the economy, says Ken Evans, president of Abby. “These companies are having a difficult time recruiting so they turn it over to someone like [Staffing Services], who does it very well. As long as the economy stays strong, this kind of product will be in demand.”
Honing In On Skills
Services uses Abby’s computer-based training software and runs
applicants through a 40-hour training session, spread out over two weeks.
“We can take somebody that has average, basic TenKey skills and get them
up to speed on proof within that time frame,” says Brad Stevens,
president of Staffing Services. “The feedback we have gotten from our clients is that the
new employee can go on and key anywhere from 1,200 to 1,500 items per
hour, with a high [degree of accuracy].”
training module for temps is very generic, so the employee will still need
to learn some of the nuances of the specific equipment their employer is
deploying. But the system
does give workers a basic introduction to the industry by teaching them
such critical skills as how to use a computer and a mouse, check scanning
principles and ergonomics.
advantages of using a trained temp are clear:
The resources of trained, full-time staff do not have to be spent
conducting on-the-job training for temps, the company can save money by
not having to bring a trainer in-house; and some new, trained full-time
workers can be gleaned from the temporary crop.
getting a trained worker comes with a price tag.
Staffing Services charges 45 percent to 50 percent of the base
salary of the worker.
“Overall the concept makes sense,
but it's just a matter of whether your margins can handle it,” says Pat
Adams, who recently retired from her post as director of remittance
operations for Piano, Texas-based EDS [Electronic Data Services]. The
extra money would be worth it, Adams says, if the temps end up staying on
as full-time employees.
Out of the
450 to 500 employees Stevens farms out to processors every week, about 50 percent end up going temp-to-perm in remittance.
“But in proof they tend to be more temporary or part-time,”