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Baltic Champs Story
How The Baltics' Top Mushroom Producer Transformed Employee Scheduling & Unified Operations

Have you ever wondered how the mushrooms you buy at the store, make it to your dinner table? Baltic Champs, the largest mushroom producer in the Baltics may have something to do with that. They produce close to 95% of all mushrooms in the region and export them worldwide. The company is also a part of the AUGA group, which is committed to producing top-quality, organic vegetables and mushrooms.

Being in control of exceptional product quality and management processes requires clear workflows and routines. However, complicated employee scheduling that depends on mushroom growth cycles and managing around 500 employees, makes running a business more difficult. They had to find a way to schedule their staff more efficiently while adapting to the specific needs of their business.

After implementing the OPTAS solution, Baltic Champs can finally enjoy integrated solution, as the system lets them interconnect their other software. It also offers customized tools and reports to schedule employees more efficiently.

In short:

  • Baltic Champs, the largest mushroom producer in the Baltics, manages approximately 500 employees across three production plants.
  • Their employee shift scheduling heavily relies on mushroom growth cycles.
  • They came to OPTAS looking for a system to structure their work and create efficient and transparent scheduling workflows.
  • We implemented the system and introduced various customized reporting features to improve the transparency, accuracy, and accessibility of the final information.

The challenge of managing a mushroom farming business

Since starting their business in 2003, Baltic Champs quickly expanded into a leading mushroom producer in the Baltic region. Like most fresh produce growers, they had a challenge to match employee schedules with the cycles of mushroom growth.

They used a specific attendance tracking software and several spreadsheets. However, they lacked a structured and connected system to simplify information tracking and exchange between managers.

Main challenges

  • Creating schedules for a few hundred workers

    Baltic Champs employs mushroom collectors, composters, technicians, and packaging workers. They all work on different shifts and timelines. On top of that, most of their work depends on mushroom growth. If mushrooms grow too slowly, there's no point in collectors coming to work. Without scheduling tools to track their attendance, planned and worked hours, it used to take days to plan schedules and prepare final timesheets.

  • Establishing one clear scheduling workflow among the 40 team leads

    Baltic Champs forms smaller groups of workers and assigns one person, a team lead, to manage and create schedules for them. However, each team lead had their own processes and scheduling habits, making information exchange inefficient and often confusing.

  • Lack of universal processes

    The upper-level managers saw how much human and financial resources were wasted due to the lack of connected systems. They wanted to establish standard routines and bring more structure to employee scheduling.

  • No integrations

    While the company used other software to track employee attendance and payroll, these systems weren't integrated. Without synchronized processes, team leads used to import and export all information by hand.

  • A 12-month period for tracking banked hours

    If calculating banked hours wasn't already hard enough, the company had a 12-month accounting period. Team leads mostly used simple spreadsheets to do all calculations. It was difficult to access and track accumulated banked hours after each month, and track employee vacations, sick leaves, and other information.

  • Never-ending manual work

    Team leads used to manually prepare and export timesheets. Entering data for hundreds of employees by hand used to take hours, and sometimes even days, to complete.

Solutions we provided

We started working together in September 2023. We knew it wasn't a one-size-fits-all situation. We had to focus on tailored features and build new functionalities for their unique scheduling needs.

We started slowly, onboarding and training one department at a time. Quickly, every team lead in the company learned to use OPTAS. After only a few months of working together, there was almost nothing left for us to do, as they could solve questions and issues on their own.

The main solutions we provided:

Integration with breathalyzer software

We helped them synchronize their employee attendance and breathalyzer software with our scheduling solution to keep everything in one place.

More security

Accountants and team leads can lock data from previous months to ensure that nothing is altered.

Multiple other integrations

We established integrations with their payroll systems. Our integration with a popular payroll system, Rivile, lets accountants export employee timesheet data into the payroll system.

Simplified banked hour calculations

Our system allows team leads to select an employee or a group of workers, time period, and other filters to automatically calculate banked hour balances, and other information for more accurate timesheet data.

Custom reports

Only for Baltic Champs, we've created specialized reporting features and spreadsheets. These give more clarity and structure to their processes. One of the reporting features was employee bonus reports. Workers can earn points for their attendance and mushroom-picking results to receive bonuses. Without digital tools, it was chaotic to measure their results and give appropriate incentives.

Scheduling templates

Baltic Champs standardized their schedules by creating shift templates which managers can use to create error-free schedules for almost 500 workers each month. These predesigned templates speed up the scheduling process and prevent any potential labor law compliance mistakes.

Check out our automated employee scheduling solutions for production companies.

The results we achieved in less than a year

Although we had to think hard to come up with unique and tailored features for Baltic Champs, the results surpassed our expectations. In less than a year Baltic Champs is happy to have a connected system, packed with all the integrations and tailored reports they need to establish clear workflows and processes. Now, they can save hours creating schedules, overseeing employee attendance, and exporting information between systems.

Key results:

  • 85% faster timesheet approval process and import into payroll systems compared to before.
  • 70% less time spent creating schedules.
  • Error-free schedules.
  • Clear scheduling and timesheet management workflows.
  • More accurate calculations at the end of each month and accounting period.
  • More transparency for employee attendance, vacations, days off, and shifts.

Smart scheduling solution for any type of business

Working with Baltic Champs was a unique experience. It showed us that the OPTAS solution is flexible enough to cater to different businesses. If you think your employee scheduling needs are too difficult to automate, we like a challenge. Check out our plans or book a discovery call to discuss the main problems you deal with now and find potential solutions.

Kristina Laukaitytė
July 1st, 2024